Penny Schwinn

State announces new grant program to help students with disabilities

(Tennessee Department of Education press release) The Tennessee Department of Education today announced a new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Innovation Grant, making $1 million dollars available to support Tennessee school districts in implementing innovative ways to remediate for the loss of instruction during school closures for students with disabilities.

This grant will help make available federal IDEA funding to districts through a competitive grant application. Districts may apply for $5,000 to $20,000, with funding awarded to the highest evaluated applicants.

“The department is working with our district partners on minimizing the disparities students with disabilities experience due to school closures. We have prioritized funding, making this the third grant available specifically for supporting students with disabilities during COVID-19,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “As with everything related to the pandemic, we are navigating a new frontier in education, and it will require us to be innovative and creative in serving students. We are pleased to make this competitive grant available to support our districts leading the way in innovatively serving students with disabilities.”

The application is available starting Friday, June 12 through June 29 in ePlan. Additional application information for this grant is available on the department’s COVID-19 webpage.

“We are encouraged by the creative and innovative ways that districts have responded to the challenges associated with COVID-19. This creativity and innovation will be needed more than ever as we begin the process of reopening schools,” said Theresa Nicholls, Assistant Commissioner for Special Populations. “The loss of instruction due to extended school closures will have an even greater impact on vulnerable student populations, such as students with disabilities. These grants will provide much needed supports for the remediation of students with disabilities as we look forward to the relaunching of schools.”

The IDEA Innovation Grant is the third grant made available to districts specifically intended to help address the needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes an additional $5 million through IDEA part B funding formula to provide compensatory services and a $1 million Technology Partnership Grant to address technology needs that are a result of COVID-19 school closures.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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