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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Proposed Regulations on Recovery High Schools - 603 CMR 54.00
To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
November 18, 2016

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I am presenting proposed regulations on Recovery High Schools, 603 CMR 54.00, to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education this month for your initial review and a vote to solicit public comment. The Recovery High School statute, G.L. c. 71, § 91 authorizes the Board to promulgate regulations as needed, in consultation with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health. These proposed regulations clarify requirements for admission, enrollment, and educational programming, including special education, in Recovery High Schools. With the Board's approval, we will solicit public comment on the proposed regulations and then bring the regulations back to the Board in February 2017 for final adoption.

Background on Recovery High Schools

Recovery High Schools are programs that provide a structured plan of recovery for students diagnosed with substance use disorder or dependency, along with a comprehensive four-year high school education. Recovery High Schools are not autonomous schools or school districts; they are public programs operated by a school district or an education collaborative. Recovery High Schools are educational options for students seeking support for recovery from addiction, combined with a comprehensive high school education.

Recovery High Schools were initially established in Massachusetts in 2006 through a grant program administered by the Department of Public Health. The Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services is closely involved with these programs and has fiscal oversight for the Recovery High School funding line item, 4512-0211.

In 2009, G.L. c. 71, § 91 was enacted to clarify several issues relating to these programs, including data reporting and fiscal responsibility. Under G.L. c. 71, § 91, Recovery High Schools receive the state average foundation budget per pupil for enrolled students from the students' districts of residence.

There are currently five Recovery High Schools in Massachusetts that have served up to 100 students total in each of the past several years:

  • William J. Ostiguy High School opened in September 2006 in downtown Boston, and is operated in partnership with the Boston Public Schools.
  • Northshore Recovery High School opened in September 2007 in Beverly, and is operated by Northshore Education Consortium.
  • Liberty Preparatory opened in September 2007 in Springfield, and is operated in partnership with the Springfield Public Schools.
  • Independence Academy opened in September 2012 in Brockton, and is operated in partnership with North River Collaborative.
  • Rockdale Recovery High School opened in September 2015 in Worcester, and is operated by Central Massachusetts Special Education Collaborative.

In drafting the proposed regulations, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) has worked with the Executive Office of Education, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health, the five existing Recovery High Schools (referenced above), and leadership from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

Next steps

With the Board's approval, the Department will solicit public comment on the proposed regulations. I expect to bring them back to the Board in February 2017 for final adoption. The Department also plans to issue guidance about special education services for students with disabilities who are attending Recovery High Schools, including the roles of the district of residence and the Recovery High School in implementing the services described in students' Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs).

Attached are the Recovery High School statute, the proposed regulations, and a motion to solicit public comment on the proposed regulations. Staff from the Department's Center for Educational Options, Center for District Support, and Legal Office will be available at the November 29 meeting to answer your questions.

Enclosures:

View External Link
Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 91
Download Word Document
Proposed Recovery High School Regulations, 603 CMR 54.00
 
Motion to Solicit Public Comment on Proposed Regulations


Last Updated: November 23, 2016
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