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Schools & Program Visits - Aug, 2000 Issue #72 

Dale Stohn, Principal
Meaford, Ontario Canada 
Tel: (519) 538-2992 Fax: (519) 538-1106

Visit Report by Nancy Coulbourn Ike, M.Ed., CEP
(513) 271-4044

I visited Rocklyn Academy on June 16-17, 2000. The Academy is located in a beautiful area of Ontario, Canada about two hours north of Toronto and quite near Georgian Bay. I was able to attend the graduation ceremony, which celebrated the completion of the first year of the existence of Rocklyn Academy. I came away from my visit extremely impressed. The girls looked healthy and talked positively of their experience. Parents looked proud and happy.

The Academy opened in August 1999 with ten girls referred by consultants in Canada who were doing outpatient work with families of troubled girls. Dale Stohn, B.A. and Robert Shaw, M.SC., B.Ed., who have both taught in private schools in Ontario are the founders.

The girls were housed in a residence in Rocklyn, a tiny rural community. A new dorm is being constructed this summer, which will be able to accommodate twenty students. It will be located in the rear of the school, which is situated on 75 partially wooded acres containing walking and cross-country ski trails. Rocklyn is a highly structured nine-month program for girls with oppositional behavior, but is not appropriate for girls with serious emotional problems who are considered runaway risks.

The academic curriculum for grades 9-12 (plus Canadian OAC) follows the guidelines of Ontario’s Ministry of Education. Standards are high and the credits should transfer to American schools. Girls are encouraged to set their own goals in each subject and are required to work until they achieve mastery at that level. In addition to regular subjects, part time staff teaches Art and Music. At graduation one girl played the guitar, another one a keyboard and another the viola. All of them sang. The fitness program includes individualized fitness programs at a private gym 3 times a week, swimming, horseback riding, downhill skiing, snowboarding and golf and tennis in season.

In the residence, the girls have the responsibility for all the cleaning and some of the cooking. A Ph.D. psychologist comes from Toronto once a week. She does a two-hour group session and can see the girls for individual therapy at an additional fee. Medication is monitored either by a local physician or a psychiatrist who consults with the program from Toronto. There is a hospital 15 minutes away.

Since the option for a home visit at approved times is available to girls who live within a drivable distance, the school is studying alternative arrangements for girls from the United States. There is a charming B & B in Rocklyn for parents who visit.

Someone might question why there would be an incentive to refer a student to a school such as this in Canada. My response would be that Rocklyn Academy is a quality program with outstanding leadership and a gifted and nurturing staff. Their fees are also based on the Canadian dollar.

Copyright © 2000, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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