Discovery Academy's History Shapes Our Current Values

This page describes the mission and philosophy of Discovery Academy. It offers an understanding of how the purpose behind that mission is rooted in our history. Moreover, it offers a chance to learn about Discovery Academy's core values and gain insight into the historic building's history that is one of the prominent features of Discovery Academy. Finally, you will have an opportunity to complete an assessment that offers immediate insight into the kind of help your teen needs.

The Discovery Academy Mission Statement

Discovery Academy is a clinical boarding school whose mission is to inspire each student to pursue excellence in all areas of life. Through an intensive program of academics, therapy, and life skills training, students are challenged to excel in their development; intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually/ethically, and physically.

The program's aspiration that enrollment in the academy begins a lifelong quest for greater wisdom, integrity, insight, and social consciousness. Staff and student interactions are governed by mutual respect in an environment that balances individuality with community. A commitment to self-discovery and service to others defines the school in our pursuit of excellence.

The Origins of Discovery Academy's Philosophy

To understand our philosophy, you have to understand our history.

Brothers Scott and Steve Petersen and their partners, Dane Kay, Jim Salisbury, Steve Nadauld, and Brent Hall, created the programs. This management group has been together for more than 20 years. They are still providing "hands-on" leadership in the day-to-day activities – a fact that is almost unheard of in the therapeutic industry.

Scott and Steve grew up working the family's large cattle ranch in Wyoming. As young men, they worked side by side with their troubled cousins from the city. They watched the transformation brought on by hard work and positive peer mentoring. Meanwhile, Dane and Brent spent their youth working on potato farms and dairy farms in Idaho. Jim, however, played professional baseball. In contrast, Steve traveled the country as his father served as president of two universities.

Although their backgrounds are diverse, for each of these men, hard work and the self-esteem that comes from accomplishment are hallmark characteristics of their lives and the programs they created. Their example of trust and friendship is the foundation of our organizational culture. Moreover, their commitment, stability, integrity, and sense of humor helped them attract the business's best employees.

Core Values of Discovery Academy

Based on this history, Discovery Academy was built on six core components:

  1. Our programs are only as good as the people who work with our students.
  2. Program counselors and staff must be invested in a relationship with each and every child.
  3. Every student has different needs and potential; therefore, academics are individualized.
  4. Experiential activities are the foundation of therapeutic success. Therapy is not about sitting on a couch and talking about the problems in life. It is about touching, feeling, smelling, and seeing what life has to offer. Through experiential activities, students manifest their genuine emotions and behaviors as individuals and peers.
  5. There must also be daily access to experiential opportunities where students can find success through achievement and productivity.
  6. Loving parents have suffered and sacrificed to entrust their children to our care. We must never forget this.

Discovery Academy extends to your family the very best in adolescent therapy, as do the Ascent Programs. It is an honor for our family to help yours.

The History of a Building is the History of a Community

Parents who tour Discovery Academy have questions about the historic building that houses the current boys' dormitory. A brief summary of the history is included here.

When it was built in 1903, the architectural masterpiece which currently houses Discovery Academy was a chapel. The chapel was the heart of the local community. While a great deal has changed since its original construction, fostering a strong community is at the heart of everything that happens at Discovery Academy.

The building was originally known as the Provo Third Ward Chapel. The chapel reflects the values and sense of aesthetics of the people who built it. In 1903, only three generations of settlers had lived in Provo. The successful families of Provo wanted to create a chapel as beautiful as any in the Old World. The building was proof of the settler's success.

Wealthy families funded local artisans who used locally produced supplies to create the Gothic Style chapel. The building was a symbol of both faith and civic pride. In addition to being a place of worship, it was also a meetinghouse. The building has always been a place for people to come together in the spirit of community.

Ten years after the original chapel was complete, an Amusement Hall was added to the chapel. The hall gave local residents a place to enjoy music, dancing, and even sports contests. It has a distinctly different look from the original chapel, including lighter-colored brickwork. The spirit of the building remained the same. It was still a place for people to come together.

During the Second World War, the US army re-purposed the chapel into barracks. The military did not have sufficient housing for soldiers, so the local church donated the use of the chapel. As always, the local people were eager to support the needs of the wider community.

Private owners bought the chapel in 1979, the same year it became part of the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, the building has had a series of different owners who used the building for various purposes, such as a restaurant and a dance club.

Built to Inspire

Discovery Academy bought the former chapel in 1992. Since purchasing the building, Discovery Academy has worked hard to preserve both the architecture and community spirit that the building embodied. As a therapeutic boarding school, Discovery Academy teaches at-risk youth the value of civic engagement. While students attend Discovery Academy, they learn how to be active members of a healthy community.

Being part of the community takes place both inside and outside of the walls of the Discovery Academy building. Inside the school, students participate in classes, groups, and individualized therapeutic programs. Outside of the school, students participate in volunteer programs or have paying jobs.

Students learn to develop a sense of responsibility. When students return to their real homes, they take all that they have learned with them. Whether inside or outside of the building's walls, students develop the same sense of community and civic pride that inspired the early Provo settlers to build the Discovery Academy building more than 115 years ago.

Understanding the Needs of Troubled Teens Based On Experience and Scientific Evaluation

Discovery Academy can show you the kind of help your teen needs. Every teen has different strengths and faces different challenges. The school uses research to help create an individualized treatment plan for each teen.

One of our most important research tools is a clinically normed and validated assessment designed to analyze healthy adolescent functioning. After you complete the evaluation, you will better understand areas where your daughter or son is thriving and struggling.

This assessment is free and confidential. Taking the evaluation does not represent any obligation.