Tennessee’s K-12 public middle and high schools are being called upon to think innovatively about their role in ensuring all students move successfully from high school to postsecondary education and the workforce.

Innovative School Models Resources

As schools across the state begin responding to the Innovative School Models Grant opportunity, there are many promising practices to consider. The information below is organized into three categories to support a planning progression, moving from information about the Innovative School Models Grant opportunity, to a review of Tennessee Case Studies from districts that received funding through the Innovative High School Models Grant, and, finally, into a Planning Guide and Implementation Resource to support strong proposal design and innovation.

Background Information

Tennessee has made a significant investments in this area over the last year, including:

  • In May of 2021, $30 million dollars in funding was awarded to 21 districts through a competitive Innovative High Schools grant aimed at fostering local community partnerships to prepare high school students for careers in their communities.
  • In January of 2022, Governor Bill Lee dramatically extended this opportunity by announcing an additional $500 million investment that would allow every high school and middle school to apply for $1 million and $500,000 in grant funds, respectively, to support their own efforts in this area.
  • Finally, in April of 2022, Tennessee passed a student-based funding formula, Tennessee’s Investment in Student Achievement (TISA), which is projected to provide $5,000 per eligible student enrolled in a CTE course, subject to how the courses are aligned to in-demand and high-wage occupations.

These investments come at a critical time as the most recent data show dramatic declines in college going over the last two years. These results indicate that fewer students may be on a path to prosperity in an economy where two-thirds of new jobs are projected to require a postsecondary credential.

  • Tennessee experienced a 9 percentage point drop overall in college going between 2019 and 2021, declining from 61.8 percent to 52.8 percent.
  • This decline was even steeper for Black and Latino students, who experienced a drop of 11 percentage points in college going from 55.4 percent to 44 percent for Black students and 46.1 percent to 35.0 percent for Latino students.

Taken together, the focused resources and most recent college-going data send a clear message to the state’s middle and high schools that they play a central role in supporting all students to make a successful transition from K-12 to postsecondary life.


Have questions about these resources or need support on your proposal? Email us at info@tnscore.org and we’ll connect you with a SCORE team member who can assist you.