In working to support teens in all areas of their lives, we believe academic support is integral in helping teens to succeed in recovery as well as their everyday well-being and enjoyment of life. The majority of teens’ time is spent at school and academic responsibilities make up a large amount of teens’ daily stress and challenges. Because of this, it’s very common for teens to come to Paradigm San Francisco struggling in a particular subject or with school, overall. Though our first priority is to support teens to recover and heal from their mental health and/or substance abuse concerns, we also want to equip and prepare teens to succeed in all areas of their lives, upon returning home. To this end, Paradigm San Francisco has an On Site Classroom and professional teacher, available to teens every day, during their stay.
The first step in determining teens’ educational plan is the educational assessment, which all teens receive, within 48 hours of admission to paradigm San Francisco. This assessment is used by the teacher and therapists, in order to identity strengths, needs, and particular academic measures that should be incorporated into teens’ larger treatment plan. The teacher will then identify specific goals teens can work on, during their time in the classroom.
The On Site Classroom time really looks different for each teen, depending on her or his specific challenges. Sometimes teens might struggle in class due to symptoms such as inability to concentrate and/or organize; other time, teens might feel anxiety in class which prevents them from being able to perform well on tests and/or participate successfully. In still other cases, there might be relational dynamics present in class (such as bullying) which trigger teens’ symptoms, causing them to be unsuccessful with academics. Regardless of teens’ current struggles, our On Site Classroom provides them with a small, safe, supportive educational environment, where they are able to overcome these unhealthy dynamics which have been holding them back. Then, as teachers and therapists work together to help teens get back on track with school work and learn healthy coping mechanisms and skills to deal with potential future triggers, teens are often able to make very significant strides and return to school, prepared to succeed.
It’s worth noting that this kind of individualized assessment, planning, assistance, and treatment integration is only possible because of Paradigm San Francisco’s commitment to maintaining to the highest staff to client ratio of any treatment facility in the nation. Because our house is limited to 10 youth at a time, this allows the classroom to be a manageable, supportive, safe environment, and also allows the teacher to spend individual time and attention with each teen, daily. Furthermore, because our lead therapists work in conjunction with the teacher and also have individual therapy sessions with the teens every day, they’re able to help teens connect their current struggles to classroom experiences. This is just one way in which our treatment goes above and beyond the traditional one-size-fits-all treatment approach, which only address outward symptoms. Instead, at Paradigm we’re committed to providing treatment that meaningfully extends to every aspect of teens’ daily lives, including their ongoing academic success, confidence, and growth.