2012 TCASN Grantees

SEED GRANT (two-year stepped, recurring funding)

Franklin County Schools: $130,000 (1,400 students/300 parents)

The TCASN Seed Grant moved Franklin County Schools toward achieving its long-range goal of increasing its college-going rate from 42 percent to 52 percent by 2016. In the two years of the TCASN Grant, FCS used a three-tiered approach focused on raising college awareness, increasing college aspirations, and assisting with affordability. FCS hired a postsecondary coach to organize community events to share postsecondary-going information such as saving, preparing, and planning with families of students in grades three through twelve. The grant allowed FCS to offer a new online course through Motlow State Community College; implement an outreach campaign that included community presentations and collateral materials; establish an after-school club/internship for postsecondary-seeking student leaders; host a Journey-to-Careers Fair that charted the high school and postsecondary education and/or training needed to secure a range of careers; and provide mock college-admission interviews.


Bridging the Math Divide: McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk County Schools: $40,000 (200 students)

In partnership with Cleveland State Community College, this project redesigned the 4th-year high school math bridge course for students who had not yet demonstrated college readiness and had an ACT score of 19 or below at the end of their Junior Year. This project introduced a redesigned methodology into high school classrooms while providing curriculum for the 4th-year high school bridge math course.

Chattanooga Public Education Foundation – PEF: $40,000 (80 students)

PEF is an independent, non-profit, community-based organization that for twenty-five years has worked in partnership with Hamilton County Schools. The TCASN grant enhanced SOAR – Student Opportunities, Access and Retention – by adding a mentor and cohort support structure. These support structures helped increase the persistence and success rates of SOAR students attaining a four-year degree. In spring 2011, PEF launched SOAR with funds from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. SOAR aims to boost college completion rates for Hamilton County students who enroll in Chattanooga State Community College (ChSCC) with plans to move on to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) for completion of a 4-year bachelor’s degree. 

Kingsbury High School: $40,000 (360 students)

Kingsbury High School serves more Hispanic/Latino students than any other Memphis high school. In partnership with THEC, the Lumina Foundation and Latino Memphis, Kingsbury is part of the Memphis Latino College Mentor Corps (Memphis CMC). The TCASN grant supported the following activities: financial aid workshops for Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino families; development and delivery of a locally relevant database of scholarship opportunities; assistance to individuals retaking the ACT and submitting college applications; college-approved graphing calculators for students matched with tutors/mentors; a college textbook lending library, attendance of career-related High School Day activities at Southwest Community College or enrollment assistance in Southwest classes for Fall 2013; and an in-state West Tennessee college tour for students and parents.

Martha O’Bryan Center: $40,000 (340 students)

The Martha O’Bryan Center’s Top Floor program serves low-income/first-generation youth at Stratford High School (Nashville). The TCASN Model Program Grant helped fund a high school transitional case manager, college campus visits, and college application fees for eligible students. Additionally, because many students were unable to fully access the services of Top Floor, which operates from 2 to 7 p.m. due to transportation barriers, TCASN funding provided twilight bus services to participating students.

Meigs County Schools’ College Access Program: $40,000 (840 students)

Meigs County Schools are located in rural Southeast Tennessee. Despite boasting high graduation rates, the postsecondary enrollment rate was well below state average. The college access program provided students with the crucial information and experiences needed to understand the importance of postsecondary education. The program worked with students in grades 5-12 to increase student ACT scores and other college-readiness benchmarks, increase the number of students participating in campus tours, and increase the number of students applying to college and completing the FAFSA.

Oasis Center: $40,000 (140 students)

Oasis College Connection provides college access programming into 15 Metro Nashville public high schools and to Nashville State Community College. Through TCASN funding, Oasis Center’s Oasis College Connection program (Nashville) provided additional college retention and success services to low-income, first generation youth attending Nashville State Community College. The work at NSCC had been limited to 100 students due to intensive 1:1 mentoring that focuses on persistence, retention, and completion. With this grant, Oasis College Connection expanded its services to include more students and further address postsecondary attainment barriers affecting first-generation/low-income students.

tnAchieves: $40,000 (7,088 students)

tnAchieves provides last dollar scholarships for community college and volunteer college mentors to 33 school districts, 126 high schools, nine of the 13 community colleges and two technology centers in 23 counties. tnAchieves used TCASN support to develop more structured supports for college student retention by incorporating group meetings with college students, community service projects, ambassador programs at each college campus, and individual student progress meetings. Because tnAchieves increased from working within three post-secondary institutions to eleven, TCASN funding also helped hire a part-time college success coordinator.


Crockett County High School: $15,000 (778 students)

TCASN funds supported the purchase of a small computer lab for Crockett County High School’s counseling office. Students were able to use the computers before, during and after school to research careers and colleges; complete college applications, scholarships and financial aid forms (FAFSA); apply for ACT Testing; and participate in ACT prep work and tutoring.

East End Prep Academy: $15,000 (220 students)

East End Prep Academy is a charter elementary school located in East Nashville. East End Prep’s local high school reported that in 2011, 54 percent of its student body was at basic or below basic proficiency for reading/languages. TCASN funding was used to purchase the STEP (Student Tracking, Evaluation and Portfolio System) assessment program, a comprehensive software package that is widely regarded as the most effective and efficient industry tool for assessing literacy among students.

Franklin County School District: $15,000 (950 students)

Franklin County School District used TCASN funding to conduct a gap analysis to identify specific barriers preventing its students from pursuing or persisting in education/training after high school. The gap analysis enabled the FCS’s postsecondary coach to better tailor and create evidence-based interventions.

Knox County Schools: $15,000 (2,668 students)

TCASN funding sent additional teachers and leaders to professional development training at the AVID Summer Institute. AVID trains educators how to use college readiness learning methodologies, teaching strategies and best practices in all classes across a school site. In this way, every student learns the critical thinking, study skills, and critical reading and writing skills needed to achieve success in higher education and career paths.

MadisonAchieves: $15,000 (1,100 students)

MadisonAchieves worked with Jackson State Community College and the Jackson-Madison County School System to provide opportunities for academic remediation during high school and prior to college enrollment. With this grant, many students who would otherwise have entered college facing the barrier of remediation were, instead, enrolled in “for credit” classes.

 Martha O’Bryan Center: $15,000 (30 students)

TCASN funding was used to pilot the Martha O'Bryan Postsecondary Boot Camp, which aimed to reduce the number of postsecondary students needing remedial coursework. The program met four days a week during June 2013, and expanded upon Top Floor services by providing a bridge between high school and college.

Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (MASE): $15,000 (30 students)

MASE, a charter high school located in Memphis, served a community with an 85 percent poverty rate. TCASN funding was used to pilot a college interest and awareness program that provided 9th grade students with a series of on-campus college visits and tours.

Southern Word: $15,000 (4,000 students)

Inspired by University of Wisconsin – Madison’s First Wave Spoken Word and Urban Arts Learning Community, a postsecondary retention program that offers students the opportunity to live, study, and create together, Southern Word used TCASN funding to create an inter-university spoken word and hip hop performance troupe. The troupe, consisting of at least eight representatives from various Middle Tennessee higher education institutions, conducted ten performances at Tennessee high schools and middle schools and made the performances available online for in-class viewings.  

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC): $15,000 (2,000 students)

TCASN funding supported the STUDY Foundation (Scholars in Tennessee Uplifting the Dreams of Youth), a project launched by TIRRC’s youth leaders in 2010 to provide immigrant students with the tools to stay in school, go to college, and develop their skills as leaders. Funds were used create a college access guide with information that specifically spoke to immigrant students from different cultural backgrounds and different regions of the state. The guide was translated into Spanish and two other languages.

Wright Middle School: $15,000 (50 students)

The grant allowed for the creation of an academic element, "Reallife University, A Summer Adventure" to the Coleman summer program. Reallife University provided students the opportunity to connect academics with “real-life” experiences through a career and life skills simulation event.