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Summit Prep School to close this May


Daily Inter Lake | March 12, 2020 1:00 AM

Summit Preparatory School near Kalispell will close in May after providing therapeutic boarding services to teens for more than 15 years.

The announcement came in a press release on Wednesday in which Summit Board Chairman and Co-Founder Alex Habib stated, “Over the past months and years despite great efforts, we have been faced with the challenge of keeping enrollment at a sustainable level. In many ways, our original goals as founders have been accomplished, and there are so many great alternative programs much closer to homes.”

Habib also said a “refinement of programs from wilderness to residential treatment centers” also has led to a significant reduction in the average stay of a student.

The press release also highlighted some of the school’s accomplishments, long-standing mission and model for services.

Since Summit Preparatory School was founded in 2002, the school has helped nearly 1,000 students and their families in times of crisis. According to Co-Founder Rick Johnson, the school launched at a time when most therapeutic services for teens and their families facing difficulties followed a behavioral-modification “tough love” model.

“Virtually none were set up as nonprofit institutions and most provided little regulatory oversight,” Johnson explained. “Summit Preparatory School was created as a new best-practices model of treatment based on nurturing, relationship-based therapy situated in a normalized college-preparatory environment. Our Summit model was designed to help build structure, navigate relationships, overcome social difficulties, rebound from academic failure, resolve conflict with parents, eliminate dangerous behaviors, develop emotional stability and assist in regaining a direction and purpose in life.”

The school will remain open until the next graduation on May 1. Summit Executive Director Todd Fiske said this graduating class is actually made up of the majority of the school’s current student body.

“We will be continuing the hard efforts with students and families who will be working towards celebrating their graduation in May,” Fiske said. “With all other students and families, our clinical team will be working closely to help facilitate the selection of and transition to alternative options as of May 1. We will ensure that all required staffing remains in place and our academic, therapeutic and residential work continues through the end of the block.”

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4407 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com

2020 Mar 12