FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Darien’s Newport Academy Day School offers adolescents in recovery a safe and structured environment in which to stay drug- and alcohol-free while continuing their high school education.
“We are unique in that we use the academic setting as part of clinical treatment,’’ said Ryan Fedoroff, Newport Academy’s Director of Education. “Providing a supportive and loving academic environment, free from traditional competition and pressures, allows our teens to redefine who they are as students, as people, as friends, and as a part of their family.”
The Day School, which opened in Darien in April 2015, has a capacity of 16 students, who come from all over the East Coast. They typically attend the school for up to two years, with an average stay of one year. Some families relocate for a period of time so teens can attend the school and Newport’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), while others stay in transitional housing.
Newport Academy also has Day Schools in New York City and Southern California, and maintains residential adolescent treatment centers on both the East and West Coasts.
The Day School curriculum supports students in managing their struggles with focus and attention— without using medication, Fedoroff said. A student’s typical schedule at the Day School and IOP includes several academic blocks each day, followed by process groups; yoga and meditation classes; and music, art and adventure therapy. Throughout the day, students have access to counselors and therapists for support.
Fedoroff said she seeks staff members who are inspired to build caring connections with adolescents. “I want staff who are passionate, who are experienced, and who have an understanding of the academic pressure this generation is under — unprecedented academic pressure from peers, from parents, from within themselves,” she said. “We build professional relationships with students founded on trust and honesty. Most of all, we are consistent and dependable, and always there for them.”
As the students become gradually more engaged in the program, Fedoroff begins to see real change take place. “Their level of resistance decreases, they begin to show up in a leadership capacity, they take responsibility when they make a mistake, and they hold their peers accountable,’’ she said.
Fedoroff said Newport Academy treats each student and family according to their unique circumstances and needs. This individualized approach to treatment — coupled with longer average stays than in many drug-free programs — results in low relapse rates, she said.
“It can be challenging for teens to return to their old school environment,’’ Fedoroff said. “Unfortunately, schools can be triggers for students —the peers, the pressure, the freedom — so we provide an alternative that promotes abstinence, recovery and growth.”
To learn more about Newport Academy, click here to visit the website.