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The Facts:

Children who aren’t developmentally ready to enter school by age 5 risk not reaching grade-level reading by third grade and are 4 times more likely to drop out of school. The tri-county’s lowest-performing high schools are only graduating between 60-70% of their students. Research shows that high school dropouts are more than 12 years in the making. Children start learning at birth; the foundation for future learning is laid in the first few years. Disadvantaged children come to school at least two years behind their peers in pre-reading skills, and most never catch up. By 3rd grade, a child’s grades and absenteeism rates can foreshadow with 80% accuracy whether he or she will complete high school.

What We’re Doing:

Dropout Prevention Youth Council:  We convene a group of teens to get their thoughts and observations on why some of their peers choose not to stay in school and enlist them to come up with ideas on how to reach those students and to encourage them to successfully complete graduation.

Jackson’s Promise Coalition: This coalition of interested citizens is committed to increasing the number of Jackson Public School students who graduate on time prepared for college, work, and life! Please join us for a meeting at United Way (843 N. President St., Jackson). All meetings are at 2 p.m.  (March 7, April 11, May 9, Jue 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12–Holiday Party)

ACT Prep English II Exam (required for graduation) Workshops: We host free workshops within the kids’ schools to help them prepare for graduation and beyond.

Pages of Promise Book Drive:  Some of our local libraries in the most financially insecure JPS school zones have very few (if any) copies of books on the JPS required summer reading assignment lists. We partnered with BancorpSouth, The Clarion-Ledger, McDonald’s and State Farm Insurance to host a community-wide book drive to stock the shelves with books. We also hosted free reading workshops over the summer in the libraries and helped kids complete their required storyboards and writing assignments.

CEO Breakfasts: We recruit area CEOs to host informal breakfasts at their businesses giving students the opportunity to meet with successful business people, ask them questions, and to become familiar with business environments.

Summer Activities Guide: Last year we compiled and printed a comprehensive guide of camps and activities for older youth. The guide was inserted in the Jackson Free Press and was also distributed free of charge to JPS schools. We are currently updating the guide for the second printing.

Our Goals:

  • Ensuring children are developmentally ready to enter school by age 5.
  • Reducing the drop out rate in half by 2020 in our target schools.
  • The entire education continuum, from birth through 21, must be in our collective crosshairs if we want to move the needle on high school graduation. If we are to be successful and achieve our goal of decreasing the dropout rate by half by 2018, we must meet the following outcome objectives:-Ensure that children of low-income families are prepared for success in kindergarten and beyond;-Help children to read at or above grade level by 4th grade;-Prepare children for successful transitioning from elementary to middle and middle to high schools;
  • Help lower-performing students develop career aspirations before leaving school;
  • Increase the rate of high school graduation in surrounding school districts.

Our Partners and Programs in EDUCATION:

  • America’s Promise Alliance, Jackson’s Promise Alliance Partnership
  • Bethlehem Center Preschool
  • Boy Scouts, Andrew Jackson Council
  • Excel By 5 Family Support Center
  • Girl Scout Council of Greater Mississippi (Incredible Power of ME!)
  • Imagination Library
  • I.S. Sanders YMCA
  • Magnolia Speech School
  • Midtown Partners
  • Operation Shoestring
  • StampOut DropOut Partnership (United Way, Operation Shoestring, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Bethlehem Center, YMCA
  • Willowood Preschool
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Jackson

Program Highlights:

  • America’s Promise Alliance
  • StampOut DropOut Partnership
  • Excel by 5 Family Support Center
  • United Way’s Literacy Programs Imagination Library and Pages of Promise