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Middle School Student Assistance Program

The mission of the middle school Student Assistance Team is to provide support and programming for students to promote assets and to develop strategies to manage risk factors associated with the transition from elementary to middle school and then high school.

The middle school Student Assistance Program implements programs aimed at:

  • Developing and enhancing student sense of self
  • Promoting academic growth, school attendance, and involvement in activities
  • New and innovative wellness programs
  • Early crisis intervention and traumatic events response
  • Conflict resolution
  • A substance-free lifestyle

Middle School Student Assistance Program Contacts:

Mike Shipley, CCJP
Student Assistance Specialist
(319) 447-3152 / Email

Available for individual and group counseling support and education for students at Excelsior for a variety of life issues in a confidential format.

Kristin Cannon, MSW-LMSW
Student Assistance Specialist
(319) 892-4970  / Email

Available for individual and group counseling support and education for students at Oak Ridge Middle School for a variety of life issues in a confidential format.

Shawn Knighton, BA
Family Resource Specialist
(319) 730-3633 / Email

Provides direct services to families in the Linn-Mar Community School District regarding at-risk issues, as well as a liaison with parents and community resources.


Student Support Groups:

Groups dealing with death, divorce, physical challenges, substance abuse, new to district, and other life issues; CODE (Children of Disruptive Environments).


Homework Clubs:

Structured study time with staff members in which snacks and juice are provided.

  • Breakfast Club meets each Tuesday and Thursday morning before school from 7:15-7:45 AM (Oak Ridge only)
  • Club Ed meets Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 2:50-3:50 PM (Excelsior and Oak Ridge)

Wellness Based Education:

Jr. SODA, (a group for middle school students okay without drugs and alcohol), includes safe and substance-free programming, classroom lessons, T.R.Y. program activities, and support for student goal setting.


Mentor Program:

Stafff-to-student and high school T.R.Y. student to middle school student.


Peer Orientation Program:

Utilizes a staff training team to identify and train 50-75 eighth grade students to facilitate orientation as small group leaders for incoming sixth grade students.