What is a Credit Recovery High School? Getting Back on Track

credit recovery high school

High school is a whirlwind of academics, extracurriculars, and figuring out who you are. Sometimes, amidst the chaos, classes get missed, you fall behind on assignments, or — in the case of many of our Archway Academy students — you find yourself in the throes of alcohol or drug problems. A credit recovery high school might be the answer!

Archway Academy is a credit recovery high school/sober high school that keeps students on track when they’re experiencing substance use disorder, allowing them to pursue their high school education while gaining sobriety. We step in and offer a lifeline for students who need to get back on track.

What is a Credit Recovery High School?

A credit recovery high school can be a program offered by traditional high schools, online platforms, or alternative education centers like Archway. It allows students to re-earn credits for courses they previously failed or never took.

The U.S. Department of Education, in a sponsored study called the National Survey on High School Strategies Designed to Help At-Risk Students Graduate (HSS), defines credit recovery as “a strategy that encourages at-risk students to re-take a previously
failed course required for high school graduation and earn credit if the student successfully completes the course requirements.”

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Courses Offered: Credit recovery schools like Archway Academy cover core subjects like math, science, English, and social studies. We also offer electives. Our curriculum meets TEKS standards and is administered by Southwest Schools.
  • Traditional Schedule:While Archway Academy is a sober and credit recovery high school geared toward helping our students with their education and sobriety, we operate our schedule just like any traditional high school. Our school day is from 8 am-3:05 pm and we have seven class periods as well as a “wellness” period/check-in with our students first thing in the morning.
  • Focus on Mastery: The emphasis is on understanding the material, not just passing a test. Our expert faculty often uses alternative learning methods to cater to different learning styles, and our low student-to-teacher ratio allows more one-on-one interaction.


“…everything that happens at a traditional public school also happens at Archway—state testing, special education services, P.E. and electives, the PSAT, college fairs, student council, and academic rigor.”


Why Choose a Credit Recovery High School?

Students who come to credit recovery high schools are typically behind due to alcohol or substance abuse issues that have negatively affected their educational journey. Archway Academy allows them to enter our program with a clean slate, where they can retake classes needed for graduation.

A credit recovery high school allows students to:

  • Stay on Track for Graduation: By recovering credits, students can ensure they meet all the graduation requirements and graduate on time.
  • Boost Confidence: Successfully completing a course can be a huge confidence booster, motivating students to continue their academic journey.
  • Develop Skills: Programs often focus on developing strong study habits and time management skills, which benefit students beyond the specific course.


Archway Academy combines the benefits of a sober high school and a credit recovery high school, effectively operating together by creating a program that addresses both recovery needs and academic goals. Here’s how we achieve this:

Tailored Curriculum

  • Integration: Integrate recovery principles into core subjects. For example, in a literature class, students could analyze characters who overcome addiction. In science, they could explore the biological effects of substance use.
  • Life Skills: Incorporate life skills development alongside academics. Teach topics like communication, time management, stress management, and healthy coping mechanisms — all crucial for both recovery and academic success.

Supportive Environment

  • Smaller Class Sizes: Smaller classes in a credit recovery high school allow for more individualized attention, fostering trust and open communication with teachers who understand the challenges of recovery.
  • Support Throughout: From probation officers to private counselors, residential treatment clinicians to Alternative Peer Groups, we keep in constant touch with every student’s personal network — triaging tasks and arming our students (and each other) with shared information to ensure that no important details slip through the cracks, to address behaviors and remove barriers, and to remain consistent and aligned in our approach to getting each student well.
  • Peer Support Groups: At Archway Academy, part of being a credit recovery high school/sober high school is our commitment to working with our students’ Alternative Peer Groups (APGs). APGs are recovery-centered support groups that help with recovery and case management.
  • Reduced Stigma: Create an environment where recovery is openly discussed and supported, reducing the stigma associated with addiction.


  • Holistic Approach: This combined program addresses both academic and recovery needs, promoting long-term success.
  • Increased Motivation: Students who feel supported in their recovery are more likely to be motivated to excel in their studies.
  • Reduced Risk of Relapse: The structured environment and supportive community can help reduce the risk of relapse, which could impede academic progress.


A combined sober and credit recovery high school offers a unique opportunity for students who are overcoming addiction to get back on track with their education. By creating a supportive and flexible environment, these programs can empower students to achieve academic success while solidifying their recovery journey.

Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful:

By taking advantage of credit recovery, you can get back on track for graduation and pave the way for a successful future.


Archway opened its doors in 2003 to offer students and worried families in the throes of teenage substance use a viable option and support system for restoring their child’s physical, mental, emotional, and academic health. We’re located in the heart of Houston, Texas, and are focused on meeting the individual educational needs of teens recovering from substance use disorder with care, compassion, respect, and rigor. Instead of returning students to the same environments in which they’re most at risk for relapse or might have trouble catching up academically, Archway provides a structured place for teens to continue both their recovery and their education without compromising either. 


We offer a continuum of care from probation officers to private counselors, residential treatment clinicians to Alternative Peer Groups. Archway keeps in constant contact with every student’s unique personal network — triaging tasks and arming our students (and each other) with shared information to ensure that no important details slip through the cracks; to address behaviors and remove barriers; and to remain consistent and aligned in our approach to getting each student well. Today, we are the largest recovery school in the country, and currently mentoring new recovery schools throughout the nation.

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