P.E.A.S.E. Academy (Peers Enjoying a Sober Education)

A tuition-free, public high school in Minnesota for youth in recovery from substance use disorders 

Bridging treatment and recovery for adolescents can pose unique challenges. The P.E.A.S.E. Academy (Peers Enjoying a Sober Education) was begun in 1989 as the first recovery high school in the United States. The high school is a member of Minnesota Transitions Charter School and is open to qualifying students from any school district in Minnesota.

Some of the features of this recovery high school include:

  • Providing a safe, sober community based on recovery principles, where diversity is both respected and valued
  • Maintaining a small supportive school environment with an enrollment of 70 students
  • A teaching ratio of 1 teacher to 17 students
  • Practicing a restorative justice model to address conflicts and helping the community gain deeper understanding through respecting every voice

Most students who go on to graduate from P.E.A.S.E. Academy and pursue college degrees enroll in collegiate recovery programs to continue supporting their recovery. 

More information on recovery high schools can be found in this report and in this presentation

For a detailed description of 17 recovery high schools across the nation, see this peer-reviewed paper

Recovery High Schools are associated with less substance use, better academic performance, and economic benefits to society. 

Continuum of Care
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Housing, Education, and Employment
Peer-reviewed Article

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

This specific recovery high school (RHS) has not been formally evaluated, although RHS, in general, show promising results: 

"RHS students had significantly less substance use during the study period—at 12-month follow-up, 55% of RHS and 26% of comparison students reported 3 month abstinence from alcohol and drugs... RHS students’ high school graduation rates were 21% to 25% higher than comparison students...Mean net benefits ranged from $16.1 thousand to $51.9 thousand per participant; benefit-to-cost ratios ranged from 3.0 to 7.2." (Weimer et al., 2019)