The John Dewey Academy is a residential school for bright, acting out, and angry adolescents. JDA admits self-destructive students who have failed to respond to traditional educational and treatment approaches. JDA eschews the use of psychotropic medication and psychiatric labels by providing a structured environment to help students (re)gain control of their lives. Students are admitted on the basis of an intensive interview which assesses potential and motivation. Test scores and grades rarely are considered.
The therapeutic orientation is confrontational and humanistic. Students accept accountability for dysfunctional acts in a stressful and uncompromising environment that demands educational excellence and personal integrity. JDA nurtures psychological, moral and spiritual growth by creating conditions conducive to (re)gain self-respect and integrity. Positive peer pressure is the primary psychotherapeutic approach which stresses empowerment. Students are persons, not patients and victims.
Academics are rigorous. The student-teacher ratio is 4-1. Class size averages six. All graduates attend college. Similar to other elitist prep schools, JDA wants to be judged by the reputations of the colleges which admit graduates and by subsequent performances. More than 33% have made the Dean’s List at Barnard, Bates, Carleton, Columbia (College & University), Connecticut College; Cornell, George Washington & Georgetown Universities; Glendon College of York University (Canada); Hobart, Holy Cross, Mount Holyoke, & Oberlin Colleges; Ohio Wesleyan University, RPI, Rochester University, Spelman & Skidmore Colleges, Syracuse University (Visual and Performing Arts & Newhouse School of Communications), Trinity College, Tufts University, Union College, the Universities of Chicago, Hartford, Massachusetts & Oregon; Vassar, Wellesley & Williams Colleges.