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Jerry’s Notes: In the Beginning… Back to Blog Articles

  • Posted on Apr 27, 2012

The Knightly Knews always likes to look at Woodward Academy history in order to step back and respect where we have come from.  The following article of Jerry’s Notes was original published in Volume 21 of the Knightly Knews.  If you didn’t have a chance to see it, click here and download a .pdf version of it.

Jerry’s Notes are intended to pass along some WA history and observations of life on campus.  To bring you up to speed, Jerry Anderson is an original employee of Woodward Academy and has held several positions including that of business manager.  He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Woodward Youth Corporation and had the second education center named in his honor.

Read more after the jump.

The following is from Jerry’s Notes:

In 1995, the Woodward Academy was opened as an all-male residential treatment facility for boys ages 12-18.  The facility was created in response to legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature calling for the establishment of rehabilitation programs for troubled youth.  Originally one building, Linden Court D was leased from the Woodward Resource Center and renovation began to provide two 24-bed dormitories.


On July 3rd, 1995, the first group of 13 staff members assembled for training and preparing the first floor, Linden Court D-1, for the original students.  The first cohort of students arrived on Monday, July 10th, 1995.  It consisted of four boys.  They were placed in the Highly Structured Program, commonly referred to as “Boot Camp.”


When the boys settled into their new temporary home, we were all anxious to get the program moving.  Nothing like this had ever been attempted in the state of Iowa.  We were not sure of what to expect.  It didn’t take too long until a daily routine was established and in August of 1995, the second cohort of 8 boys arrived and the following month, 12 more boys were admitted.  The boot camp was full!


On an early October weekend, and a beautiful day, the first graduation exercise was held outdoors in Cheese Park.  The first boot camp cohort survived!  The class “valedictorian” was Jake B. and today Jake is a husband, father and successful licensed chiropractor.


About that same time in September, Triumph Hall was opened for the Community Residential Treatment program.  This program quickly filled their beds and by year’s end, the Academy had 48 students.  We began leasing more of the Linden Court building and renovated C-1 and C-2 for dormitories.

Linden Court C-1 was used for the Developmentally Disabled program starting in January 1996.  Later that year, C-2 was filled with the first students of the SO program.


In one year, Woodward Academy was off and running.  It was a whirlwind start, with ups and downs, but we succeeded in the end.  The Academy had 96 beds available for four programs.  In those days, our intentions were to maintain that capacity.  Little did we know what lay in the future.


As it turned out, the boys and staff adapted to the new adventure.   Things always seemed to work out.    

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