DCHS Career Technical Education Program Gets $102,000 SPARC Grant (View Video of School Board Meeting Here)

December 9, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County High School’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department is getting a grant for $102,000 to enhance programs being offered to students.

Supporting Postsecondary Access in Rural Communities (SPARC) grants from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) are awarded to distressed and at-risk counties in the state, as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) index of economic status.


During its regular monthly meeting Thursday night, the DeKalb County Board of Education gave its blessing for the grant.

SPARC is a targeted grant program for high school and adult learner populations with a specific focus on Career & Technical Education (CTE). SPARC aims to address the associated education and workforce factors that designate them as economically distressed and to remove common postsecondary education access barriers in rural counties.

According to Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education Director at DCHS, the funds will enhance, among others, the agriculture and cosmetology programs at DCHS and industry certification tests for students.

“This grant is due to the economics of our county. We did qualify this year for this grant and there are certain criteria we have to meet concerning our workforce and economics. The grant is for $102,000 and we will use this grant to make improvements in our agriculture program as well as our cosmetology, advanced manufacturing and I even have a part in there for transportation for industry certification,” said Leach.

In his monthly report on personnel, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps announced that employees Lauren Ferrell, Tina Gash, and Sara Young have been granted a leave of absence as requested and that Transportation Supervisor Michael Agee and Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School Jennifer Gay have resigned.

Director Cripps thanked Agee and Gay for their years of service to the school district.

The school board also approved a request for the DCHS girls basketball team to participate in a Christmas Tournament at Maryville December 27-30.