Important Announcements:

TDOE Releases Intent to Apply for Innovative School Models Grant

NASHVILLE / WOODBURY: The Tennessee Department of Education released the intent to apply for the $500 million Tennessee Innovative School Models (opens link in new tab) grant opportunity to boost opportunities for career readiness and student success statewide is open beginning, July 7 through July 22. Districts can access the intent to apply here (opens link in new tab). 

During the month of July, the department is celebrating “Innovative School Models” month, which is the primary state initiative within the “Student Readiness” priority in the “Best for All” strategic plan. The “Innovative School Models” grant opportunity expands on the department’s initial ESSER investment of $30 million with an additional $500 million investment of state funds designed to eliminate structural barriers that exist between middle and high school, workforce, and post-secondary opportunities. These models allow students the ability to seamlessly make connections earlier and graduate high school prepared to successfully complete a post-secondary credential or excel in a career pathway of their choice. 

“Thanks to the investment of Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly, the Innovative School Models Grant opportunity will provide half a billion dollars to maximize opportunities for students to explore and succeed in high-demand careers, for industry to develop local talent, and for schools to create programs that meet the needs of their communities,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This opportunity can be a game-changer in helping districts to re-imagine the possible and create innovative, high-impact, and meaningful experiences for middle and high school students in Tennessee.”

The state will invest $500 million over the next four years to give all traditional, public middle and high schools the opportunity to establish an innovative school model. Funding will be awarded to schools as follows: 

·         Middle schools with 100 students or more are eligible for up to $500,000. 

·         Schools combining both middle and high school grades that have more than 100 students are eligible for up to $500,000. 

·         Middle schools and high schools with less than 100 students are eligible for up to $200,000. 

·         High schools with more than 100 students are eligible for up to $1,000,000. 

Supporting resources may be found here (opens link in new tab), including FAQs (opens link in new tab) and a guidance document (opens link in new tab).

In May 2021, the department awarded 21 school district Innovative High School Model grants (opens link in new tab), which included an initial investment of $30 million to foster local community partnerships that boost student readiness. These partnerships have impacted students’ experiences and readiness for the workforce and post-secondary opportunities. 

Building upon the state’s strong commitment to ensure Tennessee is future workforce ready, Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly made an historic investment of $500 million to bring Innovative School Models to every public high school and middle school in the state.

“Cannon County Schools is tremendously excited about this opportunity to see our students succeed in Career and Technical Education based on our own area’s needs,” said William Freddy Curtis, Director of Schools, Cannon County Schools. “These most needed funds will assist us to modernize and develop our CTE Programs at Cannon County Middle School and Cannon County High School that will directly aid our students to provide opportunities for these students to succeed and reach their full potential.”

“Cannon County Schools is excited to participate in the Innovative School Models funding opportunity. The Innovative School Models empower schools to transform the traditional high school and middle school environment to foster a culture of college and career awareness and readiness. With this initiative, learners in grades 6-12 will be provided resources, flexibility, and technical support to successfully re-imagine time, space, partnerships, and modes of learning to engage all students,” said Crystal Kennedy, Career and Technical Education Director Cannon County Schools. “Cannon County High School will receive up to $1 million and Cannon County Middle School will receive up to $500,000. These funds will be integral in expanding career and technical opportunities at both schools as well as bridge the gap between secondary and post-secondary education. We are excited to get started and look forward to seeing all of the new and exciting opportunities for student success.”

For additional information about Tennessee’s Innovative School Models initiative, click here (,opens link in new tab).

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact   

For local media inquiries, contact William Freddy Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools, at (629) 201-4801, extension 10101 or at for local Cannon County Schools information.

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