Diamond Ranch Academy – Utah’s Premier School for Troubled Teens
Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) is a residential treatment center where teens who are finding it hard to cope in a positive way with everyday life can come to address their individual issues and have a staff of professional instructors and counseling guide them through academic, therapeutic and life-skills strategies. Two of the core programs for this journey is DRA’s academics and athletics.
Diamond Ranch Academy boarding school has designed an academic environment based on the belief that a personalized approach to learning is the most constructive means by which any youth having difficulties with coping skills can find an interest in a traditional school environment and learn at their own pace. All of the DRA instructors are certified and have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in their field of study. They have also been licensed by the North West Accreditation Commission.
The teachers encourage each teen to have a stake in their own learning process. This allows them to feel empowered about what they are being taught and how to apply the information that they are given in the best way that suits their learning needs. Saying this, at the core of the curriculum is teaching each teen new learning strategies and skills that they can adapt to their learning style and pace.
Each student must pass the assignments and assessments for the subject matter at least 80 percent. It is about understanding that progress in any particular subject is not compared to another student’s success but simply each individual student’s progress and success. As students apply the learning strategies and techniques that they learn, they will see their grades improve over time. This leads to a growing self-confidence in their academics that they may not have had at all before they came to DRA.
Students also have the ability to work in smaller groups of peers than they may be used to in a larger academic environment. This allows for less overwhelming peer setting for working on skills in collaboration, constructive criticism, and critical thinking through problem-solving and leadership situations that may be present.
For students with documented special needs that attend DRA, there is the benefit of developing an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) as in other academic environments. The bonus is that with the smaller class sizes, this student will be in a traditional classroom most, if not all, of the time, and they will have as much individualized attention from the instructor as they need including tutoring. There are also licensed special education instructors to work with youth that have special academic needs.
An integral part of the DRA academic program is taking the students out of the traditional class room environment to experience what they are learning in real-world environments. This way, they are able to not just visual how a concept can come to fruition, but actually, see how it works
Athletics play an important role at Diamond Ranch Academy for both boys and girls, and the Academy prides itself in having the most all-encompassing sports program that any boarding school in the area can offer since it was approved by the Utah High School Activities Association in 2011. This allows many DRA athletes to be considered for athletic scholarships to major colleges and universities around the country.
This includes coaches who understand how to teach the concept of being a team player as well as developing the idea of sportsmanship and respect for others. Individually, team sports help teens to understand and develop their individual strengths as well.
Athletic Program for Boys
The boys’ basketball team has a reputation for teamwork and winning championships, which is accomplished as a 1A state champion in 2016. The coach has consistently put the team in the top five regionally for five consecutive years.
The DRA baseball team plays at Venom Park which is located on the 55 acres of the Diamond Ranch Academy. It is a state-of-the art high school stadium with turf on both the infield and outfield as well as batting cages.
The golf program practice and compete at the Sand Hollow Golf Course which is approximately two miles from the DRA. This stellar Course is rated #1 in the state of Utah and in the top 50 in the United States. All the DRA golf coaches have been trained by the PGA and are professionals.
The soccer coaches develop speed, quickness, and coordination in each player as the play and compete on the turf field located on the grounds of the DRA that has been nationally recognized as one of the best high school soccer fields in the country by ESPN Magazine and USA Today.
Athletic Program for Girls
The girls’ team plays on the same field as the boys, in levels of competition from beginners through veteran players with an emphasis on having fun.
Because of the small student body, many girls will now have an opportunity to be involved in cheerleading as well as dance teams. DRA offers both with a core goal of team-building and having respect for everyone’s level of fitness and skill.
The DRA girls’ volleyball team, the Lady ‘Backs train and compete in the SNAKE PIT, the same gym as the boys’ basketball team. It is known as the “Loudest Gym in Utah” on local sports radio and sports web sites. The team has consistently made its way to the state tournament and in its first year to round three for the state championship.
Sand Hollow Golf Course is also the home of the DRA girls’ golf team. They are also trained by the same PGA professionals who help them to hone their skills in regular and competition play.
Even though it is called a club, those who participate in track can also compete. Many girls though join the track club to work on discipline and challenge themselves to improve their level of fitness. These skills are monitored by a track coach.
This is not for competition, but it is a great way for the girls at DRA to burn off some calories and some energy as a recreational activity for teens at all levels of physical fitness.
City League/Intramural Sports
In order for all students to be engaged no matter what their age, athletic skill, and gender, Diamond Ranch Academy offers teens the opportunity to participate in intramural sports in a city league on both teams as well as individual sports activities. This includes football that is played each Friday night in a stadium environment underneath the stadium lights.
These two programs, Academics, and Athletics promote life skills in leadership, critical thinking, self-confidence, team skills, and an overall better self-awareness for each teen and who they are as they enter adulthood and cope with the daily events in their own lives.