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Montcalm School for Boys and Girls

Words cannot express how we feel and the incredible changes our son has made. We were totally out of options until we came to Montcalm.

Montcalm School Parent

Every child is born into a world of possibilities. But for children whose behaviors keep them socially, emotionally and academically out of the mainstream, the possibilities get fewer and fewer. The good news is, emerging bio-neuro research clearly shows the efficacy of strength-based youth practices in creating positive, lasting behavior change in children of all ages and abilities, including those with neurobiological or behavior disorders.

Wilcox Cottage

The best news? There’s a nationally recognized, SEVIS-approved therapeutic boarding school and academic program in south central Michigan that not only offers this leading-edge approach but helped pioneer many of its practices.

The strength of a strength-based approach Montcalm School was founded on the principles of Starr Commonwealth, a legendary child care program established in 1913 on the premise that “there’s no such thing as a bad child.” Starr’s founder knew inherently what recent studies in deep brain learning prove: every child, even the most challenging, has the capacity for positive, lasting change. Today, that belief drives the Starr Commonwealth family of youth services and training programs to impact more than 1.3 million people a year worldwide.

Your needs drive our solutions At Montcalm, we believe in partnership. In fact, as we’ve developed and refined our services over the years, your input has been invaluable. We heard from educational consultants and referring professionals like you that the need for flexibility is critical. Our solution: a seamless continuum of services designed to offer options and continuity. You told us timely reports and regular updates were a high priority. Our answer: reports designed according to your needs that keep everyone, including the family, in the loop. From our year-round school with rolling admissions and college preparatory curriculum to individualized learning programs for students of all ability levels, Montcalm offers the choices you want to get the results they need on every level.

Students – Treatment Approach

Had a good relationship with a staff member - 77.4%

Learned new skills for problem-solving - 71%



Montcalm School for Boys and Girls is a private therapeutic boarding school in Albion, Michigan offering practical, real-world solutions for families of struggling girls, ages 12-18 and boys, ages 12-21. Programs specializing in treating youth with behavioral issues to those with Autism Spectrum Disorders have earned Montcalm a national reputation and have drawn students from 30 states and five countries.

We have seen such a wonderful, positive change in our son. We see hope and vision in his eyes, something we never thought we would see.

Montcalm School Parent

This campus changed my life! Montcalm School Student


Montcalm’s clinical model and focus on positive, long-term behavior change are woven seamlessly throughout the Montcalm experience. It begins with the living experience itself. Small groups of students live together in a family-like cottage setting where they build friendships, self-confidence and life skills. Cottage mates attend school together, have fun together and support one another in group therapy sessions five days a week under the guidance of highly qualified and compassionate clinicians. It’s an environment that allows students to build a positive outlook. It also builds empathy through service learning opportunities. We know that students who are engaged in outside volunteer activities build a stronger foundation of social interest and their own selfesteem as they see their importance to the wider community.

Service Learning Project

OUR APPROACH At Montcalm School, individual treatment and educational plans are detailed, individualized and outcome-based. Each student is evaluated through a series of strength-based assessments and observations that include input from the student, family members and other important stakeholders in the student’s life. Benchmarks and goals are established at the start and measured at critical stages.

Developmental & Environmental Assessments With the student as the primary source of data, a sequenced examination of life events and behavioral responses helps reveal the private, inner logic driving the child’s behavior and identifies personal strengths and environmental supports around which to build specific interventions for healing, growth and resilience. Common primary diagnoses include: • ADD/ADHD • • • • • • • •


Anxiety Disorders Asperger’s Syndrome Depressive Disorders Mood Disorders Oppositional Defiant Disorder Pervasive Developmental Disorder Reactive Attachment Disorder Secondary diagnosis of substance abuse

Parents – Montcalm Experience

Satisfied with program - 91.6%


Clinical Model The Montcalm clinical model is one of consilience, a unity of thought and approach in the treatment of troubled youth that is strength-based, childcentered and built around practicebased evidence from successful child care traditions and professional experience. Supported by nearly a century of success in the treatment of troubled youth and confirmed by emerging research in behavioral health and neuroscience, the principles and practices behind Starr Commonwealth’s treatment services and professional training programs represent the international standard of excellence in identifying, treating and healing trauma- and pain-based behavior in children and adolescents.

Newton Hall

We have been around the block with treatment programs. Your program and the positive approach of building on strengths benefited my daughter greatly.

Montcalm School Parent


Academic Assessment Montcalm School establishes educational goals and objectives for each student based on administration of the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery. Post-testing is completed to determine academic gains and improvements in each assessed area.

Identifying Strengths Every child has strengths. They may be hidden behind oppositional behaviors. They may be hidden in them. Montcalm uses strength-based assessments and evaluations that offer valuable insights to students, therapists, teachers and families on the best way to pursue and meet personal and academic goals. • The Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale – Second Edition (BERS- 2) • Ansell Casey Life Skills Assessment • Peer Group Observation and Assessment

Treatment Tools & Techniques Montcalm clinicians, therapists and counselors are skilled in the use of practicebased therapy and non-coercive techniques to resolve conflicts and facilitate a student’s self-awareness. Collaborative conversation, sensory interventions and other student-centered therapy and intervention tools give youth new insights into behaviors and new confidence in their ability to change them. • Motivational Interviewing • Responsible Ability Pathways (RAP) • Life Space Crisis Intervention • Trauma-Informed Care

Parents – Montcalm Experience

Felt included in goal setting for child - 94.7%



Montcalm School works with physicians and licensed clinicians to provide : • Psychiatric services • 24/7 Medical clinic services • Medication management

The most rewarding thing is being able to give a child and their family hope. I’m able to tell them that there are options that are positive in their approach; that it doesn’t have to be punitive. Educational Consultant


At Montcalm, we believe our beautiful 350-acre campus of rolling lawns, majestic hardwoods and a fully stocked lake is a healing tool in itself and a tribute to another of our foundational principles: beauty is a silent teacher. We also believe in the importance of family and encourage calls, teleconferencing, letters and visits. Beautiful Koby Cottage is located on campus and was actually built for visiting families, the result of a generous donation from a former student’s grateful parents.


Koby Cottage

All Starr Choir Our popular performing arts group is made up of gifted young singers and musicians who enjoy sharing their talents and inspiring stories at local concerts and on-campus events. In addition to choir, students participate All Starr Choir in music therapy sessions led by a licensed music therapist. We also offer individual and group instrument lessons and encourage students to bring their instruments with them to Montcalm.

Recreation Facilities Montcalm’s full-size gym, pool, racquetball courts, exercise room, outdoor state-of-theart track, ropes course and climbing wall are all staffed by recreational therapists who provide individual instruction and encouragement for students of all ability levels.

Chapel-in-the-Woods While our program is grounded in a Judeo-Christian ethic, we embrace and encourage students of all faith traditions that recognize and celebrate our connectedness to God and each other.

Students – Social Interaction

Made friends with other students - 83.9%

Found opportunities for recreation and activity - 93.3%




Become part of something bigger: Helping young people develop a stronger foundation of social interest allows them to discover in themselves what it really means to be connected to the world they live in. At Montcalm, students are given many opportunities to practice these skills both on campus and in the community through service learning projects like volunteering for Special Olympics.

You all have given me my daughter back. I have seen so many wonderful changes in her that I am amazed every time I visit. Thank you for helping her meet her potential. I want to express my gratitude to the music department and choir. They were essential in helping her get some confidence back.


Montcalm School Parent


Many students come to us with a history of poor grades, due in large part to long stretches of time spent out of school for behavior issues. The result is often a student whose self-esteem and motivation are low. They may have given up on school or become resistant to attending at all. At Montcalm, small classes, specialized attention and an uninterrupted instruction schedule can make a dramatic difference in a struggling student's academic performance – and their overall outlook. We offer a broad range of academic options and individualized instruction for students at all levels of ability, from elementary school through college. Youth are assessed at the beginning of the treatment program to determine skills and strengths and to help set goals. Assessments at the end of treatment identify and measure academic gains and improvements. Typically, students show an average of two-to-four years of growth in each assessed area. Parents can also track their student’s progress using Centre, an Internetbased software tool.

Norton Cottage

• Montcalm’s on-campus school and faculty of full-time teachers are licensed by the Michigan Department of Education. Students can graduate with a diploma from Montcalm School or, if possible and desired, arrangements can be made for a graduating student to receive a diploma from his or her home high school. • Classes are conducted weekdays on campus during regular school hours and are taught by talented teachers who are highly skilled at assessing and accommodating individual learning styles. Montcalm teachers are part of the treatment team and are always up to date on a child’s treatment issues and progress. • Post-educational plans are developed with home school districts, vocational schools and colleges and universities. Nearby opportunities allow students to continue their education after high school. A community college is conveniently located across from our campus, and local technical schools are also nearby.

Advanced Courses & College Credit Montcalm School not only offers a curriculum to fulfill the general credit requirements for high school graduation but advanced, interdisciplinary college preparatory courses in English, math, science, foreign languages, social sciences, outside electives and more. Our partnership with the local community college allows Montcalm students to earn college credits. Students can also participate in Michigan Virtual High School for online learning classes. We work with local school districts and the student’s home school as well.

Students – Academics

Found academic help available when needed - 90.3%

Felt better off because of their stay (6 – 12 months later) - 77%



Starr awarded more than $200,000 in college scholarships to graduates last year. Montcalm alumni are continuing their academic careers at colleges and universities worldwide, such as these: • • • • • •

DePaul University Albion College Macomb Community College Michigan State University Bluffton University Eastern Kentucky University

Mostprogram of the girls the This hashave helped same I do. me getproblems things back onI like track. because Ithat appreciate it.they have experienced it and can Montcalm School Student help me.

– Montcalm School Student


OUTSIDE IN® Montcalm’s innovative, specialized social skills program helps youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders build the social and academic skills they need to live richer, fuller lives. Our therapeutic strength-based treatment approach helps kids at all ability levels learn to self-regulate their emotions and learn coping skills that allow them to overcome missing sensory cues. Students of similar ages and abilities live together in small groups in a comfortable, family-like cottage setting where they build friendships and practice new social skills together. School, household duties and recreation outlets give them a new freedom they can embrace and enjoy in an environment of encouragement and understanding.

• • • • •

Length of stay is determined by the individual needs of the student Year-round school, including summer, with rolling admissions Individualized Learning Style Assessments Low student-to-teacher and student-to-clinician ratio Occupational Therapy as needed

• Ongoing communication and progress reports • Full access to health clinic, schools, gym and Outdoor Adventure Education activities



Montcalm’s Sensory Integration Room helps students who are hyper-or hypo-responsive to environmental stimuli learn to process missing sensory cues. An Occupational Therapist works directly with each student to help them identify activities that are alerting, relaxing, selfsoothing and grounding to help them self-regulate emotions and stay focused and engaged academically and socially. Sensory Integration Room

Most ofathe girls have If I see child who is the same problems I do. I like depressed or despondent that because and has given they up, I have can experienced and can tell them thatitthere’s help me.for them where a place –they Montcalm School Student can do exciting and challenging things.

Educational Consultant


CROSSROADS Montcalm’s structured transitional living program for young adults is another aspect of our programs developed to ensure success. Parents who never dreamed their sons would graduate from high school or turn their lives so completely around began thinking about the next steps. Their hope, and our goal, became Crossroads, an on campus independent living experience for Montcalm graduates, ages 18-21, who attend nearby colleges, vocational schools or are entering the workforce. Crossroads students live independently in on-campus apartments while they work or go to school. Dedicated staff work closely with each student to reinforce and maintain academic and social gains and help them build valuable life skills for responsible adulthood. Length of stay can vary—we’ve had students from three months up to four years depending on circumstances, need or student and family preference.

The staff has been wonderful with my client.

Educational Consultant

Students – Crossroads Experience

Learned to shop and prepare meals - 100%

Made friends during stay - 100%

Learned to identify personal strengths - 100%

Parents – Crossroads Experience

Received regular updates on child’s progress - 100%

Met child’s academic needs - 83.3%

Taught child problem-solving skills - 85.7%

Saw positive changes in child - 100%

Satisfied with total program - 100%

Would recommend program to others - 86%


For more information about Montcalm School or to arrange for a personal tour, contact us at 866.244.4321 or visit

Montcalm is a great place for kids in need of structure and immediate accountability. Young people can advance academically because of the one-on-one attention in the classroom and it’s a good place for kids in need of mentoring. Montcalm School Parent


866.244.4321 Montcalm School is SEVIS approved. Montcalm School is a private program of Starr Commonwealth, trusted since 1913. To find out more or to schedule a campus tour, call toll free at 866.244.4321. To inquire about our program and services, please visit

13725 Starr Commonwealth Road Albion, MI 49224 866.244.4321 517.630.2512

Š Starr Commonwealth 2012

Montcalm School Educational Consultant Brochure  

Montcalm School Educational Consultant Brochure

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