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July 10, 2006




SPRINGFIELD– Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced a recovery high school will open for students who are recovering from substance use disorders in Springfield. The new high school will help approximately 50 students in grades 9 through 12 who want to complete their education in a drug free environment.


“When the Springfield recovery high schools open its doors, kids in Western Massachusetts will have the opportunity to pursue an education in a drug-free environment,” said Healey. “Providing this alternative helps young people avoid the social pressures that often lead to relapse and provides a new path to help them lead a successful and sober life.”


Springfield public school system was awarded $2.75 million from the state over the next five years, including $750,000 the first year to pay for start-up costs and $500,000 in subsequent years. The school will require that at least two-thirds of the student body come directly from the Springfield area to help address the needs of the community.


“We are quite excited and extremely pleased that the Springfield Public Schools were selected as the grant recipient for the new recovery school in Western Massachusetts,” said Springfield Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Burke. “This is a much needed service for many of the high school students in our region and we are grateful for the opportunity to assist these young people in their recovery and provide a high quality educational program leading to both proficiency and graduation.”


The Springfield sobriety school will be one of the nation’s first recovery schools to develop a two-tiered structure where students, who may not have been able to benefit from a traditional substance abuse treatment program, will participate in an intensive three-week program. The other half of the school day will focus on classroom education.


Once students demonstrate progress in both their school work and recovery, they will transition into a regular school day with one class period set aside for treatment and counseling. Teachers at recovery high schools must meet all education standards set by the Department of Education, including course requirements and MCAS testing.


The Springfield school is expected to open this fall and officials are planning an outreach effort to help identify candidates for admission, including both residential and outpatient adolescent treatment providers, public schools, juvenile courts as well as the Department of Youth Services and the Department of Social Services.


The Commonwealth’s first recovery high school, located in Beverly, was announced in April and will open this fall. Plans are currently underway for the development of an additional school in Boston.





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