The Student Life Department at TSD strives to provide a home-like environment for students staying on campus during the week. Staff provides supervision for the safety and well-being of our students 24 hours a day while they are on campus during the school year. We provide opportunities and experiences for students to develop their independent living skills so they can become contributing members to a global economy once they leave TSD.
TSD currently has 15 cottages in use with six double occupancy bedrooms in each cottages. Each cottage is designed to look just like a home, except on a bigger scale. It has a full sized kitchen, dining room, recreation room, living room, and a laundry room, among other things that normally come with a house. There are opportunities for students to cook food, use space to do homework, sit and watch television, and play games. However, they are also expected to help with the “upkeep” of the cottage such as washing dishes, vacuuming, mopping, keeping their bedroom/bathroom clean, etc.
The Student Life Department is responsible for Recreation and Summer camps. Recreation involves nightly activities along with elementary and middle school sports. Nightly activities may include open gym, swimming, movie nights, etc. for all ages. Recreation is also responsible for running the Student Union, which is a place where students can socialize, play games, and purchase snacks and/or drinks. Recreation staff are responsible for organizing teams for the elementary and middle school students. At this time, elementary students are involved in basketball only. Middle school sports are: flag football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer. All teams play in a city-sanctioned league and often play at TSD or travel to local schools to play. Recreation is fully funded by a grant from Variety of East Tennessee.
The Student Life department also manages transportation of over 75 residential students weekly. Six charter busses run on Fridays and Sundays to various stops from Bristol to Memphis. Travel is set up and managed between parents and the Student Life office. Depending on the location of the student’s home, travel time can range between one and seven hours, although the average time for a student in transit is closer to three and a half hours. Pick up and drop off stops are planned in safe, public, and well-lit areas (such as hotel or travel center parking lots). At the start of each school year, the Transportation Coordinator maintains the best pick up and drop off locations with families and also collects a list of approved adults who are allowed to pick up students from the stop. Students are only released to persons who are listed on this form and can provide identification. Families are notified via phone if a bus is running early or late due to traffic, weather, etc.
Each charter bus is staffed by 2-3 Student Life chaperones who work directly with the students in our residential program during the week. Chaperones make sure students are comfortable by keeping watch over their safety, providing for their needs, and monitoring behavior. These chaperones are trained to handle any crisis situation that may arise during transportation. The Transportation Coordinator is on stand-by during all transportation hours to manage situations accordingly. Safety drills are conducted twice annually to ensure knowledge and procedures to follow during emergencies.
Bethany Van Bebber
Director of Student Life
865.340.2031 (text only)
865.340.2031 (text only)