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Action for Boston Community Development Collaborating Partners: 1. Boston Public Schools 2. Gavin Foundation. MISSION.

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Action for Boston Community DevelopmentCollaborating Partners: 1. Boston Public Schools 2. Gavin Foundation


To reduce the high rates of relapse associated with teens in recovery by providing a safe, sober and supportive school environment where students and their recovery efforts are understood, valued and fostered as they work towards earning their high school diploma.

Contact Us:

Phone - 617-348-6070

E-mail -

Internet - www.

  • Meet DOE licensure requirements and have secondary school experience
  • Knowledge of recovery process
  • Staff composition includes:
    • Principal
    • 4 certified teachers to maintain ratio of 15:1 and meet curriculum needs
    • Counselor/social worker (LADC, LICSW)
    • Guidance counselor
    • Intake Coordinator
the recovery high school conceptual framework
The Recovery High School Conceptual Framework

1. Academic Competency

2. Recovery Support

3. Family Support

4. Comprehensive Care Management

5. Youth Development

6. After-Care

1 academic competency
1. Academic Competency
  • Curriculum in alignment with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
  • Small classroom sizes (approximate 15:1 student/teacher ratio) and individualized attention
  • Highly qualified teaching staff certified by the Massachusetts Department of Education
  • MCASand SAT preparation
  • Weekly student meetings with advisor to review academic progress
  • Online grading system accessible to student and parents to monitor both academic progress and assignments
  • Progress reports and report cards completed in accordance with Boston Public School calendar.
2 recovery support
2. Recovery Support
  • Individual counseling services provided by licensed school Recovery Counselor
  • Group meetings where students have the opportunity to process issues related to their recovery and receive information helpful to their sobriety.
  • Regular peer-to-peer support opportunities
  • Individualized recovery plans that support and document students’ recovery based activities
  • Student alumnae group that provides additional peer focused support for Ostiguy students
3 family support
3. Family Support
  • Parents/Guardians are included in the intake/enrollment process culminating in an orientation conducted by Ostiguy staff on their child’s first day of school.
  • Parents attend monthly meetings at the school where they receive school updates and receive trainings on various adolescent addiction related topics
  • Parents conduct their own monthly Families Anonymous meeting
  • Parents have daily access to their students assignments and grades through “My Gradebook” system used by school
  • Parents have daily access to all Ostiguy administrative, counseling, and teaching staff
4 comprehensive care management
4. Comprehensive Care Management
  • Students work with both School Counselor and Recovery Counselor from first point of contact to post graduate follow up.
  • Students develop both an individual school and recovery plan during the intake process that are reviewed/updated monthly.
  • School Counselor conducts a weekly Senior Seminar to prepare students to achieve their post-graduate goals.
  • Recovery Counselor conducts weekly groups focused on addiction/recovery based topics.
  • Counselors connect students to year round employment opportunities connected to their career goals and classroom experiences through ABCDs Summerworks and career exploration programs.
  • Counselors meet with a licensed social worker (LICSW) weekly to review students dealing with social emotional and/or mental health issues.

5. Youth DevelopmentThe process through which adolescents acquire the cognitive, social, and emotional skills and abilities required to navigate life.In addition to the traditional academic and counseling services provided to the students, Ostiguy High promotes the development of our students in the following ways:

  • Students participate in weekly lifeskills class conducted through collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission and Unified Student Services.
  • Students participate in a variety of activities focused on helping them develop hobbies and interests that will support their recovery. These activities include an after school rowing club, yoga, improvisational drama, and art.
  • Students participate in after school paid career exploration activities and summer employment activities to help them identify and make progress towards achieving their career goals.
  • Students identify and participate in community service opportunities through student council.
6 after care
6. After-Care
  • Routine Follow-up by school and recovery counselor after graduation
  • Post-graduate resource Linkage for post-secondary, vocational, and addiction related needs
  • Student peer support through alumnae association
outreach and identification
Outreach and Identification
  • The schools utilize several referral sourcesto identify appropriate candidates for admission including, but not limited to:
    • Adolescent Residential treatment providers
    • Adolescent outpatient treatment providers
    • Boston Public Schools
    • Department of Youth Services and vendors.
    • Department of Social Services and vendors.
    • Juvenile Courts
    • Other area school systems
    • Parents
    • Students
  • Prior to admission the schools seek recommendations from the student’s home school principal, administrator or counselor, or treatment provider and students must complete an in-person interview
student eligibility
Student Eligibility

Students must:

  • be committed to an individual program of recovery
  • develop a recovery plan which includes authorization of

random drug testing

  • have a parent and/or guardian who is willing to be actively

involved in the program

  • have 30 days of sobriety upon admission

While a student needs 30 days of sobriety to start classes, the intake process starts when an individual can express a motivation to obtain and maintain their sobriety.

intake process
Intake Process

In order for a individual to be successful at OHS they have to establish their readiness and motivation in three areas: 1. Education 2. Recovery 3. Mental Health.

Ostiguy High staff determine an individuals status in these areas through a three part intake process:

1. Open House – Any individual, family member or provider who is interested in learning more about the school and meeting staff and students.

2. Interviews – Meeting with School and Recovery Counselor to review student history and assess readiness/motivation to enroll at Ostiguy High. Upon completions of the interviews a student’s in the areas of education, recovery, and mental health are reviewed

3. Orientation – Review of all policies and procedures with parents/guardian on the first day of enrollment.

william j ostiguy high school 07 08 student characteristics
William J. Ostiguy High School 07-08 Student Characteristics

Enrollment – 39 students

  • 38% of students have an IEP (primarily emotional/behavioral)
  • 54% of students are on probation
  • 51% of students are prescribed psychiatric medications
  • 25% of students are DSS involved
  • 14 % of students are currently living in residential treatment facilities
  • 95% of the students are classified as polysubstance users
student status 07 08
Student Status 07-08

Total: 39

Graduated from Ostiguy: 8

Advanced to next Grade Level/Returning to Ostiguy: 13

Still enrolled but did not advance a grade level: 4

Advanced to next Grade Level/Returning to home school: 6

No longer enrolled/pursuing GED: 3

No longer enrolled/terminated for violation of school policy: 5

case example
Case Example
  • This student has been in custody of DSS since he was eight years old. He has moved over ten times in his eighteen years of life. He is currently in a residential living program (DSS).
  • He started smoking marijuana at the age 11 and self reported that he had smoked marijuana “every day” for the past seven years.
  • He was referred to Ostiguy High by his school counselor from a Boston Public High School. He had expressed to his guidance counselor a desire to stop smoking so that he could gain employment in the hospitality industry. He had been offered a job, but was subsequently terminated for a positive drug test.
case example1
Case Example
  • Student attended school open house and self-reported he was still actively smoking and had never received any treatment or counseling for his marijuana addiction. He did express the willingness to seek out counseling as part of the enrollment process.
  • Through our connection with the Dimock Health Center the young man was enrolled in a 30 day outpatient treatment program for his marijuana addiction. During this period he took weekly drug tests and continued attending his assigned Boston Public School.
  • After completing his outpatient treatment program and achieving his 30 days of sobriety the young man in coordination with his Boston Public School Guidance Counselor transferred to Ostiguy High.
  • The young man has maintained his sobriety and thrived academically. He has acquired an aftershcool job through the ABCD Career Explorations program and reports that the quality of his life has improved dramatically since he has made a commitment to sobriety.