In 2002, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services asked Counseling and Consultation Services, Inc. to open a continuum of treatment services that could deal with adolescent boys who are experiencing multiple emotional and behavioral problems. This program would provide care, supervision, treatment and academic services to at risk adolescents. A major component of the residential and day treatment portions of the continuum of services would be an alternative school setting. SteppenStone Academy was established and has maintained a Category VII school approval with the State of Tennessee Department of Education every year since its inception. An exceptional educational program is provided to students in grades 6-12 based on an individualized educational plan. SteppenStone Academy’s goal is to create an environment which will enable the strong general and special education program to motivate the students to succeed not only at SteppenStone Academy, but also in their community educational or vocational settings in the future.
In the beginning SSYTS was asked to provide an academic program for fifteen adolescents. Over the past seven years SteppenStone Academy has consistently been one of the top academic programs for residential facilities in the State. As a result, the State has continued to ask our program to increase the number of at risk adolescents we serve. SteppenStone Academy serves at risk adolescents throughout the East Tennessee Region.
SSYTS has served as many as 40 adolescents at one time, in a school set up for 28 adolescents. Over the past six years we have served a total of 135 adolescents of which approximately 55% are special education certified due to emotional, behavioral, or learning disabilities. On average, when entering SteppenStone Academy the students are functioning two years behind grade level. Over the course of attending SteppenStone Academy a student experiences on average an increase of 18 months in their academic functioning. SteppenStone Academy has graduated 11 adolescents. Of the 11 adolescents who have graduated, three have been admitted and entered college. A few accomplishments of students at SteppenStone Academy this past year are winning First Place in the Newspaper in Education Stock Market Game sponsored by the Johnson City Press and First Tennessee Bank; the Boys Basketball Team won First Place at a three on three tournament in Greeneville; and three boys won First, Third and Fourth Places at the Annual Milligan College Chess Tournament sponsored by the National Chess Federation.
The demand for the school has greatly outgrown the SteppenStone Academy facility. SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services is in need of increasing the facility size to 2880 square foot in order to adequately serve the number of adolescents in need of academic services.