The Root River Program is a unique therapeutic and academic program serving high school students in Fillmore and surrounding counties.

The Root River Program based in Harmony serves students in Fillmore County Schools. The program is also available on a referral basis to students in Houston and Mower counties. The program with its current staffing can accommodate up to 14 students. In the program, students experience a safe place to grow while at the same time they are challenged to succeed, both emotionally and academically.

Students who are referred to the program show either emotional or behavioral barriers to academic, social and/or personal success. Root River Program has a full-time counselor who provides group counseling as well as a mental health professional who is on-site eight hours per week. Root River Program uses cognitive behavioral therapy, a therapeutic model that teaches skills related to each student's structured individual treatment needs. In their therapy sessions, students focus on developing skills for coping with life events. Students participate in three groups a day ranging from emotion regulation and social skill development to creative expression (therapeutic recreation).

On site are a full-time special education teacher and a full-time paraprofessional contracted through Fillmore Central Schools. The teacher coordinates the academic classes each student needs in order to stay on track to graduate from their home district. Course work is individualized for each student based on the student's school district's requirements and which classes the student has already taken.

At the Root River Program, students can complete their academic requirements and transition back to their home-school after showing progression in responding to the intensive therapeutic services through a structured level system. The ideal average length of time for a student to receive services at Root River is estimated at 18 months.

The Root River Program is designed to provide an opportunity where students can learn that they have positive control over their behaviors.

I would like to end this article by giving special thanks to the staff at Root River Program for making this program so successful.

Thanksgiving thank you to:

Mental Health Counselor- Melissa Simonson, LPC, MA

Mental Health Professional - Kay Haugerud, LICSW, MSW

Program Professional - Bryan Lee

Special Education Teacher- Marsha Dowe, MA