May and Louise traveled to Michigan on August 13th and 14th to tour Montcalm School. This program is part of a long running nonprofit called Starr Commonwealth. They have run public programs and provided services to children and families for years. The campus, in Albion, Michigan, is beautiful and the weather was great too for our tour! We were amazed at the over the top facilities: a full sized gym with an indoor pool, full court basketball court, weight room, racket ball and track.
The school also has a very strong experiential program with a large facility for rock climbing and outdoor ropes courses. For Louise, her favorite part of the tour was learning about the arts and music, especially the music! If you look on YouTube, you will see some performances that were recorded in their recording studio on the campus which show the power of music in helping kids heal and transform.
We loved the very modern home on campus that is available for a small fee for families to stay in while they do family therapy with their children. This Frank Lloyd Wright type structure was donated to the school.
The girls’ dorm was beautifully decorated and we could tell the girls take pride in their cottage. We could not say the same for the boys’ dorm we visited! While clean, it lacked the personal touches that females do naturally.
While we loved touring the campus and seeing one of our students there, we were sorry to hear that many of the teaching staff were off campus in a training session and that the school was in the process of being remodeled. There are many “gems” about Montcalm, including the longevity and commitment of so many of the key staff. With this being said, we want to return after some of the changes in the programming get implemented to see how things progress.