The State of Recovery High Schools, 2016 Biennial Report, Association of Recovery Schools (2016)

The 2016 State of Recovery High Schools report is the first in a series of intended biennial publications from the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS). These reports aim to prepare and inspire starters and operators of recovery high schools to perform at their very best and directly contribute to the expanding body of principles, disciplines and tools that set the gold standard for educating and supporting students in recovery. In addition, each report presents the current landscape for recovery schools in the United States and highlights the latest research being undertaken by ARS to strengthen the expertise, resources and data-driven best practices that the organization looks to extend to recovery high schools through training, consulting and accreditation services. Overall, the State of Recovery High Schools is intended for those who advocate for the educational inclusion of youth recovery.

This report offers a refresh of the foundational 2013 Market Study for Recovery High Schools which was originally funded by The Stacie Mathewson Foundation. The 2013 Market Study, for the first time, presented the landscape of recovery high schools in the U.S. and offered a set of indicators for assessing state and community conditions that could promote or hinder the future expansion of this type of school-based recovery support. A refreshed look at the landscape for recovery schools in the U.S. is presented in Section 1 of this report.

The initial work presented within the 2013 Market Study remains an important reference for ARS and those leading or starting recovery schools across the nation. Specifically, the study provided a construct for defining the operating characteristics for recovery schools to guide the completion of the Standards for Accreditation of Recovery High Schools. The operating characteristics are presented once again in Section 2 of this report and the current accreditation standards have been included in Section 4.

In August of 2015, the Association’s leadership identified the need to re-examine the set of indicators, originally presented in the Market Study, for identifying state regulatory and policy environments that might be favorable to the initiation and expansion of recovery schools. The presented state-by-state favorability analysis was an activity that the leadership wanted to continue, however, there was an expressed need to ratify the set of indicators to best inform advocacy efforts and provide guidance for consultation to those looking to initiate or expand recovery schools.

Section 3 of the 2016 State of Recovery High Schools provides a refined set of indicators that can point to the conditions that are contributing to successful initiation and sustainability of recovery high schools in the U.S. While maintaining a view of these conditions and indicators by state for reference, emphasis has been placed on defining practices for using the indicators for evaluation and planning purposes. The goal is to provide the Association with a tool that can be used to help guide individuals and groups that are looking to initiate or expand upon school-based recovery support services in their local communities.

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