is Wright School and how is it different from other treatment programs?
Wright School is a unique child mental health
treatment program, one of the original demonstration sites for “Project
ReED,” a National Institute of Mental Health demonstration grant. (Read
a more complete description in What is Re-ED?).
For parents, Wright School offers an opportunity to choose an intensive ecological
treatment program that focuses, not just on the child, but also on a family and
community eco-system of which the child is the defining member.
Children spend Monday through Friday at Wright School in Durham and engage in
treatment and academic activities each day. Each child returns home each weekend
and continues work on treatment goals. Parents and the family’s formal
and informal support system, that make up the Child and Family Team, continue
to work on goals using strategies they are learning at Wright School. Thus, the
program offers a seven day a week intervention where the child’s whole
ecological system, made up of many people, has opportunities to learn and practice
new successful strategies while the child is in treatment.
How much will it cost for my child to
attend Wright School?
Wright School is a state-operated mental health treatment program for children
with serious behavioral and emotional problems who are referred by their Local
Management Entity through community providers. The North Carolina Department
of Health and Human Services and the Division of Mental Health, Developmental
Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services budget state tax dollars to fund each
child’s treatment and educational program.
The cost of transportation to and from the treatment program each week is the
responsibility of parents or the legally responsible person and an important
factor that families must consider when choosing Wright School as the place for
their child’s mental health treatment.
My child is on medication and sees a psychiatrist.
What psychiatric services are available to students?
Wright School’s consulting psychiatrist is on campus weekly to meet with
children and treatment teams. The psychiatrist reviews past medical records and
conducts a Mental Status Exam on every child. Most families prefer that Wright
School's psychiatrist become their child's prescribing psychiatrist during treatment
since the doctor meets with the child's treatment team weekly to discuss each
child's progress in the program.
Some families prefer that their local community psychiatrist continue to follow
the child during treatment at Wright School. This is an option, if the community
doctor agrees to use Wright School’s forms including doctor’s orders
and is available by phone to consult with our doctor and staff as needed.
My child sees a therapist weekly. Can this continue
Wright School provides individual and small group therapy by a licensed clinical
social worker who is on staff and collaborates with all three treatment teams
on all aspects of the child’s treatment.
If a child has a significant relationship with a community therapist and the
family or community team recommends the course of therapy not be interrupted,
on-going community therapy is an option if therapy appointments, outside of school
hours, can be arranged and transportation is provided by the family. Some therapists
prefer to see the child at Wright School. Arrangements can be made through the
What is Wright School's educational curriculum?
Wright School's curriculum is aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course
Almost all children have been identified for Exceptional Children’s Services
prior to admission and have an Individual Educational Program (IEP) that is transferred
to Wright School and often reevaluated in this setting.
Many children have significant delays in core academic competencies due to multiple
psychiatric diagnoses, learning and behavior disorders, absences from instruction
(due to suspensions, hospitalizations, homebound services), medication side effects,
Intensive evidence-based remediation in small group and individualized instruction
is a major part of the therapeutic intervention for many children. Learning strategies
and gaining skills helps struggling students feel like “learners” and
begin to take the academic risks associated with progress.
Wright School administers the statewide testing mandated by the Department of
What time does school begin on Monday and when do
students leave on Friday?
Children arrive at Wright School after 8:30 AM each Monday morning. We recognize
that this can be difficult as some families must travel some distance to Durham,
but we do recommend that children arrive as close to 8:30 as possible. Children
are picked up on Friday afternoons between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM.
Families are responsible for arranging transportation to Wright School. Some
parents are able to arrange their weekly schedules such that they are available
to provide transportation. Other families call on extended family, friends, church
members or other sources of support to help them with transportation.
Can children receive phone calls and visits during
Yes, children may receive visits and phone calls during the week. Each child’s
legally responsible adult decides who may contact the child by phone or in person
during the week.
Visits to children on campus are best arranged in advance with the Liaison Teacher/Counselor
to avoid scheduling conflicts.
The best time to call children is usually between the hours of 5:30 PM and 8:00
PM although your child's Liaison Teacher/Counselor or Evening Teacher/Counselor
may suggest a more suitable time for phone calls based on the group's schedule.
They are also able to flex the schedule to meet individual family needs. We have
24 children and only four phone lines, so calls need to be brief.
Who provides care, supervision and safety for children
overnight while they sleep?
Each of the three treatment groups has one Teacher/Counselor Assistant (TC/A)
who is awake, present on the unit, and assigned to monitor each child’s
sleep through the night. On their arrival each night, the overnight staff overlap
for 30 minutes with the Evening Teacher/Counselors. Again in the morning they
overlap for 30 minutes with the Day Teacher/Counselors to assure continuity of
A lead TC/A supervises the third shift team and is responsible for the safety
and security of the building during the night.