TDOE Awards Over $800K for Middle School STEM, CTE Career Exploration Start-Up & Expansion, and High School School-Based Enterprise Grants
34 Districts to Receive Grant Funding to Boost Postsecondary Success
Nashville, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced over $800,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 34 districts for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, middle school career and technical education (CTE), and high school school-based enterprise projects.
Funding is provided through Governor Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative, which boosts access to CTE, STEM, and Work-Based Learning (WBL) in the classroom. For the past two years, the department awarded start-up and expansion funding for middle school STEM and CTE programs and included a high school opportunity to qualify for school-based enterprise funding to increase enrollment in WBL courses.
Middle School STEM Start-Up & Expansion Grants have been awarded to 52 schools, and Middle School CTE Start-Up & Expansion Grants have been awarded to 29 schools. Seven schools will receive High School School-Based Enterprise grant funding. To view a list of grant recipients, click here.
“Tennessee continues to provide more pathways to help students transition from middle to high school, and these grants help ensure students have increased access to high-quality work-based learning opportunities, STEM, and career technical education,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are thrilled that we can make these opportunities happen over the last two years and help students be successful during high school and into their postsecondary and workforce careers.”
For the past four years, the Middle School STEM Start-Up & Expansion grants have directly supported the goal of the Future Workforce Initiative (FWI) to add an additional 100 new middle school STEM programs by 2022. High School School-Based Enterprise grants support the FWI by helping to eliminate barriers for students who can’t participate in off-campus WBL placements due to transportation and scheduling challenges.
"These grants will help increase access to CTE, STEM, and Work-based Learning for students within our district, schools and classrooms," said Jerry Boyd, Director of Schools, Washington County Schools. "We are excited to offer more opportunities and pathways for students to experience the latest technology and learning to further their careers and be successful later in life.”
“Macon County is so excited to begin the school-based enterprise, Hilltop Ink. Beginning this school-based enterprise will not only allow the students to show their school and community pride; it will also allow them to pursue other goals of attending state and national conferences with the profits from this business,” said Kathy Cothron, CTE Director of Macon County Schools. “I see this venture as a foundation for more WBL placements throughout the entire district.”
“STEM courses in our middle schools means that students have amazing stories to tell their parents when they get home from school,” said Shane Stilts, CTE Director of McNairy County Schools. “We want every student engaged in STEM activities as often as possible because it encourages thinking, curiosity, and a love for learning. It allows our schools the ability to impact students' lives in a way they love to learn. In our county it moves towards our goal of giving more opportunities for our students to experience cutting edge technology and problem-based learning lessons.”
Districts were allowed to apply for all three grants this year. In their applications, grant recipients demonstrated the ability to align courses from middle school to high school, provide meaningful career guidance and advisement, and expand upon employer partnerships to create pathways for students.
For more information about the Middle School STEM Start-Up Grants, CTE Career Exploration Grants, or High School School-Based Enterprise Grants, visit the department’s website. Learn more about the Governor’s Future Workforce Initiative here, which has already impacted nearly 400,000 Tennessee students and over 2,000 educators.
For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.