academic program for troubled teens

Elk River Academic Program for Teens

Clients at Elk River have access to a certified academic program while receiving therapeutic treatment

Education Shouldn't Stop While your Child is in Treatment

Students facing problems in a traditional classroom may experience the same problems at a boarding school. Elk River may fill in the gap left by a therapeutic boarding school.

The Elk River Treatment Program (ERTP) pioneered the use of comprehensive academics in a short-term residential setting. We believe no child should fall behind in school while he or she is in treatment. Mirroring our therapeutic model, highly qualified and certified educators assess the student’s academic strengths and weaknesses before an individualized course of study is developed to meet their specific needs.

Our program accommodates Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and suspected academic disabilities with individualized educational services. ERTP's Director of Special Education Services, Aletha Howie, M.Ed., has more than 40 years of experience in special education programs in both private and public school systems. Upon discharge, ERTP provides its clients with a comprehensive education plan to ensure a smooth transition from Elk River to his or her public school. Find more help in advocating for your child's education needs on the podcast On AIR with Elk River.

The education professionals at Elk River Treatment Program work with school systems to provide the least restrictive environment according to IEP placements.

ERTP’s curriculum is accredited by Cognia (formerly AdvancED). Our clients attend school year-round and are provided with independent workstations in our 2,800 square foot learning center.


ERTP educators and support staff strive to match the client’s courses at ERTP with courses from their primary school. Courses include the full range of core curriculum, honors, college preparatory and elective classes. Our academic administrator works closely with parents, students and school counselors to design an individualized program of study that best supports each child’s unique educational goals.

Highly qualified and state certified teachers help our clients become independent while building strong academic and problem-solving skills. Our academic program teaches to each client’s strengths and enables teachers to intercede immediately when conditions indicate help is needed. Close supervision and individual workstations support and motivate students to continue their education while in treatment. Individual tutoring is available in the classroom for specific subjects.

Hallmarks include:

  • Low Student-to-Teacher Ratio
  • Remediation
  • Skill Building
  • Credit Recovery
  • College Preparatory Courses
  • GED/SAT/ACT Preparation
  • Full-Time State-Certified, Highly Qualified and Master’s Level Teachers
  • Latest Technology
  • Tutorial Services

FAQ about the Elk River Academic Program

Q. How does my child transfer from one school to another?

A. Parents must withdraw their child from one school to enroll them in another. ERTP works with the local school to match courses as best as possible.

Q. What happens if I enroll my child in the middle of the school year?

A. Should a student enroll in ERTP after completing ½ a semester at his/her local school, our administrators would administer a pre-assessment exam which allows a student to show proficiency in certain subjects and not repeat those lessons. Or if they may need to repeat them, the test will show that. ERTP uses grade reports, class schedules and transcripts to match courses.

Q. How does my child’s school work transfer back to their primary school?

A. Our self-paced curriculum allows students to move along in subjects that they are proficient in and take more time in those that they need help. If they don’t complete a credit while at ERTP, we can make arrangements for the student to finish the work online from home, or we can send a grade report to the primary school. Some school systems require a full credit before the course is considered complete.

Q. Do you test to determine where my child starts at Elk River?

A. Therapists administer Connor’s Testing if determined it is necessary. Supervisors take the results and make necessary adjustments to a student’s course load.

Q. What is the advantage of ERTP’s curriculum?

A. Accommodations that public schools are sometimes forced to make are already built into our academic program. Many students flourish in a residential school setting that complements their therapeutic program. One-on-one tutoring, smaller classrooms, self-paced workload, elimination of peer competition and streamlined coursework often lead to academic success for our students. We often hear from our program graduates who have moved on to successful military careers or earn scholarships to two or four-year colleges.

Q. Does Elk River Treatment Program accommodate IEPs?

A. ERTP accommodates Individualized Education Plans (IEP) with individualized services. Our Director of Special Education Services has more than 40 years of experience in special education programs in private and public school systems. We work with school systems to provide the least restrictive environment according to IEP placements.