Mt Caramel Complaints from Former Parents regarding Staff, Schedule, Communication, and Tuition

Zoin Educational Systems Complaints from Parents regarding Staff, Schedule, Communication, and Tuition

Craig Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Zoin Educational Systems states that like all Christian boarding schools for troubled teens there are complaints from former parents.  Mostly, the complaints are about a lack of communication.  However, it is all relative. Zoin Educational Systems communicates with parents far more than any other therapeutic boarding school – there is no comparison.  Normally, therapeutic boarding schools allow once per week written update by one school representation.  Normally, there is a black out zone where there is no communication between parent and student (at least phone calls).  At Zoin Educational Systems  there is literally no communication restrictions.  There is however, order, and lots of communication in an orderly fashion. Zoin Educational Systems sports an only database (secure) where various staff, and various program departments, communicate vital information regarding each student on a daily basis.

In the first seven days of a child’s enrollment a staff from ZES calls home to give an update on the child’s progress.  In addition, every day various staff post daily progress notes on each student.  These notes are posted on the secure Student Record System and each parent has a secure login where they are able to view the daily posted notes from the Program, Academics, Clinical, Athletics, Horsemanship, and various other departments. Each time a new post is added to the student’s SRS the parent receives an email with the exact content of the post.  Moreover, each day the student’s score for the day is posted, along with any disciplinary or extraordinary notation.  The parents are able to ticket the staff and staff are required to answer tickets within 48 hours. Zoin Educational Systems also has over 900 videos on our Youtube Channel as well as various other video and picture galleries.  Parents communicate via the phone with their child weekly and they have the option to use Facetime, Tango, Skype, or a number of video chat services.  Mt. Caramel is all about communication.

Upon enrollment parents immediately participate in Parent Coaching where they receive the mentorship of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  The students are going through the same exact parent coaching curriculum with the Zoin Educational Systems family Rep.  Every other week the students and the Family Representative participate in Family Restoration counseling.

Zoin Educational Systems sports an Executive Director, 4 Program Directors, an Administration Director, and 8 Assistant Program Directors, 6 Family Representatives, several Parent Coaches, numerous Lead Life Coaches, many Life Coaches, and plentiful Teachers. In addition, Zoin Educational Systems has a Director of Ministry, an Academic Director, and various Christian Mentors and Leadership Trainers. The staff is involved in every daily activity, acting as supervisors, life coaches, and mentors. The staff is considered resource personnel, disciples, surrogate parents, disciplinarians, and good friends. Please understand that they spend 95% of their time with the students and about 5% conducting administrative duties.

During  the  first  30  days,  there  will  be  very  little  contact  from  ZES’s  Directors. During that time, your student will be evaluated and slowly assimilated into the community. It will be Kathy Reese’s responsibility to communicate with you and to give you the updated information you need. Again, Kathy  is  the  “Parent  Coach”.  She  will  be  with  you  every  step  of  the  way  in  the  beginning  to  ensure   a smooth transition.

The Daily Schedule:

Your student will get up early, and go to bed early. Your student will be doing a great deal of household chores. They will also be attending school each day. There will be leadership meetings, and group discussions, community service, and lots of work. There will be Academy Fellowship Meetings where all the students “issues” will be dealt with, and Community Meetings where they share the experience of the day.

The days are packed, however, the students have to earn off-campus activities. Most students complain about being bored. This is because we are not entertaining them and they are required to work and earn their privileges. 1st Phase students spend most of their time on campus as this is the time to really reflect on your choices of the past. They might complain to you that they are bored as they are not used to having time to simply reflect and think about life and their future.

We are hoping that your student is going to learn to enjoy reading. Because of videos, television, and music (personal CD players), kids nowadays have lost the desire to read. This is a shame. They need to be bored enough to learn to enjoy reading again. Every Sunday we go to church and then spend the rest of the day enjoying some much-needed time off. In relation to your child’s previous schedule (at home), our schedule is very restricted and tremendously supervised.

Education and Educational Progress:

Most of our students are academically unmotivated, and this does not change overnight! (If your student was doing well academically upon enrollment with Zoin Educational Systems, then Praise God and we will continue with their academic success immediately!) Please understand that we will begin to work with your student academically as soon as we receive their transcripts from their previous school. Rod Quarnberg, our Academic Director, will be assessing your student’s transcript that you had faxed to us and enrolling your student in the classes that they need. (If you have not had your student’s school fax their transcript to Rod, please do so immediately!!) However, please do not expect a great deal of academic success in Phase 1. Please be patient. Students do a lot of improving academically in Phase 2. What they do not get done in Phase 1 they more than accomplish in Phases 2 and 3. Please encourage your student and insist on academic performance when you are speaking or writing to them. At Zoin Educational Systems, our program is set up where the students cannot progress through the phases without taking education seriously and taking responsibility for completing all academic assignments. For the student to be successful, we need the parents 100% support by insisting to their student that all academic coursework must be completed. Any academic concerns need to be addressed to Rod Quarnberg by submitting a Ticket to him with your questions. Specific academic questions can also be addressed to Bill Sorbe, School Counselor, via the Ticket System on your SRS.

Staying in Faith:

During your enrollment process, we asked you to pray for God’s perfect will regarding your student’s enrollment. We trust that you came to the conclusion thatZoin Educational Systems is where God wants your student. Please realize that when your student is in God’s perfect will, you can guarantee that there will be spiritual opposition. In other words, you will be attacked. I encourage you keep your eyes on Jesus and not the circumstances. As opposition comes against you and your family, I encourage you to stand in faith. God is in control and will always be in control. He calls us to praise Him in all things, including the struggle that your family is enduring. Again, the most important thing you can do is pray. Get as many people as you can to pray with you. Pray for your student, the staff, and the other students.

Communication:

Our hope is to provide you with a rich flow of information regarding your student and their progress, along with the latest happenings of Zoin Educational Systems. It is our heart and our desire to keep you informed, up-to-date, and plugged in. Please understand that this does not mean that you will know every day the tiny details of your student’s life. Family Restoration is about you learning to communicate with your student, not learning to communicate with our staff. If you have questions about your students program, ask them directly. Email is a wonderful tool to use where you can ask the in-depth questions. If your student does not answer them, that is ok. This just shows you that the relationship still has work to do until your student is more comfortable opening up to you about the in-depth issues.

The second communication process is our “Ticket”  system,  designed  specifically  to  enhance   parent/staff  communication.  “Tickets”  allow  you  to  direct  questions  to  specific  departments,  i.e.   athletics,  academics,  finance,  general,  spiritual.  Simply  log  in  to  the  SRS  system  and  click  “Ticket”   in the lower left section. Select department and type your message. The staff from that department will be alerted via email. They will respond back to you in a timely manner. A record of all your posted  “Tickets”  will  appear  under  that  section  on  your  student’s home page. 

As in all communication between your student and the outside world, we will follow your guidance, meaning we will not allow your student to communicate with anyone unless we have your prior approval. Please send us a list of people who you want to be on your student’s contact list. We urge you to be selective on who is able to write to your student directly. Only direct relatives and approved adults such as their youth pastor, are allowed to write during the first two phases – no friends. Another approach that works well is to have all mail routed through you and sent to your student only with your approval. Also, mail from your student to others could be routed through you as well and then passed on to the appropriate individual. In this way, you are able to see and monitor for yourself the content that gets passed to and from your student. Please remember – don’t include anyone on the approved list who will undermine your authority as the parent. Only include those who are 100% behind you and your decision to enroll your student into Mt Caramel. The guidelines for each Phase are as follows:

Phase 1 Student:

May visit with parents only on the phone, may receive emails and cards through regular mail from approved parents, grandparents, etc.

Phase 2 Student:

May visit with other family members on the phone with parents permission. May receive emails and cards through regular mail from approved parents, grandparents, etc. (Please be advised that students only get the 1 phone call per week. If you allow someone else in the family to have that phone call, the parents are giving up their phone call for the week)

Phase 3 Student:

All of the above, plus they may have emails or letters from selected, approved friends with parent’s permission.

Please send us your students contact list immediately. Include names, addresses, phone numbers, relationship to student and email addresses.

Phone Calls:

You will be contacted shortly by the Family Representative with a call schedule. Basically, we will provide you with a call-out schedule setting the day and time that your student calls you. In the beginning, your student will have one 10-15-minute phone call per week. If you would like to visit with the Staff please request this so that you will have 10 minutes of talk-time with your student and 5 minutes of talk time with the staff member. If your student refuses to call home or our staff have made the determination that your student is not ready to call home, a member of our Staff will be placing the call to you and giving you an update on your student at the same day and time listed on the call schedule that you receive by email.

You will begin to have a Family Restoration phone call that will take the place of your student’s call-out time every other week once you have completed Parent Coaching with Kathy Reese. The first few 45 minute calls will be all about the Family Representative getting to know you and your student on a deeper level. The actual Family Restoration calls will start when the Family Rep feels that your family is truly ready to begin this important step. This call will last between 45 minutes to an hour. It will be conducted by speakerphone with you, your student, and your Family Rep.

Please understand that phone calls are problematic here at Mt Caramel The needs of our students will always take precedence over phone calls. If we are experiencing a crisis with another student or the call before yours is running late, etc., your call maybe late and in some cases not happen at all. If you do not hear from your Family Rep within 24 hours of a missed call please send a ticket to our Director of Operations, Wendy L. Riddle. Please include in the email the specifics and your email address. Wendy will then address this promptly. If you send the ticket over the weekend, Wendy will address this when she returns to the office on Monday.

Your Parent Coach will contact you during the first week. She will go over all protocols and procedures with you, including the Parent Manual and the Student Manual. During the first 30 days of your student’s enrollment, you will be in contact with your Family Representative through the phone calls with your student and by email. Your longer Family Restoration Conference calls will begin after completion of parent coaching. We have this rule for two reasons. First, during the initial time with your child, we are getting to know your child as an individual and watching him or her closely to provide you with a complete assessment the areas that need the most help. During this early time, the students are just not ready emotionally or mentally to truly begin the restoration process with their families. Second, parent coaching is vitally important. Just as your child is getting new tools to use when he or she returns home, you also will be receiving new tools through parent coaching, and they will help you have more successful family restoration phone calls.

Emailing Your Child: We encourage you to email your child often to encourage and exhort. Please understand that due to the fact that most of our students have issues with the Internet (mainly Instant Messenger), your child will not have direct access to email. We will print off your emails and give them to your child, encouraging a reply. Our staff will submit your child’s emails to you on Tuesday and Friday. This is also the mail day for the students when we pass out all mail and emails. Please put your child’s name in the subject field so we know who the email is for. Please also advise anyone that you have put on your  child‟s  contact  list  to  do  the  same!  

Letters and Cards:

We strongly encourage you and your family to send hand-written letters and cards to your child. 

Visitation Policy: Due to experience, it is advised that you do not plan  a  visit  to  the  campus  during  your  child‟s  first   Phase. Normally, the first visit to the campus occurs when you attend the Family Workshop, which is best scheduled for the beginning of the second Phase. Kathy Reese will explain the Family Workshop to you when she calls you. No matter how well your child is doing during the first 90-120 days of enrollment, an early visit will most likely cause your child to regress. There are many factors for this occurrence, but we have seen enough setbacks over the years to make a solid determination to highly suggest to not make plans to visit until after your child has transitioned to Phase II. The success rate of visitations in the Second Phase is much greater. Additionally, please make sure that you contact your Family Rep or the Program Director to schedule a visit.

Lodging Complaints and the Mt Caramel Management Philosophy; If you have occasion to file a complaint regarding any staff member or function of Mt Caramel , we encourage you to contact our Executive Director.

If you would like to know more about therapeutic boarding school and other residential programs for troubled teens, please contact a family counselor at Zion Educational Systems for guidance.  To get started click the button below!

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