Lauderdale County Schools was recently awarded a $3 million Innovative School Models grant by the TN Department of Education. This grant allows for LCS to create innovative, educational programming to prepare middle and high school students for the workforce of today and tomorrow. This expansion, sponsored by Governor Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly, is aimed at building readiness and preparing students for success after high school by participating in innovative local programs aligned to Tennessee’s highest-demand skills and careers.

In Lauderdale County, funds will be used to implement two new district initiatives, Diploma + (Diploma Plus) and Full STEAM Ahead. Diploma Plus and Full STEAM Ahead will change the way our students engage with career and postsecondary explorations and provide them with the necessary support to be successful in the workforce, regardless of their chosen postsecondary path.

Diploma Plus

Diploma Plus will provide multiple opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credentials, certificates, and diplomas while in high school. Investments in an onsite Mechatronics lab will provide students to receive their first two certificates towards their TCAT diploma while still attending high school. Middle College will allow students who have access barriers such as transportation, finances, etc. to earn an associate's degree simultaneously with their high school diploma. Other students will have multiple opportunities for dual enrollment credits towards a college degree. These opportunities will be vital as we prepare our students for the competitive workforce of tomorrow. Beginning in our younger grades provides a more seamless trajectory from middle school through high school and into multiple postsecondary paths leading to high wage, high demand careers.

Full STEAM Ahead

Full STEAM Ahead will provide students with opportunities at an earlier age to extend their learning and develop their knowledge through creation, design, assembly and operation. Makerspace labs will be integrated to empower students to lead their own learning and collaborate with classmates while engaging in various hands-on activities. Students will learn to think critically and learn problem-solving skills. They will have opportunities for more hands-on learning which will allow students to design, experiment, build and invent as they are deeply engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Students will have more opportunities for summer learning and advising as they explore their interests and begin to make education and career choices. College and on-site field trips will be planned that will expose our students to available opportunities beyond middle and high school. With a better understanding of the working world, our young people can more easily envision how they fit successfully into the adult world.  These opportunities will be vital as we prepare our students for the competitive workforce of tomorrow.