Last week, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the 18 schools selected to participate in the first cohort of the Teaching All Students (TAS) Initiative to serve students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Through a five-year, $5.5 million State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG), the first cohort of this initiative will strengthen instructional practices in schools across the state to better support students with significant cognitive disabilities.
The TAS Initiative will fund training, coaching, and tools to help high school teachers and staff build an accessible learning environment for all students, with the goals of reducing the achievement gap and increasing the graduation rate and enrollment in postsecondary education through inclusive higher education, technical colleges, community colleges and competitive integrated employment for students with complex needs.
“Through this grant, the department is able to launch the Teaching All Students Initiative to provide an opportunity for schools across the state to focus on supports for our students with complex needs to help them reach their fullest potential,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “All students deserve access to a high-quality education and this grant provides highly-requested technical assistance to support our teachers as they provide instruction to students with disabilities.”
From across the state, high school teams, composed of a school administrator, general education teacher, special education teacher, and district special education director submitted applications for the opportunity to participate in TAS trainings, coaching, and technical assistance.
The following schools were selected to participate in the TAS Initiative:
• Cascade High School, Bedford County Schools
• East Hamilton High School, Hamilton County Schools
• Hillwood High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools
• Hixson High School, Hamilton County Schools
• Houston High School, Germantown Municipal School District
• KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School, Metro Nashville Public Schools/KIPP Nashville Schools
• Lookout Valley High School, Hamilton County Schools
• Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep High School, Frayser Community Schools—Achievement School District
• Maryville City High School, Maryville City Schools
• McMinn County High School, McMinn County Schools
• Sequatchie County High School, Sequatchie County Schools
• South Fulton Middle and High School, Obion County Schools
• South Greene High School, Greene County Schools
• Tullahoma High School, Tullahoma City Schools
• Volunteer High Schools, Hawkins County Schools
• Westview High School, Weakley County Schools
• White County High School, White County Schools
• White House Heritage High School, Robertson County Schools
Additionally, selected schools will receive mini-grants for implementation of the TAS Initiative. Through a competitive procurement process, additional partners will be selected to help schools implement this work.
Administered through the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) within the U.S. Department of Education, the State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG) program assists state education agencies and their partners to improve results for children with disabilities through systems of professional development and dissemination of knowledge about best practices to educators and families.
This grant builds on the department’s previous SPDG and supports teachers in providing students with disabilities with meaningful access to and participation in standards-aligned instruction.