Feeling like you belong is an essential part of recovering from substance use disorders --especially for teens. That’s why community is the heart of our program. Here are some of the ways we build it.
Spending a lot of time together. Our school is small, so it’s easy to get to know everyone, and as a year-round school, we are together a lot!
Intentionally developing community skills. We have daily and weekly staff-facilitated events to nurture an emotionally safe environment. Sounds like group therapy? Maybe a little, but it’s also how we learn to work as a learning recovery community.
Students learn they can build their own fun, and that life without drinking or getting high can be rewarding and full of laughter! We help students plan their own creative social activities. Through these activities students learn they can build their own fun, and they overcome their fear that life without drinking or getting high is going to be dull.
Cheering each other on. Recovery is a family affair, so each month we host a community dinner to celebrate achievements, laugh together, and support each other in our journey.
The best way to secure long-term abstinence is to teach students to articulate their thoughts and emotions, which re-trains their brains to reason instead of react. Specifically we teach students to:
- Identify and name their emotions.
- Use a systematic process to think through what they are experiencing.
- Contemplate their behavior and describe how it relates to their emotions.
- Share struggles and discuss recovery strategies that work.
- Identify solutions and take ownership and action.
Specific ways we support recovery include developing a personalized blueprint for recovery, reflecting daily on recovery, meeting weekly with a recovery coach, planning for down time on the weekends, and celebrating progress at our monthly community dinners.
We understand teenage students need to feel emotionally safe within a community of peers and systematically learn to articulate their thoughts and feelings. Once they have these two components, recovery and abstinence are more likely. As a student’s substance-free brain slowly heals itself, education can finally take place. We understand students in recovery have unique mental, emotional, and physical limits--particularly in early recovery. We support them by pacing their re-entry appropriately.
Our mission is to help each student graduate with a South Carolina High School diploma, the academic standing they need to follow their post-graduation dreams, and the skills and relationships they need to live a substance-free life.
Our school year runs September to August with two 12-week sessions and a 9-week summer session alternating with three 5-week sessions. The 12- and 9-week sessions focus on core subjects (math, English, science, social studies). These classes are taught using a combination of online learning and certified in-class tutors.
The 5-week sessions cover elective content and are taught with in-class instructors.
Students need 24 credits to obtain a South Carolina High School Diploma. Traditional high school schedules help students get 6-8 credits per year. With our year-round approach, students can earn as many 13 credits per year.
Our school week runs Monday to Thursday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The specifics of each day vary depending upon the session, but here is a basic schedule of a typical day at Hope Academy.
A Typical Day at Hope Academy
|9-9:30||Morning Check in|
Students complete a form to track their progress and identify patterns of emotions and triggers and discuss with others as appropriate
|10:30-12:00||Math/Science Virtual Classes with academic support|
|12:15-1:30||Recovery Strategies and Lunch
Students and staff bring lunches and eat together followed by creative and engaging activities related to strengthening recovery.
|1:30-3||English/Social Studies Virtual Classes with academic support|
This time will be used in various ways depending on the day of the week to accomplish group and individual goals, including:
|3:45-4||End of Day Circle|
Every day we practice recovery skills and strategies. Sometimes in formal, intentional settings but also in the natural rhythms of the school day. Specific ways we promote recovery include offering students opportunities to:
- Develop a personalized on-going recovery plan that includes out-of-school support like 12 step meetings, therapy, youth group, etc.
- Reflect daily on their individual recovery and periodically sharing their recovery in group settings.
- Meet individually with a recovery coach at a set time weekly, and at additional times as needed.
- Plan their weekends to practice recovery strategies and learn to enjoy their lives without the use of substances.
- Prevent and handle relapse issues.
- Learn from teachers, administrators, mentors and volunteers who share their own experiences and hope in recovery, as appropriate.
- Celebrate recovery progress and abstinence during the monthly community dinner.