Richard Yoakley School serves young people from all middle and high schools in Knox County once they are no longer permitted in the school for which they are zoned. More than 60% of the student population at Richard Yoakley School is there due to drug-related offenses. MDC partners with the school to provide incentives for good behavior and grades, outlets for artistic expression and positive alternatives to engaging in substance abuse.
In the spring of 2008 MDC piloted Directions Career Exploration Program with 3 classes at Richard Yoakley. Each week the students have heard from local career centers and business community leaders on subjects related to finding, securing and keeping a job. Upon conclusion of the program, each student set some personal employment/education goals and developed a plan for achieving those goals.
MDC volunteers meet monthly at Richard Yoakley to reward students who are consistently displaying positive behavior and progress toward academic goals. These students are given an opportunity to participate in arts and crafts projects, not otherwise available at the school.
Beginning this semester the local FBI partnered with MDC to recruit, train and match tutors with students at Richard Yoakley who read below grade level. Reading levels at Richard Yoakley are a big concern with nearly two-thirds of the student population considered to have some learning disability.
FBI reading tutors volunteer at Richard Yoakley Alternative School each week.