Heritage Schools Inc., Provo UT
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FamilyLight sm discloses that its consultant, Tom Croke, served on the marketing staff of Heritage in the years 1990-1993.

Heritage is a facility that goes out of its way to provide a normalized environment while keeping costs in check.  It was founded by Jerry Spanos  and others, in 1984, in order to provide a program for girls, complementing Provo Canyon School that then served boys only.  Heritage was from the very beginning relationship based, which Provo Canyon School where Jerry Spanos had worked previously, at that time was not. Very early in the history of the school, it began to serve boys, also.  Our consultant Tom Croke comments that Jerry Spanos is one of the finest men he has ever known.  Competence, compassion, integrity are attributes that call for superlatives where Jerry is involved.  Jerry recently retired. His successor as CEO Glenn Zaugg has a tough act to follow, but we believe he is up for the challenge. 

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FamilyLightsm is an educational consulting firm specializing in work with families with a young person with behavioral, emotional or psychological difficulties.  We offer in-depth personal guidance to families on a fee basis and free guidance on the internet. FamilyLightsm attempts to be fully objective and accepts no advertising nor referral fees.

Heritage is priced about $100 per day less than most comparable facilities.  It has a campus that has the feel of garden apartments on suburban cul de sac with a community riding stable, school, and community recreation center in the cluster of "apartment" buildings.  It has a special unit for more challenging mental health issues and for more fragile personalities. This unit can accommodate students with significant thought disorders, such as schizophrenia.  Unlike many treatment facilities that offer fancy "extras" that attract business but have little to do with the stated purpose of the facility, the extras that Heritage offers appear to us to go directly to the positive impact on the residents.  The performing arts program at Heritage is a good example.  This  program, unlike any other we are aware of in any treatment facility, started small, but became a major commitment when the extreme impact of the program on the progress of its participants became evident. 

Heritage serves a broad range of needs at high quality but is not for everyone. The treatment is staff driven and does not depend to a great degree on positive peer intervention.  It is an open campus and residents determined to run away can probably do that.  Having said that, it is important to note that Heritage is a reasonably pleasant place to be and not one that usually inspires a desire to run away.  They are also highly skilled at bringing people back in the unusual situations when it does happen.

We will be updating this review soon based upon Tom Croke's September trip to Utah, visiting Heritage again, followed by extended conversations with Heritage management.  Heritage has long sought to be a relationship based program.  We have long believed that they had a distance to go to be purely that, but we also believe that they come as close as any program of its size.  We believe that Heritage is actively working to further enhance the relationship base and further limit the behavioral aspects of the program. 

We are waiting for Heritage to respond to additional questions we have put to them before completing the update of this review.

Heritage Schools, Inc., is not affiliated in any way with Heritage Youth Services, operator of Birdseye Boys Ranch.

Official web site of Heritage

Article on Art Therapies at Heritage

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Feedback is invited. We will publish feedback in good taste, consistent with our standards.  Email FamilyLightResponse@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.

Last updated  11-03-09

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