The Education at Hillcrest are specifically designed for teens. We offer individualized treatment to meet your needs.

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Education at Hillcrest

At Hillcrest, education and schooling is of outmost importance and priority.

Our ultimate goal is for family and school reunification and reintegration post rehabilitation. To this effect, your loved one’s schooling should not suffer or be affected in any negative way through seeking rehabilitation.

Our Director of Education is the renowned Dr. Sonji F. Harold, Ed.D.

Dr. Harold earned a Doctorate degree in Instructional Leadership, as well as a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University. In addition, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education-Mathematics from Lindenwood University. She is a conscientious professional with over 15 years of experience in proficient, educational leadership.

Dr. Harold has a proven track record of successfully working with diverse groups to improve academic achievement, and cultivate positive parent/community relationships. She provides dedicated and ongoing support, all the while holding students to high levels of personal accountability, and implementing standards and performance-based practices to ensure an impeccable school/work culture and climate. Her warm personality is infectious, inspires others to do well, and makes her a joy to be around.

Her primary role is to lead, guide and oversee the education schooling component at Hillcrest. This includes, regular liaising between the client’s school, the client, and the education program aids at Hillcrest. Dr. Harold ensures that there is open communication, update and feedback between all key players. She obtains the school curriculum, assigned readings, assignments and assessment tasks from each client’s school, and creates an individualized program of study for each client based on his/her level of study, while simultaneously accounting for the pace of his/her school system. In some situations, where a school’s curriculum may fall short, and/or not be conveniently adapted where one is outside of the classroom, Dr. Harold will adapt and/or create a new curriculum, approved by the client’s school and in line with his/her level requirements. Dr. Harold works in close partnership with the school boards, educators, tutors and teachers to ensure that each client is obtaining the best education, continuing where they left off, and matching their abilities and level of studies. This allows for smooth transitions back into the school, college and home environment, post rehabilitation.

Our clients range from very advanced college level students, to individuals who may have been struggling through the school system, or even those who may have dropped out early from formal education and are now learning and mastering a trade. Each one is catered to on his/her personal level. For example, Dr. Harold will arrange for a college level student who requires some additional AP courses to complete all of those requirements so that he/she does not fall behind his/her peer group and his/her college application remains unaffected. On the other hand, a client who has struggled through the school system or perhaps even dropped out will be coached back into a healthy structure of schooling so that he/she can re-integrate in healthy manner post rehabilitation. Also, a client who has begun to master a trade in carpentry or the like will be supported on this journey as well.

On a weekly basis, Dr. Harold meets with each client to review the previous week’s schedule, schooling, homework and studies. She also introduces them to the new week of schooling. Parents receive updates on their childrens’ progress regularly (minimum once per week). Simultaneously, our program provides education program aides on the ground to, in effect, individually tutor each client through his/her schooling exercises and readings, while always under the guidance and mentorship of Dr. Harold. In the event that a student requires a specialist tutor in any subject, our program will assess that need and provide all that is necessary to assist the client through his/her education.

It is important to note, that while we are generally an “unplugged” rehabilitation facility, we make allowances for computer time during the education and schooling sessions so that clients can also connect live in real time with their classmates and teachers from their home-school and feel like they are physically in the classroom and progressing in the same way and at the same pace as their peer group.

We are proud of our integrated school education component at Hillcrest. Our clients and families are grateful that this type of program does not negatively impact the progression of education and the ultimate career path. Rehabilitation and healing is important but we don’t want our clients to feel that it will come at a cost, and/or hinder them from seeking us out. Thankfully, we have achieved a balance that is conducive to both healing and therapeutic programming, as well as maintaining the regular schooling and educative component for each client.

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Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center – Agoura Hills, California