At Aspire Academy, students in grades 9-12 who have the diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder are supported in their transition to recovery and sustained sobriety as they work toward academic achievement.
Using the recovery-based educational model, Western Suffolk BOCES partners with OUTREACH, a leading regional counseling agency, to provide Regents-level academic instruction in a comprehensive program with embedded clinical supports. Aspire Academy aims to help students grow through their recovery as they work toward graduation along with their peers. The holistic approach of Aspire Academy asks students to be accountable to themselves, to set goals and to find effective, healthy ways to meet those goals. As part of a community of commonality and understanding, students in recovery recognize that they are not alone in their journey and take comfort, strength and inspiration from those who are traveling alongside them.
To provide additional support, an extended school day is provided four days a week through a state grant, which focuses on healthy, pro-social lifestyle choices and activities in conjunction with ongoing therapeutic supports.
For teens who are in recovery, traditional high schools present challenges that can often impede their recovery process. For some, returning to their home high school immediately after a relapse threatens recovery because the same patterns and the same people can invite the same behavior. A Vanderbilt University study found that students in recovery schools were much less likely to relapse than those in regular high schools. The recovery high school students in the study also reported less frequent absences for the recovery student cohort.
Active recovery is mandatory for students in this program. Relapsing Aspire Academy students are provided with the referrals and support they need to return to their recovery, but they are not permitted to attend school if substance use is discovered.
Eligibility and Enrollment:
Students are referred to Aspire Academy by their home school district. To be eligible, students must have a Substance Use Disorder diagnosis and/or Co-Occurring Disorder; have achieved pre-established sobriety; be willing to maintain recovery and remain drug- and alcohol-free while enrolled; commit to attend school daily; and participate in recovery support services. Once a referral is made, Aspire Academy will review the application and evaluate the placement. Final decisions regarding student enrollment are made by Aspire Academy.
The full-day secondary program offers a New York State High School curriculum with Regents Diploma. Differentiated instruction will be provided to meet the needs of all students, including students with an IEP. The instructional model is similar to a traditional high school, with a daily schedule of courses required for a Regents Diploma.
Through the state grant, clinical supports are embedded in the secondary high school schedule. Those supports include: immersive individual and group therapy provided by Outreach clinicians, individualized recovery plans, parent/family support and training, collaboration/coordination with outside providers, and an on-site consulting child and adolescent psychiatrist. At the end of the academic day, there are supports that focus on recovery.
Extended School Year:
Through the state grant, Aspire Academy also offers a six-week, non-academic Extended School Year component that provides students with clinical supports to sustain their recovery, although no academic programs are offered within it.
Tuition for educational services is the responsibility of the sending school district.
Transportation to Aspire Academy is provided from the student’s home district.
Aspire Academy Recovery High School Program
550 Mount Avenue, North Babylon, NY 11704
Principal: Mark Brunza