The school system will receive $167,065 over the next three years, according to BCS Small Learning Communities program director Patti Hunt.
“It really helps us initiate college access activities for students, parents and in the community,” Hunt said.
Grant funds will be awarded in stair-step allotments. The school system will receive $70,000 in the first year, $60,000 the second and $40,000 third year.
Hunt said the program gave school systems a lot of flexibility in how they developed the program for their grant proposal.
“We structured ours more to create a college-going culture in not just our students and faculty, but in our parents too,” Hunt said.
Hunt developed the grant proposal with the help of Whitney Harden and Melissa Presswood.
The grant will be used to fund programs and events at Bradley Central High School and Lake Forest Middle School.
Lake Forest was included in the grant, Hunt said, because the sooner students begin preparing for college the more likely they are to attend.
Programs will include a college planning seminar for high school juniors, assistance for teachers in finding ways to incorporate strategies for the ACT and give students more opportunities to visit prospective colleges with their parents.
Students in these schools will also receive a quarterly newsletter highlighting planning for college.
Hunt said she was excited about offering this new resource to students.
Hunt said giving parents the opportunity to attend such a visit will provide a better understanding of the process and what the student would experience if they attended.
“Sending a student to college is a little scary as a parent sometimes (especially the first time),” Hunt said.
Many local parents have not attended college, so knowing all the steps to preparation is difficult, Hunt said.
The grant builds on many of the things the school system has implemented through the Small Learning Communities grant.
“We’ve had some ideas for things we would like to do with middle school, but we can’t fund it through SLC because we can’t fund middle school through SLC,” Hunt said.
On the middle school level, the grant will help provide transition workshops for eighth-grade students.
Hunt said the workshop would focus on how important ninth- grade success is, information about the ACT and the importance of planning for college.
There are a number of post-secondary opportunities available to students, but many are unsure how to pursue them, according to Hunt.
“We are working toward students looking beyond high school to post secondary,” Hunt said.
Hunt and her team named their grant, “Seeding Bradley County Schools for post-secondary success.”
Although the grant scores have not been returned to the system yet, Hunt said she had been told Bradley County School’s application received the highest score.
In preparation for applying for the grant, Hunt attended a Tennessee College Access and Success network conference in Nashville.
“They had recommendedif you wanted to apply for this grant you attend and I did,” Hunt said.
The conference also featured a question and answer session on the grant.
Hunt is already looking into ways to sustain the programs beyond the grant funding. The grant was made possible through Race to the Top funding, and awarded by the Tennessee College Access and Success Network.
Memphis City Schools and Metro Nashville Public Schools were also named recipients of seed grants.