August 2012 Graduates: One-Year Follow-up
—From telephone interviews (usually with parents) conducted by Linda Solomon in the fall of 2013---i.e., one year following the August 2012 graduation.
—total number of graduates = 18
—percentage of families contacted and interviewed = 16 (84%)

This is our second one year post-grad report. 

In our first report we crowed about our “relief and pleasure” to be able to report on an entire class, the full cohort of 19 graduates who left the Academy together in May 2012.  In that first report, however, we mentioned that for years we’d “struggled” to gather complete sets of post-grad statistics, because, believe it or not, they are “difficult to come by.”  The problem is: that to get them we have to phone and e-mail parents, who are very busy adults. 

So, with chagrin we must confess that, unlike last time, we did not this time make contact with all graduates’ families.  We interviewed at least one of the parents of 16 alumni—out of a cohort of 19—or 84%.  That’s better than a major league batting average, but to achieve 100%, we’d have to work for the NSA.

[What about the other 3? From one family: no response at all.  From another: a polite reflexive e-reply, but then no offered slot ever lined up precisely with an i-opening, and so the opportunity got lost in a modern time warp.  From the third?—a message came back in a bottle, so to speak, to say they’d already departed for a dark continent (to raft the Zambezi?) and for a year they would not be near a phone.]      

Attending School
College - 56% High School - 38% None - 6%
Grades Good - 69% OK - 19% Struggling - 6% Don't know - 6%
Worked Sometime in Last Year Full Time - 13% Part Time - 44% Volunteer - 6% None - 38%
Family Relations Good - 81% OK - 13% Struggling - 6% Don't know - 0%
Peer Relations Good - 63% OK - 31% Struggling - 6% Don't know - 0%
Substance or Alcohol Abuse No Problem - 56% Some Use - 25% Problematic - 19% Don't know - 0%
Legal Problems No Problem - 88% Some - 13% Don't know - 0%
Transition No Problem - 50% Some - 31% Struggled - 19%
Home Contract No Problem - 38% - Some - 25% Struggled - 19% Other - 19%
General Satisfaction Good - 94% Mixed - 6% Bad Decision - 0%

How do broad outcomes compare—from May and August 2012 graduation cohorts?

The positive aggregates look much the same.  Still in school or college? 94% vs 95%.  Good or Ok grades? 88% vs 95%.  Good family relations?  81% vs 79%  Peer Relation-ships—Good or Ok? 94% vs 94%.  The negative aggregates also were stable from one class to the next.  “Problematic” Use of Drugs or Alcohol? 19% vs 16%.  “Some” Legal Problems? 13% vs 16%.  “Struggled” with the Post-Grad Transition?  19% vs 21%.

Problems?  In the year after graduation, the most common and dangerous banana peel, without doubt, was a return to significant drug or alcohol abuse.  Two August grads had to leave college or home, albeit only temporarily, after drug-related incidents.  There was one reported arrest for drug possession, and one DUI.  Again, one in five graduates “struggled” with the transition back to what students call “the real world.”  Problems clustered not within the MA experience, but in the transition after graduation.   

Finally, parents’ unqualified satisfaction in retrospect “with the decisions to send a son (or daughter) to Montana Academy” remained nearly universal: 94% vs 100%.  In this general satisfaction, we should let parents speak for themselves.  Rather than sample or select a few of their replies, we have cited below—at the risk of redundancy--all of their answers. 

Overall, after a year, how do you feel about your decision to send your child to MA?

  1. 100% positive. Best thing we did.
  2. 95% good. It was the only decision. It saved her life. The other 5% would be a better transition. /li>
  3. A positive experience. She is better.
  4. Daughter says MA saved her life. Mom says she needed an intervention and MA is the gold standard of the kind of school she needed.
  5. 100% good decision. Came out respecting each other. A profound process, including wilderness.
  6. Best decision ever made in their life. MAs intention was to help him grow up and he did.
  7. A life saver. Mom says, grandma almost breaks into tears every time MA is mentioned.
  8. Best thing in the world.
  9. Best thing they could have done.
  10. The only option she had. Best thing in the world.
  11. Parents feel good, but it was a slow process. Needed more. Child learned tools, but not there yet.
  12. Fantastic decision. MA was the right program at the right time. Couldn't have done better.
  13. Felt from the start it was a good, solid program and now she is doing very well.
  14. Feel good about decision,  but it was painful.
  15. Feel good. Only choice they had.
  16. Spectacular, saved her. Changed the whole family. Prepared them for the other kids in the family.
  17. Never looked back.
  18. Feel good. Gave him a chance to work on himself and his problems in a safe environment, each day growing and getting a little wiser.
  19. Best thing ever did. Never looked back. Greatest decision ever. Wish it could be incorporated into the public schools.
  20. Smartest thing they ever did. Not easy. Wilderness was a hard decision and MA a natural progression.
  21. Thinks it was a salvation. Felt it was the best option under the circumstances and very happy how things turned out.
  22. Great.

May 2012 Graduates: One-Year Follow-Up
2009 Graduates: One-Year Follow-Up

MONTANA ACADEMY 9705 Lost Prairie Road Marion, MT 59925 (P) 406 858 2339 (F) 406 858 2356