JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The superintendent of Jefferson Davis County schools said, “If there is ever a magical solution in education, then it would be literacy.”
The district is changing lives in their schools and communities after earning the award of a competitive $2 million grant.
The ‘Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program’ grant is now in the hands of leaders in the Jefferson Davis County School District to help water their students.
“We are blessed and highly favored to get such a competitive grant that will afford us to put more resources into our schools and most importantly into the homes,” said Will Russell, superintendent of Jefferson Davis County District.
The competitive grant comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Academic Improvement.
Russell said they are excited to be one of three school districts in Mississippi to get the grant. He said only 40 schools got the grant in the United States.
Karey Alegria, the AIRS Project Director, applied for the grant, which now pays for several projects.
They all work to give students of a wide age frame the power of knowledge.
“It’s mainly to promote literacy and teach young children how to read. Also, it is to push literacy from birth to 12th Grade,” Alegria said.
“Small counties like these don’t get the recognition that these others get,” said Le’Asia Keys, a junior in the school district.
With this grant, she said the students, “get to do the things that other schools can do.”
“I had a great team to work on this. They did an outstanding job and obviously, we have the grant,” Russell said.
“We’re going to implement it to its fullest," Russell added.
It’s a huge win for a small district. The victory aids in a list of learning opportunities like comprehensive literacy model, professional learning, access to resources, stem integration, even camps and extended day opportunities to get all hands on deck.
“We have partnered with the dentist offices, barbershops, and any types of businesses that have kids coming in to provide kids with books,” Alegria said. “We look forward to partnering with my families in the district that we have not reached out to yet and making a difference in the lives of our kids.”
Alegria said the district already reached out to 54 families. This grant also allowed them to add personnel that goes to homes to promote literacy.