Bradley County Schools is the recipient of a $846,300 Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant divided over the next seven years.
The grant will be used to implement college awareness and other supportive programs at Lake Forest Middle School, Goal Academy and Bradley Central High School, according to a Bradley County Schools release.
“The GEAR UP TN Grant is a perfect fit with the post-secondary goals and objectives we are implementing in Bradley County Schools. Growing a ‘postsecondary culture’ in our community will provide open doors and opportunities to all our students and make them a marketable workforce to business and industry into our community and surrounding area,” BCS grant coordinator Patti Hunt said.
Hunt said the school system will implement the program starting Jan. 1, 2013.
The goal of the grant is “to provide services to students and families with the aim of increasing enrollment and success in post-secondary education,” according Hunt.
These services will be provided by the formation of a GEAR UP TN Collaborative with local partners.
Local partners will include Bradley/Cleveland Public Education Foundation, Lee University, Cleveland State Community College and the Bradley County Board of Education. Other partners will include the Oasis Center in Nashville, Centers for School Climate and Dropout Prevention, tnAchieves and the Chattanooga Public Education Foundation. Partners will provide summer programs for academics, mentoring, tutoring, college visits and information about financial aid.
“The GEAR UP TN grant will provide much needed support and resources for our students as we strive to prepare them to be college and career ready,” Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel said.
“It will also help us foster the hopes and dreams of our students and their families beyond high school. We believe all students deserve access to postsecondary education. We are excited about the opportunities the GEAR UP grant will provide our students,” McDaniel said.
The grant allows the school system to build on current partnership programs while expanding to offer new opportunities, Hunt said.
“Students in the class of 2018, who are currently in the seventh grade, will receive services as a cohort through middle school, high school and their first year of postsecondary education,” the release stated.
On the middle-school level, a major component of the grant will be professional development for teachers as curriculum standards increase in preparation for the transition to common-core standards.
Parents will also receive services through these partnerships.
The system will receive about $65,000 for the first year and approximately $130,00 for each consecutive year. The grant also requires a matching component.
Hunt said this will be filled through partnerships and in-kind funding from the school system. This matching component also ensures the programs put in place by the grant continue after the seventh year of grant funding.
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced state recipients of these U.S. Department of Education grants.
In addition to Bradley County Schools, 15 other school systems will also be receiving GEAR UP TN grants.