Rise Inspire Academy is the first high school in San Antonio that is focused on serving youth seeking sobriety in a safe, supportive environment. It arose from a partnership between Rise Recovery, a leader in substance abuse recovery, and Inspire Academies, a charter school network known for innovative approaches to education at campuses across Texas, including Anne Frank Inspire Academy. Rise Inspire Academy will begin serving its first group of high school students in August 2021, with plans to grow enrollment and move to a new campus. This guide will help you learn more about Rise Inspire Academy and whether it could be the right high school to support your child’s recovery journey.
About Rise Inspire Academy
Substance use can be a major obstacle for teens who need a high quality education for a better future. While they are receiving treatment and recovery services, they also need to continue their education—in ways that are consistent with their recovery goals. Addiction is a treatable disorder, and with the use of research-based methods, teens can stop using drugs and alcohol, and begin to rebuild their lives. In San Antonio, Rise Recovery serves an essential role: they are a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help teens, young adults, and families overcome the effects of drugs and alcohol. They offer support groups, recovery mentoring, peer coaching, and prevention education—but they are not a treatment center.
Evita Morin, CEO of Rise Recovery, and her team realized that there was a gap in services for teens in recovery in San Antonio. They learned about the concept of recovery high schools, and discovered other recovery high schools in Texas—but there were none in San Antonio. So, they set out to establish one, and researched the possibilities. Because the San Antonio region is fragmented across so many traditional public school districts, Rise Recovery decided to partner with a charter school so that they could serve students across a wider geographic area.
Inspire Academies is the right partner for a recovery high school because their non-traditional approach to education, as demonstrated at Anne Frank Inspire Academy and at their residential schools, is consistent with the principles of recovery. “Their model works with the brains of the kids that we serve,” said Morin. Inspire Academies is known for redefining traditional approaches to education, helping students to become expert learners and leaders, encouraging students to lead principle-centered lives, and inspiring students to belong, be great, and find joy.
“The model is that we provide that level of quality education and incorporate throughout the day that recovery support for these kids, who are all pursuing a lifestyle of recovery,” said Morin. “They have that peer support surrounding them that they lacked in their public school, homeschool, etc. They also have administrators and staff who are very empathetic and understanding of substance use issues, and are not going to stigmatize it further for them. They won’t focus on the disciplinary side, but on the intervention side. They will recognize that these kids have DSM-diagnosable disorders, like depression or anxiety, and need the same level of support.”
During Rise Inspire Academy’s pilot year (2021–22), based out of Inspire Academies’ main office on Bandera, Administrator Bea Blackmon was able to work with students who might otherwise, due to relapse, have entered a DAEP program and been cut off from their support system. Blackmon was able to intervene with their families immediately and navigate them through the process of getting necessary treatment. While in treatment, students were able to participate remotely in Inspire Academy’s virtual education program, and then when they were ready transition back into Rise Inspire Academy’s in-person classes. That kind of flexibility is available at a recovery high school, but not at a traditional public high school.
Rise Inspire Academy will offer its students school-based recovery education, support groups, and sober social opportunities. The educational services provided for students by Inspire Academies are free; however, there is a fee for the recovery services provided by Rise Recovery.
The opening of Rise Inspire Academy comes at a time when many teens are in a vulnerable place. “With the things we’ve gone through in the past year, we’ve seen a lot of kids lost,” said Morin. “It used to be that the disciplinary system was our red flag for kids, with underlying behavioral health issues.” Morin reports that, during the pandemic, schools have been focused primarily on attendance, and that discipline has been on the back burner. “No one is really paying attention to how kids are acting because they are so focused on just them being present, so we don’t really have a good pulse of how kids are doing. Trying to be in the schools now is critical.”
Rise Inspire Academy in San Antonio
Rise Inspire Academy will serve students in high school, grades 9–12. During the 2021–22 school year, the campus will operate out of Rise Recovery’s location at Asbury United Methodist Church at 4601 San Pedro Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212 (map). The main phone number for the school is 210-227-2634 and their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org; they can also be reached through a contact form on their website.
Next year, in August 2022, Rise Inspire Academy will relocate to the Charlie Naylor Recovery Campus at 2803 Mossrock, San Antonio, TX 78230 (map). Rise Recovery broke ground on the new campus in July 2021, and it’s expected to open to the public in December 2021.
Download the free San Antonio Charter Schools app for an interactive map that includes Rise Inspire Academy and more. You can also find campus information about Rise Inspire Academy (and many other schools of choice) in our Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.
Enroll at Rise Inspire Academy
The entry point for students to enroll at Rise Inspire Academy is receiving services from Rise Recovery, including support groups, recovery mentoring, and peer coaching. To be eligible to enroll at Rise Inspire Academy, students must have thirty or more days of sobriety, and they need to have completed a treatment program or obtained a recommendation from the administrator. Regardless of how students found their way to Rise Recovery—whether they (or a family member) called a helpline or they were referred because of a disciplinary process—the students must show a willingness to do their school work and participate in other therapeutic and recovery activities. While students are enrolled at Rise Inspire Academy, it’s essential that they and their families participate in support sessions. Every week, students meet with their Peer Recovery Coaches, and families meet with Family Recovery Coaches. In addition, families meet weekly with an approved Alternative Peer Group.
Follow these social media accounts for updates about Rise Inspire Academy:
- Rise Recovery on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn
- Inspire Academies (Braination) on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search previous discussions about Rise Inspire Academy and students in recovery.
Facts About Rise Inspire Academy
Rise Inspire Academy provides a setting for high school students who are in recovery to make meaningful progress towards their education goals under the supervision of caring, understanding teachers and with peers who are also on a journey of recovery. “All of our program staff are in recovery themselves,” said CEO Evita Morin. “Many of them are young, in their twenties, and have been in recovery since they were in their teens. Having that story of choosing recovery in youth is really important to share for our kids.”
It’s essential for teens in recovery to have support from an alternative peer group. “It’s not just for the kids, it’s also for the parents,” said Morin. “Having a support group of parents going through the same thing helps reduce the stigma and shame.” Parent involvement is a large component of the work at Rise Inspire Academy. “Parents need to learn about what we call the ‘three C’s,'” said Administrator Bea Blackmon. “They didn’t cause it, they can’t control it, and they can’t cure it.”
During the pandemic, “being able to outreach to students who are struggling has been a challenge,” said Blackmon. During the pilot year of Rise Inspire Academy, “having that space, the fact that the students were able to be there in person, not isolated, around others who understand,” made a difference for the students in the program—”that was one of our biggest wins.” At a traditional high school, students might face “breakdowns or hurdles” during the course of their day, whereas at Rise Inspire Academy, students are able to focus on their schoolwork.
Inspire Academies’ “culture and method is very similar to our culture and method for recovery,” said Morin. “It’s not linear. Anybody at a particular age can be at any various stage of recovery.” For education and for recovery, the educators and peer coaches need to tailor the experience for the student. “When we recognized how Anne Frank Inspire Academy approaches education, we realized that was the perfect overlay for the way that we already work with our youth.”
“Recovery involves a level of independence and accountability, but surrounded by support and surrounded by people who have experienced the journey, who want to walk with them, know that it’s that individual’s own journey that they have to walk,” said Morin. “They’re not trying to pull anybody. We’re walking side by side, wherever it is that they need to go.”
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Evita Morin, CEO of Rise Recovery, and Bea Blackmon, Administrator of Rise Inspire Academy, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on July 13, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Evita Morin is a licensed Master of Social Work and the Chief Executive Officer of social service nonprofit Rise Recovery. Her civic and nonprofit career spans the front lines of civil service, housing, education and addiction treatment. Her professional experiences have led her to humbly serve under remarkable influential leaders, such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Haven for Hope founder Bill Greehey. Her strengths are in community stewardship, program development, strategy and operations. A San Antonio native, Evita grew up throughout Texas before attending undergraduate and graduate school at Columbia University in New York. A proud and honored board member of MLP, she additionally serves on the Executive Committees of the Blood & Tissue Foundation Board and the Whispering Oaks HOA Board. In her free time, she can be found camping, listening to audio books, singing, and playing with her two young children.
Bea Blackmon is the Administrator of Rise Inspire Academy. She is a Licensed Master of Social work, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern, and the Program Administrator for Rise Inspire Academy. She is a veteran of the United States Navy and came back home to San Antonio after her time in service. As a person in long term recovery she made a commitment in wanting to implement change for recovery support services in Bexar County. She decided to attend Our Lady of the Lake University where she received dual bachelor degrees in Sociology, and Social Work. As well as her Masters in Social Work. In 2018 Bea, wrote an op-ed article in the San Antonio express news advocating for a Recovery High school in San Antonio. With Bea’s determination and a great collaboration of San Antonio’s recovery community champions; a recovery high school task force was founded. In 2019 she was tapped to be on the board of Association for Recovery Schools, because of her hard work and dedication to youth in recovery schools. Bea has married the love of her life and they are raising two wonderful kids together, she loves karaoke and good food.
Read More About Supporting Students in Recovery
- “3 takeaways from KSAT’s mental health town hall,” Landon Lowe, KSAT, May 27, 2021
- “Recovery specialist reflects on his own battle with addiction,” Lexi Salazar, KSAT, January 14, 2021
- “Learning That Matters: Using an Inquiry-Based Learning Approach at Home,” Justin Johnston, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 22, 2020
- “San Antonio substance abuse recovery program changes how it provides services during pandemic,” Steve Spriester, KSAT, July 14, 2020
- “Ground broken on new addiction recovery center on North Side,” Jakob Rodriguez, KSAT, July 13, 2020
- “Pilot program brings long-awaited mental health services to South San ISD,” Laura Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, June 1, 2020
- “To stay sober during the coronavirus pandemic, members of 12-Step groups move online,” Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News, April 3, 2021
- “South San ISD To Open Mental Health Resource Center Powered by 6 Community Agencies,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, October 17, 2019
- “Report: Mental Health Care For Bexar County Youth Should Be Preventative, Not Reactionary,” Texas Public Radio, May 28, 2019
- “Tell Me About Yourself Tuesdays! with Bea Blackmon, Bachelors of Social Work Practicum Student at Our Lady of the Lake University,” Rise Recovery, November 2017