Elevate launches for students with addiction issues

Josh FloryOur Town Students

Students who are struggling with substance misuse have a new learning option, thanks to a community partnership between KCS, the McNabb Center and local leaders.


The Elevate program provides a supported learning environment for students – including intensive outpatient services and academic programming – which allows them to pursue their studies and work on sobriety in a stigma-free environment.

The Boyd Philanthropic Organization provided a $150,000 grant for the program’s start-up costs, while Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs agreed to allocate money from the county budget to cover staffing costs for the program’s first three years. In addition to outpatient therapy, the McNabb Center is providing free classroom and meeting space for the program.

On Monday, community leaders including Jacobs, Randy Boyd, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and KCS assistant superintendent Jon Rysewyk celebrated the program’s launch, and posed for a picture outside the Elevate facility.

Students at West Haven Elementary enjoyed some special visitors on Thursday. As a reward for meeting their Coupon Book goal, the Wildcats enjoyed a trick-riding demonstration by Tri-C Farms, and students – including Brynlee Balboa – got to pet the horses! Thanks to everyone who supported this year’s Coupon Book campaign, and congratulations to the Wildcats.

Vision meeting begins effort to reimagine high school

Students, educators, business executives and others gathered at the Change Center on Wednesday for the first step in an effort to transform the high-school experience in Knox County.

KCS is partnering with Ford Next Generation Learning – a nationally recognized education non-profit – and Knox Education Foundation on the initiative. The Ford Next Generation Learning model seeks to combine the high expectations and academic rigor of college preparatory academic programs with the real-world relevance and rigor of career and technical education through the establishment of interest- and career-themed academies at high schools.

On Wednesday, stakeholders from across the county gathered to share their experiences and ideas for the future, in advance of a master-planning process. Thank you to all the participants who shared their time, and we look forward to continuing this work in the future.

Knox Promise offers additional resources

The deadline for high school seniors to apply for Tennessee Promise is Nov. 1, and Knox County grads may be eligible for additional benefits through the program.

With support from the Haslam Family Foundation and in partnership with TN SCORE, eligible Knox Promise students have access to monthly coaching throughout college, and students with higher financial needs can receive grant funding for textbooks, technology, class supplies, groceries or transportation costs. For more information, go here.

Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes the blog Hall Pass for the KCS website.

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