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Four East Tennessee school districts win state grants for fostering community partnerships

The Innovative High School Models program is meant to encourage schools to partner with higher education and local employers to prepare students for success.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Four East Tennessee school districts won state grants for working to connect with the community and bring unique opportunities to students.

Hamblen County Schools, Oak Ridge City Schools, Alcoa City Schools and Cumberland County Schools were all selected as part of the state-run Innovative High School Models program.

Oak Ridge City Schools were chosen for its plans to create an i-School. In its plan, students will work with the University of Tennesse, Roane State Community College and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to solve real-world problems by applying iterative design skills.

Hamblen County Schools partnered with Cocke County Schools for Turning Pathways into Highways, which takes students through career awareness programs and immerses them in technical education programs.

Alcoa City Schools won a grant for a program that gives students a chance to fast-track into nursing careers, reducing barriers to opportunities after high school and providing support for students pursuing a career in health care.

Cumberland County Schools also won a grant for its plan to partner with Azure Flight Support to develop a training curriculum for students who want to take to the skies after high school.

The Innovative High School Models program is run through the Tennessee Department of Education and is meant to encourage strong and strategic partnerships between public school districts, higher education institutions and local employers. By building partnerships, educators hope students will be better prepared for success after high school.

According to a release, 21 school districts were chosen in total across the state with a total of $30 million awarded through an application process. Individual grants were awarded from $750,000 through $2 million. 

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