ARS/ARHE Conference 2017
In July of 2017, Founder & President Mary Ferreri, Treasurer Jennifer Sabatino, Secretary Betsy Ragone, and Board Member Dakeita Leak attended the annual ARS Conference at George Washington University. Our first interaction was with Sasha McLean- LMFT, LPC, Board Chair of ARS, and Executive Director of Archway Academy. We had been on many phone conferences prior, but meeting her face to face was a moment we will always treasure. With open arms, she welcomed us, thanked us, and continued to spread her joy and efforts of hope in recovery high schools with us. Her keynote was absolutely inspiring, and we took away the challenges and successes that come with starting and sustaining a recovery high school.
We received great tips to strengthen our board from Andrew Burki, MSW of Life of Purpose Treatment. We learned a lot more about the business end of starting a recovery high school and all that must happen to sustain one.
We heard from Andy Finch, Ph.D, Association of Recovery Schools Senior Advisor, Vanderbilt University who shared the benefits of recovery high schools in the studies he has done and the data behind the efforts of recovery high schools. He specifically shared how the relapse rate is less when a student attends a recovery high school post-treatment as compared to entering the student back into their private or public school setting. There was also a positive correlation between attending recovery high schools and school attendance.
We then had a chance to hear from the executive directors of many recovery high schools across the country, and the information was GOLDEN. They shared with us their startup plans, the challenges they faced last year, how they plan to change some things that did not work, staffing strategies, curriculum, teacher to student ratios, recovery support, essentials in day-to-day operations, and getting a community involved in the mission.
We ended our trip with great connections from around the country, from startups to well established recovery schools, and a new family that we can pick up the phone and call with any question. The recovery community is very eager and willing to help make this happen, which continues to drive our mission.