Smyrna High School received a $10,000 civics grant from the State of Tennessee, the Department of Education said.

Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn awarded 21 Governor’s Civics Seal mini-grants promoting life-long civic engagement to schools, including Smyrna High.

Smyrna Principal Dr. Sherri Southerland said in an email, “All of the plans for the grant better enable the school to attain the goals set forth in Governor Lee’s new statewide Civic Seal program. The majority of the grant will help increase the number of students able to participate in our teams for Model United Nations and the YMCA Youth in Government Conferences (mock state government). Hopefully the grant will also help bring attention to the programs so that community members might be willing to sponsor students in future years.”

Southerland’s email continued, “It will help sponsor a legislative project and visit to the state capitol and TN State Museum for the government students in 2020-2021. A portion of the grant will also help pay for professional development for two teachers. They will attend sessions specifically related to civics in order to help the school attain the new Civics Seal on the state report card. These teachers will then share this knowledge in other local professional development sessions.

Lee said in a statement, "Teaching civics to our students is a key priority of my administration, and I'm pleased to see this initiative is taking shape. Thanks to these new resources, we can better prepare our students in the classroom and in life for what it means to be a citizen of this great nation."

The mini-grants allocate $220,000 to support public schools and districts implementing high-quality civic education programs that result in readiness for college, career, and civic life.

The grants will be used in the 2020-21 school year to fund programs that include:

  • promoting life-long civic engagement by providing access to high-quality, standards-based civics resources;
  • establishing civics programs in rural and urban schools and districts;
  • supporting highly effective educators through civics-based professional development; and
  • preparing schools and districts to earn the Governor’s Civics Seal.

Governor’s Civics Seal Mini-Grant recipients were selected through a rigorous and competitive application process. Districts and schools submitted applications outlining the strengths of their current civics programming. Additionally, applicants presented a proposal to illustrate how the school or district would utilize grant funds to provide high-quality standards-based civics resources, establish civics programming, provide civics-based professional development for teachers, and/or prepare schools and districts to earn the Governor’s Civics Seal.

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