October 5, 2017 by HCDE Communications
Oct. 5, 2017 – Fortis Academy, Harris County’s first public recovery high school, breaks ground this month after overcoming flood damages from Hurricane Harvey. Harris County Department of Education has invited elected officials, educators and leaders in the recovery community to view the renovation of the facility, which previously served as a high school for at-risk students.
The ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. at the school, located at 11902 Spears Road, and will include a tour of the facility, discussion of the recovery school concept, an introduction to the school’s new principal, and reveal of the school logo.
The 20,000-square-foot recovery school, located in the Greenspoint area, will open during the 2017-2018 school year to 30 students from any of the 25 Harris County school districts on a district contract basis. Fortis Academy is designed to help students who have completed a substance abuse or dependency rehabilitation program continue their studies in a sober environment.
In addition to the academic component of the traditional high school, the recovery school combines life coach support and counseling, along with data-driven best practices.
The renovation plans include the addition of a culinary kitchen and dining area to support a culinary arts curriculum. The outdoor design will feature walking trails, a ropes course for personal development and team-building, an outdoor kitchen, and a garden.
Anthony Moten, longtime principal and leader in the West Orange Cove Independent School District, will lead the school.
“Dr. Moten was selected to lead our recovery school because of his commitment and dedication to meeting students’ unique needs,” said Superintendent James Colbert. “The compassion and expertise that Dr. Moten brings along with him will have a long-lasting impact on students who desperately need our help.”
Earning the reputation as an exceptional educator as a seven-year leader of West Orange Middle School, Moten helped transform the school that was failing to meet state standards. Under his leadership, West Orange earned eight Texas Education Agency distinctions.
Moten received his undergraduate degree from Langston University, a master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University–Commerce and a doctorate from Lamar University. He and his family are currently living in The Woodlands.
Recovery schools are critical to recovering youth as studies show the risk of relapse is higher when students return to their pretreatment schools. HCDE recently became a member of Adolescent Recovery Oriented Systems of Care, or AROSC, a group of agencies in the Houston Recovery Initiative that provides substance abuse treatment, preventative care, after-care and recovery support for adolescents in the Houston area.
“Through our membership in AROSC, we are able to benefit from a credible knowledge base of best practices and pooled resources from the recovery community,” Colbert said. “The recovery school will help students heal, grow and ultimately discover how to live their very best lives while continuing their education.”
About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at www.hcde-texas.org .