13:21 PM

Whites Creek H.S. Receives Grant to Promote College Access and Success

A GEAR UP grant for more than a half-million dollars from the TN Higher Education Commission will help more MNPS students get to college

Nashville, Tenn. – April 19, 2018- Metro Nashville Public Schools announced today Whites Creek High School has won a $660,625 GEAR UP grant over the next six years. The grant funds announced by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission yesterday, will provide services to students and families with the aim of increasing enrollment and success in postsecondary education.

The funding is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant, which aims to increase the number of low-income students in Tennessee who are accessing and succeeding in higher education.

Whites Creek High School is one of fifteen communities selected to receive funds. The communities were selected through a competitive application process by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the administrator of the state’s GEAR UP TN grant.

“It is our great pride and honor to be selected as the only high school in Metro Nashville Public Schools to receive GEAR UP TN grant for the next seven years,” said Dr. James K. Bailey, III, executive principal of White’s Creek H.S.

Joelton and Hayes Middle Schools were also selected for the grant.

“Through mentoring, tutoring, financial aid counseling and college visits, students develop the skills and knowledge to pursue the postsecondary opportunities available,” said Donna Gilley, director of the Academies of Nashville and Career and Technical Education in MNPS.

As part of the project, Whites Creek High School will form a local, community-based GEAR UP TN Collaborative to provide college access and success-focused services to students at Whites Creek High School, Haynes Middle School and Joelton Middle School.  Students in the Class of 2023, who are currently in the seventh grade, will receive services as a cohort through middle school, high school, and their first year of postsecondary education.

Seniors at participating high schools will also receive direct services that will help them prepare for college and apply to postsecondary programs. Services will include one-on-one mentoring, tutoring, college visits, and financial aid counseling. GEAR UP TN will also provide students across the state of Tennessee with college and financial aid resources, including a college access and success website,

Each GEAR UP TN Collaborative includes formal partnerships with at least one middle school, one high school, a higher education institution, a local board of education and at least two community-based organizations. Partners will help implement grant activities and ensure that the momentum of college access work continues beyond the six-year grant.

Whites Creek High School’s GEAR UP TN Collaborative will partner with: Belmont University, Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, Local education agency, and Brown and Caldwell, United Parcel Services, Marathon Petroleum,

Nissan, Lincoln Technology, Meharry Medical College, Metro Public Health Department, St. Thomas, Davidson County Sherriff’s Dept., Nashville Juvenile Court, TEA-Tennessee Education Association, and Tennessee Army National Guard.

This is Tennessee’s third GEAR UP grant. Tennessee’s first GEAR UP TN project, which began in 2005, resulted in a 22.8 percent increase in college-going rates in the nine rural school districts. Communities served by Tennessee’s second GEAR UP TN grant, which began in 2012, have shown impressive results, including over 9 percentage points of growth in college-going rates since 2012. Tennessee was one of ten states awarded a GEAR UP grant as part of the 2017 competition.


Metro Nashville Public Schools is one of the nation’s top 50 largest school districts, preparing 88,000 students for higher education, work and life. With the goal of being the first choice for Nashville families, Metro Schools is committed to #ExceedingGreatExpectations with the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day. The district is earning a national reputation for urban school reform, social and emotional learning and rising academic achievement. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @MetroSchools or Facebook /MetroSchools.