How Do We Shift into Summer?

Much the same as for families, shifting from the school year to summer time brings changes in activities, work schedules and  supervision requirements at Teton Youth and Family Services. Children have more free time that gets filled with varied commitments for sports, jobs, camps, and activities.
Our Leadership Program, for any middle school students, is in full swing starting on June 18th. Youth spend a week doing outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, ropes course and/or backpacking all of which involve getting to know, trust and work with a varied peer group.
The Van Vleck House Group Home and Crisis Shelter have a  productive and fun schedule that fills each day. Some students have jobs or other activities in the community. All of which keeps the staff and students extra busy.
While School continues until mid-July at Red Top and is followed by a 24-day wilderness trip, the daily activities shift from skiing and broomball to jogging and soccer with outdoor duties shifting from shoveling to gardening.
Summer at Red Top also brings the opportunity to take seven young men who are not residents at RTM, but have exhibited dysfunctional behaviors at school or in the home, on a 21-day backpacking trip. This incredibly valuable experience is made possible by a generous grant from the Geraldine W. and Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.
The activities and daily schedule at TYFS change with the end of the school year, but what we are really doing stays the same throughout the year. That is, helping young people and families find their way to fulfilling and constructive lives by helping them improve their relationships with peers and within the family and with our community.

Learning to Take Control

People typically have one of two perspectives on intelligence and innate ability: they either believe it’s fixed and can’t be changed and that exerting effort or making mistakes are signs of stupidity, or they believe it can be improved through hard work and that effort and mistakes will increase their abilities. The former is called a fixed mindset and the latter, a growth mindset. Science has shown that intelligence actually can grow through effort, problem solving, and risk taking. Teaching the growth mindset has been shown to increase student achievement, school engagement, and motivation.

At Red Top Meadows, students typically arrive to the program well below grade level and with countless failures in the classroom.

Over the past two years, the school has taught about the brain and the growth mindset. Students made models of neurons. They demonstrated how intelligence grows by strengthening neural pathways through effort. In writing about a time when they had to work hard, try different strategies, and get help from others to learn something new, they strengthened the understanding of the growth mindset. Students also compared their muscles to their brains to explain how they can grow their intelligence and made brain hats to take on the role of the brain to learn how the different lobes function.

The frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for some executive function abilities (planning, problem solving, emotional and physical regulation, and organization), can be strengthened through mindfulness meditation activities. During science class every day, the students do mindfulness activities. The final lesson in the growth mindset and neuroscience unit will have them determine how they can use meditation to strengthen the frontal lobe and take charge of the rest of their body, their thinking, and their behavior.

Red Top Meadows School Newsletter Spring 2018

Personal Finance: As the Personal Finance course comes to an end, the focus has moved toward wise consumerism Students evaluated marketing and brand recognition by viewing popular commercials, reading about teens as the largest market in the country, analyzing how expensive it can be to succumb to marketing schemes, and determining how to negotiate their way through the world of marketing.

 

Language Arts: With the spring wilderness theme of spirituality, reflection, and change, students read the work of several poets, analyzed the different forms of poetry, and created a book of poems addressing issues in their lives.

 

Math: Middle school math students translated written phrases into mathematical expressions, practiced the order of operations, combined like terms in algebraic expressions, and used the distributive property to solve for variables in one and two-step equations. Algebra I students solved real-world and hands- on problems to develop their algebra skills. Students graphed and solved inequalities, absolute value equations, and also used graphing to solve linear equations. Geometry students proved their understanding of several advanced geometry concepts through practice problems. Students learned the material through textbooks, videos, investigations, and online interactives. Topics included points, lines, and angles; proving theorems with deductive and inductive reasoning; parallel and perpendicular lines and planes; angle relationships; equations of slopes and lines; triangles; and segments and angles.

Algebra II students solved systems of linear equations and inequalities. They practiced some of the basics of linear programming and analyzed graphs of linear equations in three dimensions.

 

Reading: Students in reading class played reading games, breaking down words into their affixes and roots and using those to determine word meaning.

 

Science: In Physical Science, students created comic strips to demonstrate the factors that contribute to the  unique climate of the Galapagos Islands. Next, students modeled the phases of the moon by making i-Movies showing how movement within the Earth-sun-moon system results in the phases of the moon. They also modeled how the axis of the Earth results in seasonal changes globally. Students also experimented with nuclear fusion to demonstrate how elements in the sun fuse and release radiation that powers energy-dependent processes on Earth. Biology students practiced using and developing dichotomous keys to identify organisms and illustrated how the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration work together to ensure organisms on Earth have the energy they need to grow, develop, and reproduce.

 

Social Studies: Students in Government determined how political parties emerged after the presidency of George Washington. They got two perspectives on the role of federal government by reading the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. Students created charts and researched the differences between the two main political parties. In World History, students researched and developed Power Points on a nation in Central or South America to investigate concepts of colonialism and independence from England. Finally, students analyzed the French Revolution by answering questions about the reign of Napoleon.

 

Life Literacy: Students practiced and reflected on mindfulness. Next, when the mindfulness unit ended, students shifted to a focus on the Escalante Desert. The class conducted experiments with rust, made observations of artifacts from the desert, and collected and used evidence to argue whether they thought scientists had enough evidence to prove there was once liquid water on Mars.

 

VISION: All students will acquire the academic, social, and behavioral skills necessary for success in school and in life.
MISSION: To increase students’ confidence as learners by providing multiple opportunities for academic, social, and behavioral success; to cultivate students’ capacity to generalize the process of learning in the classroom to learning in life; and to empower students’ ability to make and sustain positive change.

RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT FACILITY GIVES BACK TO COMMUNITY

The theme of fall at Red Top Meadows is community service and the importance of being a positive member of a community. The staff and residents recently returned from their Fall Wilderness Experience where our residents paired up with the Jackson Ranger District Forest Service Trail Crew to work on trails down the North Fork of Fall Creek. The ultimate goal, that we have been working on over the past few years, is to revive a multi-purpose trail that is referred to as “The Knob.” This trail will ultimately provide another option for the surrounding community to hike, trial run, mountain bike, horseback ride and hunt.

Long Draw Outfitters, working out of a hunting camp in the area had discussed, with Trail Supervisor Tim Farris, a particularly problematic   section of low-lying predominately mucky trail near their low camp. As a result, this years mission was to reroute about 1/3 mile of trail out of a low wallow and to drier, higher ground on the side-hill above. Our residents camp on-site for the duration of one week to complete our work. Our crews were fortunate to find sunny afternoons of hard work to warm themselves up from frosty mornings with frozen boots. After crushing out a significant part of the reroute in the first two days, the crew spent the final days perfecting their work and closing the old trail.

This trip provides a valuable opportunity for our residents to take pride in hard work and feel like positive members of a larger community. One resident said after the trip, “I’m proud to have accomplished such a large project with all the other people that were working side by side with me. I felt part of a community when we would stop at lunch and just enjoy each other’s company, then eventually get back to work.”

Go check out their reroute before the snow falls! If you don’t get there this season don’t worry, their hard work will benefit the surrounding community for years to come.

Dellenback Foundation Pilot Program

In late February, Teton Youth and Family Services was privileged to receive a grant in honor of  Robert Dellenback from the Geraldine W. and Robert J. Dellenback Foundation. The grant will be used to establish and implement the Robert J. Dellenback Scholarship Program. The scholarship will make it possible for young men struggling with behavioral, emotional and mental health issues to access services at Red Top Meadows (RTM) so that they may live healthy and constructive lives. The generosity of the Dellenbacks will allow us to develop an option for youth in need of residential care at Red Top but who may not be court  ordered to the program.

Since 2011, the Bob and Dine have supported more than 30 scholarships for the Red Top Summer Wilderness Experience and attended each  summer wilderness ceremony. They have heard and seen firsthand the impact the wilderness program has on re-directing and improving the children’s’ lives. And the couple loved hearing from and meeting the boys and staff, taking great pleasure in making the opportunity possible for students that would otherwise not receive help. In the course of attending the ceremonies, and talking with the staff and students, they developed a deeper understanding of the boys in our residential treatment program. They learned that when a youth demonstrates internal struggles, by acting out in school, becoming depressed, being suicidal or physically aggressive, or is in an abusive or neglectful home environment, the Department of Family Services will intervene with the judicial system and may place the child at the Van Vleck Group Home or Red Top Meadows Residential Treatment Center.

The Dellenbacks also learned that State financial concerns have begun to limit access for youth receiving the important  services they need, and they wanted to help make it possible for more young men to have access to our services, including our wilderness experiences. I talked with Bob about the need for youth to access care in November 2016 and he was immediately  interested in helping meet the need. Tragically he was never able to see the  scholarships reach the students they will benefit, as he suddenly passed away in December. Knowing how much this meant to Bob, Dine has elected to carry out Bob’s  commitment and we are honored to be able to  provide treatment for  young men in Bob’s memory.

The Geraldine W. and Robert J. Dellenback Foundation, Bob and Dine  specifically , will make it possible for as many as four young men who have learned to not trust  anyone and to constantly be on guard, to gain new perspectives on people, the world  and their future which will improve the rest of their lives. 

That would make Bob very happy !

 

 

 

Red Top Meadows School Spring 2017 Newsletter

Personal Finance (Modern World and You) Students learned how to be responsible shoppers in order to set themselves up for successful financial futures.

Math Geometry students used proofs to understand geometric theorems. The work was challenging but they overcame the challenges through independent practice, partner practice, and consistent feedback. They proved their skills and knowledge by scoring highly on a final exam. Algebra students learned how to read and draw graphs. They wrote stories based on graphs. The class is now moving into using the distributive property and writing equations. Pre-Algebra students translated written phrases into mathematical expressions. They used the distributive property and solved for variables in one and two step equations.

Language Arts In Language Arts class, students explored the use of poetry as a mode of expression. They found literary devices in songs and poems, read and analyzed famous poetry, and became proficient at writing multiple types of poems.

Reading Students read the novel Wonder by R. J. Palacio and started reading Auggie and Me by the same author. Following each reading session, students spent time responding to writing prompts to analyze and make connections with the text.

Science Biology students demonstrated their knowledge of meiosis by showing the stages as well as inputs and outputs using string, beads, and pipe cleaners. Next, students compared and contrasted the processes of mitosis and meiosis. They then learned the skills and vocabulary necessary to model the processes of transcription, translation, and mutations with K’Nex building toys. They demonstrated their understanding by acing a test that required them to model the processes with Twizzlers, Mike n’ Ikes, toothpicks, and Dots. Physical Science students triangulated the epicenters of earthquakes, determined their magnitude, built a seismograph to develop a scale for mock earthquakes, and used data to determine the age of rocks through radiometric dating.

Social Studies World History students researched prominent Roman figures and conducted oral presentations on their findings. The class also did an in-depth study of the Roman empire and correlated its downfall to current American political, economic, and social realities. U.S. History students researched individual mountain men involved in the western exploration of America and analyzed the role of the United States in the exploitation of lands and people spawned by the concept of Manifest Destiny

Life Literacy/Issues in Diversity Students read the graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang and practiced finding evidence to support arguments about the text. All students participated in two Socratic Seminars, completely run by students, in which they posed questions, directed the discussion, and built on their understanding of themes within the book, their lives, and the world. For their final project, students prepared responses to discussion questions and presented their thinking in oral presentation. The class also viewed the film The Mask You Live In, which explores issues related to male stereotypes.

VISION: All students will acquire the academic, social, and behavioral skills necessary for success in school and in life.

MISSION: To increase students’ confidence as learners by providing multiple opportunities for academic, social, and behavioral success; to cultivate students’ capacity to generalize the process of learning in the classroom to learning in life; and to empower students’ ability to make and sustain positive change.