Wright School Frequently Asked Questions

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What 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 during treatment?

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 Liaison Teacher/Counselor.

What is Wright School's educational curriculum?

Wright School's curriculum is aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

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, etc.

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 Public Instruction.

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 the week?

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 care.

A lead TC/A supervises the third shift team and is responsible for the safety and security of the building during the night.


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