Never Underestimate the Influence of a Court Run Daytime School Experience

Written by Jayne Chickering, Juvenile Drug Treatment Court Coordinator, 7th Probate and Family Court (MI)

The Lakeview Academy in Petoskey, Michigan, was created by the need to merge effective rehabilitation with economic reality. Developing a court run daytime school experience allows the court to manage the daytime hours in a youth’s life during which she or he receives quality education, interacts with appropriate peers, and experiences life skills without leaving the community. Our program also combines community resources, including the court, the school system, local government, and other helping agencies.

Created in 2002, Lakeview Academy is a cooperative effort between the 7th Probate Court and Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District. Typically there are 15-25 high school age students enrolled at the school. Staff consists of a teacher, two teacher's assistants (one specializing in math), and a court employed youth worker and program manager. In addition, a probation officer and substance abuse services coordinator are housed at Lakeview Academy to provide additional support to the students. With the location of the school next to the Emmet County Courthouse, in-home care workers assigned to each adjudicated youth are also able to have more contact with the youth.

Students attending Lakeview Academy are able to earn academic credits that transfer back to their home districts, or if they are seniors, they may earn a high school diploma from Lakeview Academy. Student to teacher ratios are much smaller than a typical high school, and individualized academic plans for each student allow students to work at their own pace with greater teacher assistance. Academics are based on performance, not on seat time in the classroom, so credit recovery is an attainable goal.

In addition to their formal education, Lakeview Academy offers many additional opportunities to youth including: individual and group counseling, adventure education, art therapy, life skills groups, physical education, anger management, and gender based groups. After the typical school day ends, students may participate in a substance abuse counseling group, outdoor adventure activities (like sailing, kayaking, mountain biking), community service group activities, gender based groups, or Saturday Schools on Saturday mornings for additional academic time. In the summer months, credit recovery is offered through summer school. Youth also may participate in a summer work corps program to complete community service, camping trips in collaboration with Camp Daggett Adventure Center, outdoor adventure programs, gender based groups, and substance abuse counseling.

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