Elevate program will support students in recovery

Josh FloryOur Town Teens

The Knox County Board of Education will consider this week a new high school program that will support students who are in recovery from substance abuse.


The Elevate program represents a partnership among Knox County Schools, Knox County, the McNabb Center and the Boyd Foundation. It is designed to provide a place for students in recovery to receive the social-emotional support they need to graduate and maintain sobriety. Participation in the program is expected to begin in the fall of 2021, with a class of approximately 10 students.

The Boyd Foundation has provided a $150,000 grant through Knox Education Foundation to fund the start-up costs for Elevate, while Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has agreed to allocate money from the county budget to cover staffing costs for the program’s first three years, at an estimated annual expense of $89,866.

The McNabb Center has agreed to provide classroom and meeting space for the program, in addition to intensive outpatient therapy.

“Recovering from substance abuse and addiction is a difficult challenge, particularly for young people,” said KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas. “We believe the Elevate program will not only help students make progress academically, but will also support their social and emotional well-being in all areas of life. I am grateful for the Boyd Foundation, Mayor Glenn Jacobs and the McNabb Center for their investment in our students and school communities.”

“Without the proper support a student struggling with addiction will have a hard time graduating from high school and may struggle with what comes next – whether that’s college or trade school or something else,” said Jacobs. “Helping students overcome addiction and reach their potential should be a community priority. Every student’s success is critical to strengthening the workforce upon which business and industry recruitment rely.”

“My family and I are committed to making a difference in mental health and substance abuse in our community, and are honored to be able to support such a great organization like Helen Ross McNabb and this initiative to support Knox County Schools,” said Randy Boyd, co-founder of the Boyd Foundation.

“Research indicates 80-90 percent of students returning to a traditional classroom setting, following substance use/co- occurring treatment, face relapse,” said Mona Blanton-Kitts, McNabb Center’s regional clinical vice president who oversees the center’s school-based services. “This collaboration will provide students the opportunity to be successful at school, while continuing their recovery journey. We are excited to partner on this much needed project.”

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

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