Chesterfield school leaders unveil Virginia’s first recovery academy

This new program will focus on helping high school students recovering from drug addictions
Chesterfield's Recovery Academy will serve high school students across 15 school division in Central Virginia.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:26 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield leaders gathered at the Career and Technical Center along Hull Street Road to unveil a new recovery academy designed to help students recovering from substance use disorders.

The first-of-its-kind recovery academy is a year-round program serving high school students in 15 school divisions across central Virginia.

This includes high school students in Charles City County, Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Hopewell, New Kent County, Petersburg, Powhatan County, Prince George County, Richmond, Surry County and Sussex County.

On Tuesday morning, county leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the recovery academy inside the Career and Technical Center.

Chesterfield leaders cut the ribbon on a recovery academy.
Chesterfield leaders cut the ribbon on a recovery academy.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

“One step. One day. One success at a time,” said Ann Coker, chair for the Chesterfield School Board, about the recovery academy’s philosophy.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, school officials took tours of the classrooms.

“This is the room where we’ll actually meet one-on-one with the parents and their students with the therapist, and we do intake or individual meetings,” said Justin Savoy, coordinator for the Chesterfield Recovery Academy, during a tour of the facility.

Chesterfield leaders unveil their new recovery academy inside the Career and Technical Center...
Chesterfield leaders unveil their new recovery academy inside the Career and Technical Center along Hull Street Road.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

Savoy said they’ve had several parents reach out to the school division to inquire about this resource.

He says students accepted into this program will have time aside for their school work and individual or group counseling.

“It would be a mixture between like an outpatient therapy and a traditional school day,” Savoy said. “Later on in the year, we will work on trying to have them get some work-based learning opportunities where they may have internships.”

Desks and laptops line the classroom inside the Chesterfield Recovery Academy.
Desks and laptops line the classroom inside the Chesterfield Recovery Academy.(Source;NBC12 | NBC12)

The program will start with 25 students, but Savoy said they could expand this to help a maximum of 50 students.

Savoy also adds students can stay in this academy as long as they need to.

“It can be for a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or they can actually choose to stay here until it’s time to graduate,” he said.

Chesterfield leaders said this program is funded through legislation approved this year by lawmakers from General Assembly and Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Chesterfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said the school decision has several goals encompassing success and hope for those participating in this program.

“I think if we save one child, it’s a success,” said Daugherty. “Everybody wants to look at numbers, but our goal is to bring students in, help them see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, help them get on course with their academics.”

Savoy also hopes this program opens up more dialogue about addiction and treatments for youth.

“It’s a growing problem in our country,” Savoy said. “The fact that we have this here in the state, we can actually spread this around and actually be a pilot for the rest of the country.”

The Chesterfield Recovery Academy will officially open on Aug. 22.

To be considered for this program, Savoy said those who want to enroll must be substance-free for 20 to 30 days and go through some type of treatment program to show they’re on their recovery journey.

“Our goal is not to turn students away, but is to make sure that the students that are coming have already gone through some type of treatment where they can do the recovery,” Daugherty said during Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

To learn more about this new program and the enrollment process, click/tap here.

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