Collierville Schools awarded innovation grant

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Last week, Collierville Schools was named one of 21 school districts in the state to be awarded the new Innovative High School Models Grant by the Tennessee Department of Education. “It is the perfect time to be a dragon,” said Superintendent Dr. Gary Lilly. “The Innovative High School Models grant will allow our students to soar to new heights, both academically and professionally, while fostering deeper connections with our local industry experts.”The Innovative High School Models Grant will prepare our young dragons for careers within a tertiary labor market, including aviation mechanics, drone piloting, and flight (pilots).“They have a plan that will work cooperatively with our efforts at FedEx to expand aviation opportunities for our local students,” said Patrick DiMento, Vice President of Flight Operations, FedEx Express.  “Their three-pronged approach including flight (pilots), mechanics, and drone operation are critical to the labor market not only in Tennessee but nationally.”Our strategic partnerships with Helena Chemical, Rantizo Drones, and local-global transportation and logistics company, FedEx, will encourage intentional, unique partnerships that will expand postsecondary opportunities and career readiness pathways with local enterprises.Partnering with our local experts will inspire critical thinking in reimagining our curriculum landscape while blending disguised learning experiences with high-quality instructional interactions.The state grant will allow Collierville Schools to create a seamless pipeline to meet the needs of high-wage and high-demand jobs in the greater Shelby County area. “Building upon our state’s history of strong public-private partnerships, the Innovative High Schools Models program will provide more opportunities for students to explore and succeed in high-demand careers, for industry to develop local talent, and for schools to creatively meet the needs of their community,” said Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn.In total, $30 million in grant funding was awarded through a competitive application process, with individual grant awards from $750,000 to $2 million, to establish strategic partnerships that accelerate and increase student attainment of high-quality, in-demand postsecondary credentials. The total grant allocation of $2 million was awarded to Collierville Schools to create and sustain a reimagined high school career readiness model. Collierville Schools’ Director of Career and Technical Education, Brett Heinrich said, “we have been waiting for an opportunity like this for quite some time. The Innovative High School Models Grant will catapult the CTE learning experience to a new level. Our students will be well equipped with the necessary tools to be both college and career ready. I am excited about the opportunities for our students and community as a whole.”