Federal Programs and Grants

The office of Federal Programs and Grants supports schools by acquiring, distributing and using resources to drive student achievement and system improvement.

Need funding for your MNPS program or school, but aren’t sure where to start? Below is an overview of some information to assist you in understanding programs and finding available resources for your programs or schools.

Federal Programs

The Title I Program, which is now the pillar of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), is our oldest and largest federally funded education program, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The Federal Government provides the financial assistance through state educational agencies (SEAs) to local educational agencies (LEAs) and public schools.

Dating back to 1965, its main purpose has been to help underprivileged children meet challenging state academic standards. In other words, schools with a lower-income student base are provided Title I funding as an equitable measure to boost the academic success of those who are behind in their education or at risk of falling behind. The Title I Program aims to bridge the gap between low-income students and their moderate-to-high-income peers.

There are thousands of Title I schools nationwide, and they provide students with extra instructional support beyond the regular classroom to help low-achieving children meet state standards in core academic subjects. The schools coordinate and integrate resources and services from federal, state, and local sources. To be considered for Title I school funds, at least 40% of the students must be considered low-income.

The Equity and Diversity Team is comprised of two district-wide Equity and Diversity Coaches who provide various types of professional learning opportunities for MNPS staff members. These offerings are designed to build understanding and expand capacity in educating all students, with emphasis on our historically marginalized students, and focus on comprehending the sociopolitical, generational, and historical factors that impede their achievement and success.

The specific areas of focus include: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion foundations; implicit bias; cultural oppression; microaggressions; cultural wealth of racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse students; examination of race in the classroom; culturally responsive pedagogy; and the culture of poverty myth. Professional learning opportunities for educators include in-person sessions, workshops, group discussions, book studies, embedded coaching, and more.

The Federal Programs' Special Populations Team works to ensure all children of vulnerable populations have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach grade-level proficiency.

This task is even more complex with our most vulnerable populations of students, including students labeled as neglected, delinquent, foster, migrant, and students who attend priority schools.

Due to the complex needs of these students, our Special Populations Team collaborates with school officials and other external stakeholders such as the Department of Child Services and the nonprofit Conexión Américas to make data-based decisions that ensure resources are aligned, adequate, and appropriate to meet the educational challenges of these at-risk-students served.

The Office for Civil Rights is responsible for investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination related to programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

A complaint of discrimination can be filed by anyone who believes that an education institution that receives Federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability.

Visit the Office of Civil Rights to file a complaint.

The MNPS Office of Federal Programs and Grants facilitates equitable services requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for eligible students enrolled in nonprofit private elementary and secondary schools and, as applicable, their teachers and parents.

Intent to Participate forms are sent to all Davidson County private schools (as listed in the TN Department of Education Nonpublic Schools directory) in December. Schools wishing to participate in Title I, Title II-A, Title III or Title IV should return the Intent form by January 25. Participating schools are required to attend consultation meetings to create a service delivery plan.



Federal Grants

A government grant funds public service projects that stimulate the economy. Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs that will benefit specific parts of the population or community as a whole. MNPS has been endowed with federal grant dollars to help achieve the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day.

Metro Nashville Public Schools has been awarded a GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant over the next seven years.

The grant will serve a cohort of 6th and 7th grade high-need students who would fall into the category of first-generation college students and will follow these students for seven years until the 7th grade class enters postsecondary. The 10 MNPS middle schools participating in this grant are: Antioch, Apollo, Gra-Mar, Jere Baxter, John Early, Margaret Allen, McMurray, Moses McKissack, Stratford STEM and Wright.

These schools serve a high population of socio-economically disadvantaged students and are feeders into high schools in which college attendance rates are lower than the district average.

More than a dozen partners signed on in support of the project and were identified because of existing services provided to Metro Schools in the areas of literacy and college preparation. These partners will assist with summer camps, host college visits, and provide mentors to students, among other services.

Partners include Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Nashville State Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Nashville, Conexión Américas, Martha O'Bryan Center, Nashville Technology Council, Oasis Center, Opportunity NOW, Project LIT, Southern Word, Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS), Tennessee College Access and Success Network, Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation.

Metro Schools frequently collaborates with university, business and community partners. If you are seeking to establish a partnership with us or to obtain MNPS support for your funded program, contact us about your project.



Resources

Learn more about the federal laws instituted to protect students' rights to learn.

Every day you have the opportunity to change the educational trajectory of your MNPS students! One way to do so is by applying for a grant. When writing a grant proposal, develop SMART objectives. What does it mean to develop SMART objectives? Indicate simple and clear goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.

Be sure to proofread your application or grant proposal before submitting it. Have a trusted colleague or friend review the grammatical structure and content of your proposal. As you submit the grant application, take pride in knowing that you took a huge step towards changing the lives of tomorrow's leaders!

Visit these resources to learn how you can apply for a grant for your school or the school district:

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

Grants.gov

Grant Writing Reference



Contact Us

Executive Director Phyllis Dyer Phyllis.Dyer@mnps.org
Director, Grants Management Alyson Lerma Alyson.Lerma@mnps.org
Director, ESEA Special Populations Quache Spencer Quache.Spencer@mnps.org
Director, ESEA Title I Michael White Michael.White@mnps.org
Coach, Equity and Diversity Alisha Keig Alisha.Keig@mnps.org
Coach, Equity and Diversity Joy Guss Joy.Guss@mnps.org
Coordinator, ESEA Grants Phyllis Dyer Phyllis.Dyer@mnps.org
Coordinator, ESEA Grants Laura Nichols Laura.Nichols@mnps.org
Coordinator, ESSA Compliance Jeannine Renfro Jeannine.Renfro@mnps.org
Coordinator, ESEA Fiscal Kay Simpson Kay.Simpson@mnps.org
Coordinator, Homeless Catherine Knowles Catherine.Knowles@mnps.org
Coordinator, GEAR-UP John-Paul Gray John-Paul.Gray@mnps.org