Bradley County Schools Receive GEAR UP TN Grant To Promote College Access

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced Wednesday that Bradley County Schools/Bradley Central High School is the recipient of a $948,230 GEAR UP grant over the next six years. The grant funds will provide services to students and families with the aim of increasing enrollment and success in postsecondary education. 

The funding is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs grant, which aims to increase the number of low-income students in Tennessee who are accessing and succeeding in higher education. Bradley County Schools/Bradley Central High School is one of 15 communities selected to receive funds. The communities were selected through a competitive application process by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the administrator of the state’s GEAR UP TN grant.

Dr. Linda Cash, Bradley County director of School, said, “GEAR UP TN allows Bradley County Schools to provide more chances to develop our greatest asset- our students. The program focuses on providing explicit learning opportunities for students and prepares them for success at the next level of college and career choices. Through the GEAR UP TN grant students develop skills, knowledge and talent that will propel them to future success. In turn, the students are better prepared to become great citizens that strengthen our workforce and economy. We are excited about the opportunities provided through this grant.” 

As part of the project, Bradley County Schools/Bradley Central High School will form a local, community based GEAR UP TN Collaborative to provide college access and success-focused services to students at Bradley Central High School and Lake Forest Middle School. Students in the Class of 2023, 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. 

Seniors at participating high school will also receive direct services that will help them prepare for college and apply to postsecondary programs. Services will include one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, college visits, and financial aid counseling. GEAR UP TN will also provide students across the state of Tennessee with college and financial aid resources, including a college access and success website, 

Each GEAR UP TN Collaborative includes formal partnerships with at least one middle school, one high school, a higher education institution, a local board of education and at least two community-based organizations. Partners will help implement grant activities and ensure that the momentum of college access work continues beyond the six-year grant. Bradley County Schools/Bradley Central High School GEAR UP TN Collaborative will partner with:

Lake Forest Middle School
Cleveland State Community College
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Athens
Lee University
Bradley/Cleveland Chamber of Commerce
Tennessee Manufacturers Association
Cormetech, Inc.
Cleveland Bradley County Teachers Public Education Foundation 

Partners will provide a variety of services to students, parents and teachers and that they have outlined specifically in their commitment letters. Some of those services will include serving on the Steering Committee, teacher professional development, early post-secondary opportunities, curricular design, training space, collaborative work-force development, advise on industry best practices, tutoring, job site visits, job shadowing, guest speakers, industry tours, host workshops, and provide college access activities for parents and students.

This is Tennessee’s third GEAR UP grant. Tennessee’s first GEAR UP TN project, which began in 2005, resulted in a 22.8 percent increase in college-going rates in the nine rural school districts. Communities served by Tennessee’s second GEAR UP TN grant, which began in 2012, have shown impressive results, including over 9 percentage points of growth in college-going rates since 2012, said officials. Tennessee was one of 10 states awarded a GEAR UP grant as part of the 2017 competition.

For more information, please contact Patti Hunt, grant supervisor, Bradley County Schools, at 476-0629, Ext. 2013, 

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