If you or anyone you know needs of immediate help, please seek out your local substance abuse hotline. This article is meant to help answer some questions you might have about a recovery high school and is not intended to diagnose or treat substance-use disorder.
Recovery high schools are a great resource that is available all across the US to help students who need support on their recovery from substance use disorder and their completion of high school. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the most common questions that people might have about recovery schools.
What is a Recovery High School?
A recovery high school is a high school that is specifically designed for students recovering from things like substance use disorder or co-occurring disorders, such as depression or anxiety. These schools differ from traditional high schools in their structure. They tend to offer more freedom in terms of class schedules since many students in recovery find the standard high school schedule hard to manage while in recovery.
These schools are known for having excellent counseling services since this is what many of the school’s students need. Recovery high schools provide students in recovery space with the resources and support they will need to both recover and complete the state requirements for graduating from high school.
Recovery schools also give students an excellent tool for their peers. Many students who are suffering from a substance use disorder at a young age can feel isolated or alone. By attending a high school with other students who are going through a similar experience, these schools can build a sense of camaraderie and support amongst the students.
What are the Benefits of Going to Recovery High School?
There is no benefit of going to a recovery high school for every student. These schools are designed to fit the specific needs of students who are in recovery either from substance abuse disorder or some other co-occurring serious mental health concern.
For students who are in recovery and need the services that a recovery high school offers, there are many potential benefits from attending. A few of the most common benefits are listed below:
1. Recovering from substance use disorder or other co-occurring serious mental health concern
Since the goal of these schools is to help students recover, it is no wonder that this is one of the significant benefits of attending a recovery school. Recovery can mean different things for different students. It can be an immensely long road for some, so not every student who finishes the course of study at a recovery high school will be fully recovered. Still, the goal is to get them as close as possible to being fully recovered or able to manage their disorder in a safe and healthy manner.
2. Receiving a high school diploma or equivalent certification
Receiving either a high school diploma or a GED (high school equivalency test) can be super helpful for individuals out of live-in recovery and seeking a stable job. Having a good job is an excellent way for recovering individuals to adapt to life outside of a recovery center or recovery school and having a diploma gives you a leg-up over others.
Getting your high school diploma can also give you a sense of achievement and success. This feeling can be beneficial in the recovery process. Since working towards the goal of recovery can sometimes seem unachievable, it is often helpful to have a more tangible, shorter-term plan for students to focus on, which can help their recovery process.
3. Ability to fit together education and recovery
It can often be challenging for students in recovery to balance the demanding schedule of a traditional high school with the demanding schedule of recovery, and one of them often falls through the cracks. Building the two into a system that works together gives students an opportunity to pursue both simultaneously and not let either one of these crucial things fall to the wayside.
This allows students who are in recovery to not feel the need to prioritize and give up on either their education or their recovery. Being able to both take care of their needs, recovery, and something rewarding, their education, can be beneficial for their mental health. It can also create a routine and keep them busy, both of which can be helpful in the recovery process.
What are the Differences Between Traditional and Recovery Schools?
The main differences between traditional high schools and recovery high schools come in the curriculum and the services offered. Although there are other differences, such as the extracurricular activities offered, the curriculum and services offered are the most notable differences.
While curriculum might seem like something that should be the same across every high school, most states allow for some differentiation amongst schools. Recovery high schools, just like traditional high schools, are required to meet their state’s high school graduation requirements, but beyond these basic requirements, schools are able to create their own curriculum.
One of the benefits of a recovery school is that its curriculum is designed specifically for students who are in recovery. This means that it takes their needs at different stages of recovery into account. This also allows students to take their time to graduate and really put thought into melding together their education and their recovery, as both are processes that will take time.
A less notable difference between the schools can be found in the extracurriculars or activities offered outside of the classroom. Recovery high schools aim to keep their students in a busy and structured environment, so having a complete offering of extracurriculars is a must. While some traditional high schools have a large number of extracurriculars, not all do.
Another difference that is worth discussing is the difference between recovery schools and therapeutic boarding schools. While a therapeutic school might offer many of the same programs and coupling options as a recovery school, they are not focused on substance-use disorder but are instead more focused on the recovery from general mental health conditions.
What States Have Recovery High Schools?
Although more states are starting to offer recovery high schools, a handful of states are known for their large numbers of recovery high schools. Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas, and California have large amounts of remarkable recovery high schools, but that doesn’t mean that other states don’t have any.
Since most recovery schools are at least partially boarding or sleep-away, states with more space tend to be the states that have these services. Many western states have a handful of recovery schools that also serve to connect their students with the natural world around them to aid in the students’ healing process.
More and more states are adding recovery high schools, so it might still have a recovery school if your state wasn’t mentioned above. As we as a society understand more and more about the specific needs of teens and young adults in recovery from substance use disorder, we are able to do more to help them. This has led to the creation of more and more recovery high schools all across the country.
Are Recovery Schools Effective?
Although not all recovery schools are as effective as the next school, a well-managed and well-run recovery high school can have tremendous benefits for the students. The two primary goals of a recovery high school are to help students graduate from high school and to help students manage their recovery.
Since graduating from high school can be challenging enough without adding substance-use disorder, there tend to be meager graduation rates and even lower continuing education rates post-high school for students in the traditional school system who suffer from substance use disorder. Students at recovery schools not only are much more likely to graduate but are way more likely than their counterparts in traditional high schools to continue on and pursue secondary education of one type or another.
Obviously, the main goal of recovery high schools is the aid in the students’ recovery, and they do a great job at it. Studies have found that students who graduate from recovery high schools are less likely to relapse after recovery than their peers who attend traditional high school programs.
Wrapping Things Up: What is a Recovery High School?
If you think that you or someone you know would benefit from attending a recovery school, don’t be ashamed to look into schools that are near you. The benefits from attending a recovery school can be immense and long-lasting, so to put yourself on the right track, consider investing in your future.