Monday, October 24, 2016

New Dorm: Infinity Hall

On August 14, construction began on Woodward Academy’s newest dormitory, Infinity Hall, and today that dorm opened. The 16 bed dorm is the first since Legacy Hall opened in 2009, and sits directly above the refurbished clinical services department in the newly acquired Elmcrest wing of campus. It is the new home to an expanded Phase 5 program.

Programming for students on campus involves four phases. In 2012, that programming was expanded to include an additional phase that focused on student transition opportunities. Over the course of a year, two off campus houses were opened that encompassed the Phase 5 programming and served 12 students.

The decision to bring one of those houses back to campus was reached with the intent of impacting more students with this programming. Over the past 3 years, there have been several good student candidates for the Phase 5 program, who were not able to be a part of it due to capacity issues. Phase 5 students are veterans of Woodward Academy. They are Knights and leaders across campus, and have demonstrated to have a sound understanding of the philosophy. Many of the students are upper classmen, although it is not a requirement, and are thinking about what their next step in life is.

With the expanded dorm, the Phase 5 program will be able to grow to 22 students and will be available to many more students. Additionally, they will have access to the same therapeutic services as the rest of campus, and will be able to have a greater presence on campus by participating in many more campus activities. Woodward Academy’s current capacity is now 272 students.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Knightly Knews Vol. 39 is now online!

The latest edition of our award-winning publication, the Knightly Knews, is now online and you can access it by clicking here. As a .pdf document, you can view or download the quarterly publication to your computer, iPad, or smartphone for easy reading. This Electronic Medical Records edition includes:
- Profile on new Executive Director, Shawn Hollenkamp
- Electronic Medical Records
- Custom built EMR system called P.AN.D.A
- Expansion Project: Infinity Hall
- World's Powerlifting Coach
- I Am Building Woodward Academy video series
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Tour of Elmcrest Hall
- Around Campus: Homecoming and Gardening

We hope you have a chance to check it out and enjoy the read.

Monday, October 10, 2016

New Executive Director // Shawn Hollenkamp

In September, Shawn Hollenkamp accepted the position of Executive Director at Woodward Academy, a return to campus for a company that he has spent the last 14 years of his career. After graduating from Iowa State University in 2001 with a degree in Child and Family Services, Shawn began his career at Woodward Academy in 2002 like many others, as a youth counselor.

Over the course of his career, Shawn has held many positions on campus including operating the daily shifts on campus in a Group Leader role, to supervising a dorm as Program Director. In 2006, Shawn was promoted to Group Living Director, a position he held until 2013 when he was once again promoted to Executive Director of Woodward Community Based Services (WCBS). Located in Des Moines, WCBS was “founded in response to the growing need to serve children, adolescents, and their families in their home community.”

When Shawn took over at WCBS, they were operating five separate community based programs. Under his leadership and with a great team, WCBS expanded their services and cast a wider net across the state to serve more needs. Tracking and monitoring, out-patient school based therapy, substance abuse treatment, and family peer support services were all added. WCBS also received a grant called Community Based Interventions, and a contract to be the Boone County Juvenile Court Liaison. Most recently, WCBS had been approved to provide residential in-home services for adults who are Severly Mentally Impaired (SMI).

Upon his return to campus, he is excited to meld his group living and community based experience into one, and he is excited to be back on the campus where his career started 14 years ago. The position opened after Ryan Santi, Executive Director from 2013 - 2016, was promoted to Vice President of Operations within Sequel Youth and Family Services. He will now help build facilities across the country within the Woodward Academy model.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Welcome to Elmcrest // Video Tour

For approximately a year, the clinical services team has been occupying their new wing on campus: Elmcrest Hall. The expansive space is certainly making a difference to what they had before. For years, the team was separated across campus, and at one point, 6 therapists were sharing a small classroom in the education building. Today, thirteen therapists have their own office space in Elmcrest, with plenty of room to grow.

Amidst the offices, there are several large areas for group sessions to take place. Knight’s Mind Training, art therapy, and trauma therapy groups now have ample space to operate. In addition, the substance abuse counselors and behavioral health intervention services (BHIS) counselors have moved to Elmcrest to join the rest of the team. There is also a play therapy space, and a room dedicated solely to neurofeedback.

To get a visual of what Elmcrest looks like, take a tour with clinical therapist, Monica Johnson.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Gardening Extracurricular

Extracurricular activities are a great way for staff members to teach their areas of passion outside of the school day, and for students to be a part of some life long learning opportunities. For many people, summer time fun equals gardening. Spending afternoons in the sun with their hands in the soil is a great way to connect with the earth. Months later, your efforts are pulled from the ground and end up on your dining room table. For Ray Olson, teacher at Woodward Academy, exposing students to the finer art of gardening is a life skill worth exploring

Thanks to a $2,000 grant received from Whole Foods grocery stores, the gardening extracurricular was able to have a plentiful harvest this fall. With the money, they purchased some great gardening equipment and fencing, with the rest allocated toward landscaping. In all, they planted 9 different vegetables and have been reaping the rewards for weeks. With a lifelong agricultural background, Olson hopes to extend this extracurricular beyond the fall harvest. He noted that during the winter, students could do some indoor planting and learn more about weed identification, fertilization, and soil testing. He will also be exploring the possibilities of additional grants next year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

World's Coach // Guthrey Fritz

Guthrey Fritz, Admissions Director and former Knights powerlifting coach, recently returned from Szczyrk, Poland, after a week of representing the United States team as a coach at the IPF Sub-Junior (high school) and Junior (collegiate) World Powerlifting Championships. The U.S. delegation brought four teams with 36 of the best lifters in the country to compete at the international competition.

Fritz’s history with elite powerlifting goes back more than a decade. He started the Woodward Academy powerlifting program 2003 and over the course of his tenure as head coach, won 10 consecutive USAPL High School National Championships, crowned 24 individual National Champions, and brought a total of 116 lifters to the national competition. The bookend of his coaching career at Woodward Academy occurred in the fall of 2015 when he travelled to this same competition in Prague, Czech Republic. He coached WA lifter, Julious Walker, to a runner-up World Championship.

After his experience with the team last season, U.S. Head Coach, Curt St. Romain, offered Guthrey a spot as a coach on this year’s team. He was assigned specific lifters and worked with them throughout the competition in getting checked in, setting rack heights, during weigh-ins, and calling squats for the lifters. At the end of competition, the U.S. team performed exceptionally well. The sub-junior boys were crowned World Champions, with the junior boys earning a bronze metal. Both the sub-junior and junior girls teams won silver.

Guthrey has already been asked to coach on next year’s team, with the 2017 international competition taking place in Orlando, Florida.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fall Sports Posters // Football and Cross Country 2016

The fall sports posters for the 2016 season are out and can be picked up on campus. Both sports have begun competition and are getting a good early start to their seasons. Both posters showcase the team, with captains and key athletes playing a predominant role in the images. As always, the 2016 schedule is on there as well. If you have an opportunity to cheer on the Knights for some Friday, gridiron action, or on a golf course near you, I highly encourage you to do so. In the meantime, follow our Facebook page to get updates throughout the season.