Fact Sheet Index

When a bright, capable, and promising student comes home with a below average or failing report card, many parents respond with anger and frustration.

“How can someone so smart fail school?” a parent might ask their child.

Bright adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems often manage to keep up their grades and create the illusion that all is well. When those grades begin to slip, or suddenly drop precipitously, this serves as an urgent warning to parents that the teen who was furiously treading water is now drowning. Underachieving adolescents often find themselves in a vicious cycle.

Cycle of School Failure:

Poor grades – Negative reaction by teachers/parents – drop in self-esteem – Struggle to catch up – Worse grades – Teachers begin to “give up” on the child – another drop in self-esteem – apathy – Worse grades…

Failing school can lead to social impairment if the child is held back, economic impact if the child drops out or cannot continue his or her education, and emotional impact as the cycle of failure diminishes the adolescent’s self-esteem.

If your adolescent is failing in school, avoiding homework, skipping classes, or threatening to drop out, or simply not achieving at his or her potential, there are probably underlying behavioral and emotional problems causing the academic issues. A therapeutic boarding school can help you pinpoint these problem behaviors and help your child catch up on academics, setting him or her on a course of academic and personal success.

Is your child likely to drop out of school when old enough to legally do so?

If your child is frequently absent or truant from school, he or she is statistically at highest risk for dropping out of high school. If your child has repeated a year due to failing grades, he or she is at even higher risk of dropping out before finishing his or her education.


High School drop outs are 72% more likely to be unemployed and they will earn 27% less than high school graduates. (Source, Dept. of Labor)

The National Dropout Prevention Center has identified many strategies that have had positive effects on the dropout rate (www.dropoutprevention.org). Among them are:

  • Alternative schooling
  • Instructional technologies
  • Service learning
  • Conflict resolution
  • Out-of-school experiences
  • Community collaboration
  • Family involvement
  • Reading and writing programs
  • Individualized instruction
  • Mentoring/tutoring
  • Learning style/multiple intelligences strategies
  • Career education/workforce readiness

Specialized boarding schools can often offer your child individualized instruction that matches your child’s learning style and needs.

Aspen Education Group has a number of programs that can help children that are struggling academically. These programs can help with identifying the issues your child is experiencing to help him or her become successful.

Aspen Ranch has a unique approach to teens struggling with behavioral issues such as depression. Equine-assisted therapy can be highly effective in helping teens understand and verbalize their issues. Their relationship with the horse gives them a new perspective on their lives and behaviors, and faciliates emotional expression in adolescents who feel disconnected and depressed. Talk to a program representative for more information.

Our Assessment Test can help you determine if a residential program might be best for your particular child.