New program aims to be “TOPs” for students

A new outreach program in the planning stages at Knox Central is aiming to be “TOPs” for students.

The implementation of Teen Outreach Program (TOP), a research based youth development program recognized nationally as a best practice, is part of a new youth opportunity grant serving the Promise Zone area of Appalachia.  Berea College was the award recipient with Knox Central being selected as one of the schools in their service region to participate.

“This program inspires teens to discover more about themselves through TOP components, goals, and community service,” explained Stefanie McCall-Spencer, one of four facilitators trained in TOP.

The facilitators that will be launching the program are all members of the school’s PartnerCorp program through Berea.  The goals of TOP and PartnerCorp both align with the mission of serving students and giving back to the community.

Research has shown that students participating in TOP have better academic outcomes, including better attendance rates and lower dropout rate than their peers.

Students selected to participate in TOP will be receiving information from PartnerCorp members to share with their parents/guardians.  Parents interested in the program are encouraged to contact the school for more information.


The TOP facilitators at Knox Central High School are (from left to right) Shaquille Lowery, Stefanie McCall-Spencer, Kelley Thacker, and William Olmstead.

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Partners for Education at Berea College uses a place based, student focused approach to improve educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky. We braid services and align funding streams to optimize results. Through a suite of programs, Partners for Education leverages $25.8 million each year. This goes to serve 35,318 young people and their families. These programs include GEAR UP, i3 and the first rural Promise Neighborhood.

Posted on September 23, 2016