Hamilton County high schools and middle schools will receive $23.5 million, collectively, to boost student success and career readiness.
On Thursday, the Board of Education voted unanimously to allow the district to submit applications for the grant funds offered through the state.
The grant, called the Innovative Schools Model Grant, expands on Tennessee's initial Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund investment of $30 million with an additional $500 million aimed at eliminating structural barriers among high school, the workforce and post-secondary systems. The funds will be doled out over the next four years.
Schools will have the liberty to develop new programs -- or expand existing ones -- that offer students opportunities to earn college credit or gain career expertise before they graduate high school. Examples of these programs, also known as Career and Technical Education, are Hamilton County Schools' Future-Ready Institutes, which are offered at 13 high schools. Students enroll beginning in grade 9 and can study a range of trades, including welding, interior design and audio/video production.
"ISM is the department's strategy to empower schools to transform the traditional high school and middle school models to foster a culture of college and career awareness and readiness," a memorandum to board members stated.
Board Chairman Tucker McClendon, R-East Ridge, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in a previous interview that the grant is also an effort to help boost academic achievement and academic growth -- both areas in which students are struggling.
According to a state report released Monday, Hamilton County students haven't shown as much academic growth compared to their peers in other districts. However, students enrolled in Future-Ready Institutes and those with career and technical education concentrations scored high in the areas of literacy, literacy and numeracy combined, and had overall high composite scores.
Ten percent of the funds may be used for certain facility needs, but not to supplement facility projects like window replacements. Facilities expenses that exceed 10% of the allocation may be approved by the department upon request.
Schools receiving an allocation of $1 million are:
Brainerd High School
Central High School
East Hamilton High School
East Ridge High School
Hamilton County Collegiate Academy
Hixson High School
Ooltewah High School
Red Bank High School
Sequoyah High School
Soddy Daisy High School
STEM School Chattanooga
The Howard School
Schools receiving an allocation of $500,000 are:
Brown Middle School
Chattanooga High Center For Creative Arts
Chattanooga School For Arts And Sciences Upper
Chattanooga School For The Liberal Arts
Dalewood Middle School
East Hamilton Middle School
East Lake Academy Of Fine Arts
East Ridge Middle School
Hixson Middle School
Howard Connect Academy
Hunter Middle School
Loftis Middle School
Lookout Valley Middle / High School
Normal Park Museum Magnet School
Ooltewah Middle School
Orchard Knob Middle
Red Bank Middle School
Sale Creek Middle / High School
Signal Mountain Middle/High School
Soddy Daisy Middle School
Tyner Middle Academy
Contact Carmen Nesbitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @carmen_nesbitt.