Academy at Ivy Ridge

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Academy at Ivy Ridge
School type private
Affiliation World Wide Association of Specialty Programs

Academy at Ivy Ridge was an independent privately owned and operated for-profit disciplinary boarding school in Ogdensburg, New York.[1]

Ownership and affiliation[edit]

The institution was owned by the business partnership of the Jason G. Finlinson Corporation and the Joseph and Alyn Mitchell Corporation.[2] The property on which the school stood was purchased in 2001 by Robert Browning Lichfield Family Limited of Toquerville, Utah,[3] and the school opened later that year in affiliation with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS). In 2003 the New York Times reported that the school's director had previously been an administrator at Casa by the Sea.[4] In January 2006, Ivy Ridge announced that it had withdrawn from WWASPS in November 2005 because of the negative media attention that WWASPS was receiving.[5] However, the Teen Help subsidiary of WWASPS still conducted marketing for the school as of March 2007.[6]


Academy at Ivy Ridge sits on 237 acres (0.96 km2) of land located close to the St. Lawrence River. The facility, the former home of Mater Dei College,[7] has over 200,000 square feet (20,000 m2) of building space which houses classrooms, dorms, recreational areas, computer centers, science labs, food services, and offices. School promotional materials state that the facility boasts cross-country ski trails, nature trails, tennis courts, basketball courts, sand volleyball area, baseball, football and soccer fields, all located within a wooded setting.


The institution began admitting students in 2001. As of spring 2005 there were 460 students enrolled.[2]

In March 2009 it was announced that Ivy Ridge would close until fall 2009 in order to restructure. There were about 60 students enrolled at that time; they were to be sent home or transferred to similar boarding schools.[7] In April 2009, the campus was sold to a Delaware corporation, a spokesperson for the purchaser told news media that the school would not reopen.[3]

Legal status as a school[edit]

On August 17, 2005, Ivy Ridge was ordered to pay civil penalties of $250,000 to the New York State Attorney General, stop issuing unauthorized high school diplomas, and refrain from advertising that it is an accredited school. In addition, it was required to make partial refunds to former students.[8] On December 1, 2006, the New York State Department of Education denied Ivy Ridge's application for authorization to issue high school diplomas. The department's letter to Ivy Ridge stated that the institution had been determined to be principally a behavior modification program, not a school.[9] Following this ruling, the school's enrollment dropped from about 500 to less than 100 students.[7]

In connection with the incident, the Idaho-based Northwest Association of Accredited Schools, which had accredited Ivy Ridge, was criticized for accrediting a school outside of its service area and for violating its own procedures by not requiring a state license as a prerequisite to accreditation.[10]

In April 2009 a judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit related to the diploma issue.[11]


  1. ^ Semple, Kirk (June 8, 2005). "Melee Keeps Spotlight on Hard Life at Academy". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b In the Matter of the Academy at Ivy Ridge, Assurance of Discontinuance Pursuant to Executive Law Section 63, Subdivision 15, Attorney General of the State of New York, Watertown Office, August 17, 2005
  3. ^ a b Ivy Ridge, home sold for $2.8m, Watertown Daily Times, April 25, 2009
  4. ^ Tim Weiner, Parents, Shopping for Discipline, Turn to Harsh Programs Abroad, The New York Times, May 9, 2003
  5. ^ Academy at Ivy Ridge Withdraws From World Wide Association of Specialty Programs & Schools, PRNewsWire
  6. ^ Teen Help Specialty Boarding Schools website (accessed March 1, 2007)
  7. ^ a b c Director: Ivy Ridge to close until fall, by Max R. Mitchell, Watertown Daily Times, March 12, 2009
  8. ^ See In the Matter of the Academy at Ivy Ridge, Assurance of Discontinuance Pursuant to Executive Law Section 63, Subdivision 15, Attorney General of the State of New York, Watertown Office, August 17, 2005, and School for Troubled Youth to Issue Tuition Refunds, Office of the State Attorney General, press release, Albany, NY, August 18, 2005.
  9. ^ Ivy Ridge Academy accreditation rejected, News Watch 50 WWTI TV
  10. ^ Boise accreditation firm questioned by Ami Joi Bryson, Deseret Morning News, April 27, 2005.
  11. ^ Judge refuses to toss suit filed in 2006, Watertown Daily Times, April 25, 2009

Coordinates: 44°38′15″N 75°34′8″W / 44.63750°N 75.56889°W / 44.63750; -75.56889

External links[edit]