County schools receive $830k GEAR UP Grant

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced today that Anderson County Schools is the recipient of a $853,350 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 (GEAR UP) grant, which aims to increase the number of low-income students in Tennessee who are accessing and succeeding in higher education.

Anderson County Schools’ (specifically Clinton High School, Clinton Middle School, and Norwood Middle 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.

“We are so excited and honored to be awarded the GEAR UP TN grant! In Anderson County it is our intent to continue to promote post-secondary access for all students. This funding will support, not supplant, career exposure and college readiness initiatives which lead to success in post-secondary education.

Through improved academic performance, higher graduation rates and shared post-secondary knowledge and opportunities, it is our desire to both educate our school community and reduce the anxiety that is prevalent in so many students and their families surrounding education after high school,” said Eric Snider, Director of Secondary Education for Anderson County Schools.

As part of the project, Clinton High School and its feeder schools will form a local, community-based GEAR UP TN Collaborative to provide college access and success-focused services to students at

Clinton High School, Clinton Middle School, and Norwood 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 Clinton 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. Clinton High School’s GEAR UP TN Collaborative will partner with Roane State Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Pellissippi State Community College, Clayton Homes, SL Tennessee, Aisin, Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Junior Achievement, Techmer, and Anderson County Chamber of Commerce.

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 8 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. Tennessee was one of ten states awarded a GEAR UP grant as part of the 2017 competition.

For more information, please contact Mr. Eric Snider, CAO and Director of Secondary Education at (865) 463-2611 Ext #2813,