Written by Marty Matheson, Executive Director
Dear Parents/Guardians of ScenicView Academy Students,
I am pleased to greet you through this letter, and hope this finds you doing well. There are many exciting things going on at ScenicView Academy (SVA), and I want to share some of them with you. First off, many of you are aware that Doug Gale retired June 1, 2015. He served SVA very well as our Executive Director for 14 years. He still continues to serve us as he was appointed on our Board of Trustees. Prior to my appointment as the Executive Director, I was at SVA for 7 years as the Clinical Services Unit Manager. I am excited to serve you in this new capacity.
Change in Class Calendar
SVA is always looking for ways to improve our programming. We have spent the past year gathering a lot of data and feedback from a variety of sources and are excited about the following structural change. Starting January 4, 2016, we will go from 4 terms a year to 3 terms a year. This will be similar to most universities’ semester schedules where we will have 17 weeks in a term rather than 11 weeks. We believe there are many advantages to this change. Some of them are: it will align us more closely with the schedules of the universities that are in Utah Valley where some of our students attend classes, it will allow more in-depth opportunities to focus on class topics and lessons, and it will allow for more flexibility for the classes to focus on the students’ needs. You may view our 2016 calendar on our website: www.svacademy.org
Change in Rent for Residential StudentsBeginning in 2016, we will be increasing the residential student fee by $10 a month. This fee will be covered by income the student earns with their employment, so it will not result in an increase in what is billed parents. The purpose of this increase is so this money can be set aside for the student to have for cleaning fees upon moving out of SVA housing, and so that the student will have sufficient funds for moving into housing outside of SVA (deposit, first and last month’s rent). So whenever a student moves out of SVA housing, funds not needed for cleaning fees will be given to the student so they have funds to move into a new location. For a number of our students who have wanted to move out, having sufficient funds has been a challenge. We hope this adjustment will help this process flow more smoothly and timely for the students.
Parent InvolvementDuring this past year we have identified 8 empowerment statements that are being incorporated in our activities and programming. One of them is “We all need each other.” We believe this is an important aspect for our students to believe in and apply in life. We also believe this includes you, the parents and family members. We need you! Some of you have been actively involved with SVA programming in a number of ways over the years, such as with our annual Family Day (Friday, May 6, 2016), offering to help out with our fundraising Gala, and through other endeavors. For the past several years, we have had two parents who have served on our Advisory Council. All of these services have provided us with invaluable feedback and great assistance to our organization. We have had discussions with some of you about the idea of forming a Parent Association connected to SVA. This could provide a way for you to communicate and receive support among parents. This could also help facilitate volunteer service provided by all parents/guardians of a SVA student to help us fulfill our mission. We need assistance with fundraising, family events and trainings, and with our upcoming Shakespeare performances in June 2016 of “Romeo and Juliet”. We are asking all students, staff, and hopefully many parents to be involved in some way with this production. We are aware of other schools similar to us in which all parents are involved in some way, and the results are invaluable to the school and the students. It is our hope that all parents and families of SVA students are involved in some way. We are open to your ideas on how to proceed. You are welcome to share any ideas with your student’s coach at SVA. We will also be sending out a survey to inquire about areas you may be interested in serving.
Opportunity to DonateAs you are aware, SVA receives no funding or payment from government sources or insurance. We rely on contributions and student tuition. We conduct fundraisers throughout the year to provide scholarships for students whose families are unable to pay the full tuition amount. We invite you to consider making a contribution to SVA. We would be grateful if you would also share this invitation with other individuals and organizations you know who may be looking to make a charitable contribution to a worthwhile organization. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and donations to SVA are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. We accept donations by phone, mail, or via our website. Thank you for your consideration. Please refer to the enclosed donation form.
ConclusionIn 2016, SVA will be celebrating 15 years as an organization! We are excited with our growth as an academy and how we continue to grow. In the past year, we have received numerous recognitions on a local, state, and national basis. Several schools throughout the country and national organizations are recognizing our work. We invite you to spend some time on our website which has many new aspects to it, including an updated logo, and a video with drone footage of our campus with a narrative by a parent of one of our students.
We value and appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your family member who is a student here at SVA. We are grateful for the trust you place in us as staff to serve them and you. We take very seriously our mission to Empower Lives of Independence. Our teams are eager to help and work with you as we all strive to empower the students. If you have feedback for our teams, please share it with them so we can be sure we are communicating and working together in the most positive manner to assist you and your family member.
Marty Matheson, Executive Director & ScenicView Academy Staff