Monarch School Montana
Heron, Montana's Monarch School, founded by Patrick McKenna, combines education, therapy, vocational training, and recreational pursuits to challenge students facing difficulties in their academic or social lives. Patrick McKenna envisioned Monarch School to be a place in which young people could develop positive relationships with adults and succeed in the classroom, in an environment that takes advantage of all that the Montana wilderness has to offer.
Academics at Monarch School take place throughout the year on a block schedule, thus enabling individuals to earn credits in a shorter period of time. Students take a combination of core, vocational, and creative classes, each of which lasts 10 weeks and results in a semester of credit. To facilitate academic achievement and guarantee that students receive personal attention, administrators keep class sizes at eight students or fewer. Patrick McKenna designed the school primarily to prepare adolescents for college, but the teachers and counselors work to encourage creativity and a passion for learning in all pursuits.
To further prepare students for life as young adults, Patrick McKenna's Monarch School in Montana offers therapy sessions on a one-on-one and group basis. Children work with a dedicated Peer Leader who provides counseling each week and keeps parents apprised of developments. In addition, Peer Leaders involve themselves in other aspects of students' lives, eating meals with them, taking walks, and doing work together. Group therapy sessions take place several times a week and provide adolescents with a chance to discuss a variety of issues openly.
Patrick McKenna chose Montana as the site for Monarch School because of the range of outdoor activities to take part in. Montana boasts mountain ranges, pristine lakes, and hiking paths, and students work and play in the wilderness in order to push themselves, discover new opportunities, and gain greater self-confidence.