Academic Program

Academics at Red Mountain Colorado

One of the biggest concerns parents have about treatment programming is that their child will fall behind in school. That’s why we take your teen’s education just as seriously as you do. Our certified special education teacher provides a structured, supportive classroom environment where our students thrive.

Red Mountain is committed to working with students to identify learning strengths and to focus on those strengths to support students in achieving their own academic goals. These goals are developed by the team including the student, parents, and staff. Red Mountain uses transcripts, previous testing, state assessments, and established IEPs to plan for any accommodations or learning differences to ensure that each student experiences academic success.

We offer an exceptional academic program that your teen will participate in during weekdays as they’re getting treatment. A balance of evidence-based treatment and schooling will heal your teen’s mind, body, and spirit and allow them to pick up their education where they left off. Once your teen starts treatment, they’ll participate in our academic program four days a week, similar to how they would if they were still going to school back home. We want our students to walk away with a healed relationship with school, so we work with them on techniques and methods to leave them with positive connotations with schooling. These individualized coping systems allow students to manage their own learning styles and methods during their time at Red Mountain Colorado and beyond.

Elizabeth Villanueva

Our Academic Director Elizabeth Villanueva works directly with our students, helping them through their academic journey at Red Mountain Colorado from start to finish. Elizabeth attended the University of Northern Colorado, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She holds a high school teaching certification, a certification in Special Education, and has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership.

Elizabeth taught for many years in a public high school setting, and decided to pursue teaching in a private setting when she realized there was not enough focus on students’ overall mental health in most schools. She is well-versed on working with students with various learning differences and mental health needs, and is delighted to be able to apply this experience at Red Mountain.

“I understand that every student is different and need to be supported in different ways. I work hard to make sure I accommodate all learning styles and rhythms so everyone I work with feels successful in the classroom and beyond.”


Red Mountain Colorado offers an individualized hybrid classroom where the students take a leading role in their education. Our classroom is led by a special education teacher and classes have about 15-20 students. This customized classroom setup allows students to work at the pace that functions best for their learning styles but does not separate them from the social aspect of a classroom. Along with teacher and staff support, peer-based support and collaboration is fundamental to the learning process and social success of our students.

Our education program at Red Mountain Colorado is built around Alta Independent, an established online high school accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) through Cognia. Our certified teacher works with the students through the curriculum provided by Alta and adapts as needed for any individualized educational needs. Alta also offers students one-on-one tutoring with one of their teachers if they need the extra support.

With curriculum and coursework for grades 6-12, Alta Independent provides the resources and flexibility your teen needs to maintain their education while at Red Mountain Colorado. With a wide range of courses and college prep, Alta Independent can also help your teen earn the credits and knowledge necessary to prepare for college.


Alta Independent is Cognia Accredited. “Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement solutions to institutions and other education providers. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, Cognia serves 36,000 institutions, nearly 25 million students, and five million educators every day.”

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Academic programming is completely individualized at Red Mountain Colorado. When your child first arrives at the program, our academic team will review their testing scores to determine academic areas of growth where additional support may be needed. 

We will also work with your teen to build a personalized education plan which clarifies how we will accommodate and support his academic strengths and areas of concern. They will discuss the areas he would like to see growth in and his personal goals.

The classes that your son takes during their time at Red Mountain Colorado are determined by which credits he needs to graduate from school. We are extremely flexible in our class offerings thanks to our customized classroom structure. With the support of our in-person certified teacher and the variety of class offerings provided by Alta we are able to tailor each educational journey.

Students can also receive class credits from our outdoor adventure activities. Depending on your son’s strengths, he can take regular or honors classes in a variety of subjects. Students also have the option to take online classes from their home school or local community colleges.



College preparation is a lot to handle and our team helps guide your teens through the entire process. Our academic team, which is comprised of our Master’s-level Teacher and additional educational support staff, provides exceptional support from start to finish.

The academic team manages your teen’s education plan, reviews their progress, keeps their studies on track, and advises your teen on their college options. We also offer SAT/PSAT/ACT preparatory class time as well as providing the opportunity to take these tests during our students’ time at Red Mountain.

Our team is very dedicated to preparing our students and their families for the future. As such our staff is happy to help with College or Gap Year searches and aiding families in filling out forms such as the FAFSA. We also offer resume writing support and career search assistance, that does not end when the students time at Red Mountain ends.


Planning for the future is a great way for our students to take ownership of their future lives. That’s where The Greenwood System 45™ comes into play, we offer this optional assessment that helps students plan for their future and forge a path towards happiness and success. 

This assessment is helpful for students of all ages, but it’s especially beneficial to students who are getting ready to graduate and go off to college. When planning for a student’s discharge, this assessment can guide students towards a specific major or career path that is best suited for them. 

This detailed assessment, developed by  Dr. Janet Greenwood, is a questionnaire consisting of 800 data points that take into account the lifestyle an individual hopes to obtain, their priorities, family history, personality profile, and grit score. It’s an extremely thorough analysis that helps students build a better understanding of themselves and what career they may like to pursue. 

Accommodations for Executive Functioning Needs

Students who demonstrate difficulties with executive functioning are directly supported by a teacher working with that student to ensure that meaningful progress is made on a weekly basis. This is done by setting daily goals and individual instruction as needed to support those learning goals.  Students are able to see their progress weekly and most students are intrinsically motivated by their own success.

When students arrive at Red Mountain Colorado, we are able to quickly assess their executive functioning skills based on their ability to complete academic tasks and to sustain attention.  Students who demonstrate difficulties with this are supported with a “work tolerance” plan.  This means that the student is encouraged to make a goal and stay on task for a specified amount of time and then take a break. As the student gains independence, then he will be encouraged to work for longer periods of time without breaks.  As the student experiences success, they are more motivated to complete more academic tasks.


If your son has a 504 or IEP, we will follow all accommodations to the best of our ability. For example, if your son struggles with reading and learning online, we can use text to speech for his online classes so that he can hear all of the class materials. 

Students who are advanced learners and have taken AP classes are placed in honors classes. Supported by Alta, they can move quickly through classes and only take portions of classes needed to pass. For example, if they are well versed in Algebra II, they can skip through areas where they have already demonstrated proficiency. Some of our AP students can get through an entire class in a matter of a few hours!

Maintain Your Teen’s Education at Red Mountain Colorado

Your child’s education is important. While their health takes top priority, we also aim to ensure that your teen continues their academic studies. Our school program at Red Mountain Colorado will help prepare your teen for all that lies ahead once they’ve completed treatment.

To learn more about our academic program and discover what your teen’s education will look like during treatment, contact our expert team today.