Business

"Glen Eden Institue is for kids, but for profit, too"

"For some children, going to school, getting along and coping with daily tasks can be more than burdensome. It can be impossible.These youths, who psychologist A. Ronald Seifert calls “puzzling,” can undergo inumerable counseling and schooling situations for conditions like attention deficit disorder before throwing their hands up in frustration. Some drop out of school and into the full-time care of their parents.For $33,000 annual tuition, Kitsap parents can send their “puzzling” children to the private, for-profit Glen Eden Institute. Located at 9395 Linder Way, the school will open its doors in early February and offers a holistic approach to educating this child population.Seifert hopes Kitsap parents will get past the sticker shock and kick down the green for an investment in their children’s future.“What’s the cost (of an education) to the child for the rest of their life,” the Bainbridge Island-based Seifert asks, “since mom and dad can’t take care of them forever? In comparison, it’s cheap.”The $33,000 is figured to pay for five hours of clinical psychologists’ daily pay, plus the cost of teacher and staff salaries. The result, Siefert promises, is an approach to education that takes into account a child’s physical response, learning style, health, emotional development and comprehension skills. By addressing the child’s needs holistically, in a calm and welcoming setting, Seifert says he can get this population of otherwise dropouts through 12 grades.But what, exactly, is a “puzzling” child? Seifert describes the target population for his institute as “characterized by the common rubric of ‘treatment and/or educational failure,’” though he stresses he’s looking for youth who are medically impaired, not bad kids.The Glen Eden Institute is intended for kids with multiple diagnoses of conditions like attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactive disorder, autism and agoraphobia or “other diagnosis without clear solution or previous success.”Silverdale’s Glen Eden Institute is closely modeled after the Vancouver B.C.-based Glen Eden School, a 16-year elementary and secondary school for special needs children. The founder of the B.C. school, Dr. Rick Brennan, is assisting in the development of the Silverdale institute.Brennan says between 500 and 600 British Columbia youth graduated from the Glen Eden School in its history, with class sizes ranging from two (the first year) to 60.“Six percent, as of 1997, of our students did not finish school or were not functioning in a superficially satisfactory way,” Brennan says, and quickly points out that is a 94 percent graduation rate for a youth population that traditionally drops out.The similarities between the two projects end on one point, however: the Canadian school is non-profit, the Silverdale version is for-profit.“The difference with it being non-profit is we would have had to go out and get the public to support (the school),” Brennan explains.Even so, the cost of admittance is about the same. And $33,000 can be spendy for Canadians, too – the B.C. Ministry of Education reported in 1997 that it pays 35 percent of tuition costs in government grants because “their per-student costs exceed those of the local public schools.”That leaves B.C. parents footing the additional $20,000 a year in tuition.Costly or no, the B.C. Ministry of Education found that Glen Eden’s programs matched up with the goals of the British Columbia Curriculum, employed certified teachers and “maintained adequate educational facilities.”It also found that in 1997, the Glen Eden School had a more favorable student-to-teacher ratio than even the five-to-one it promises. That year, elementary school students had a one-to-one ratio.Seifert plans for the same success in Silverdale. “It’s the only program anywhere where each child is understood to have a unique set of qualities,” he said.Seifert will open the school in Silverdale in part because he already has a practice here. Before Kitsap, he had a group practice in Atlanta, Ga. and taught in the department of neurology at a medical school for 15 years. The key, he says, is treating each child as an individual and recognizing each of their diagnosed disorders can have radically different underlying causes."

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