LAKE OSWEGO — Oregon recently celebrated the state’s first recovery high school, Harmony Academy. A public charter school in the Lake Oswego School District, Harmony Academy allows adolescents in recovery to learn in a supportive environment alongside classmates, mentors and educators with lived experience.
Harmony Academy was made possible in part with the help of more than $400,000 in grant funding from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The school is available to any high school student with substance use disorder in the Portland tri-county area. The Oregon Recovery High School Initiative aims to expand so that teens in other parts of the state can access these supports.
“We know that addiction is not a moral failing,” said Harmony Academy co-founder and chair, Tony Mann. “It’s a chronic condition of the brain, for which there is a solution. Harmony Academy is that kind of solution for adolescents.”
Recovery high schools first started in Houston, Texas. The successful model is now operating in a handful of states across the country. Research has shown that youth who have received substance use disorder treatment and enrolled in a recovery high school are more likely to graduate and more likely to maintain recovery than their peers who returned to their community high schools.
“With this first of a kind recovery school, young Oregonians in the metropolitan area have a safe environment to work on their recovery while also being successful at school,” OHA director Patrick Allen said. “OHA is excited to be able to be a part of this effort.”