PERRY COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - School may be out for summer, but the Perry County School District is staying connected to students.
Each Monday and Wednesday, district employees gather at Perry Central High School. They pack up books, food and arts & crafts supplies into packets. Four school buses are filled with the supplies and are distributed to students throughout the community.
The program is in year two of a three-year grant from the Mississippi Department of Education. According to officials, this year looks a bit different.
“This pandemic has caused us as school officials to have to find a different approach to things,” said Jasmine Smith, director of Federal Programs and Curriculum at the Perry County School District. “And different isn’t always bad.”
Smith says 161 students are enrolled in the reading program, while 150 students are enrolled for meals.
The program does not reach just students, but members of their household as well.
“We take children their packets, their instructional packets along with their meals that they eat in their household,” said Perry County School District assistant teacher and bus driver Keneedra Wideman. “So, if a household has like four or five members, we make sure that the children have meals as well as the parents or whoever else is in the household with them.”
The summer program is a way to not only keep students engaged over the summer, but is also a way to keep faculty and staff connected to their students.
“It’s a big enjoyment. Most of the time their kids will be outside and they’re out with their dogs or they’re on their bikes or scooters, so it makes me really happy to see they’re taking advantage of the summer reading program,” said Wideman.
The summer reading program serves students at South Perry Elementary School and Runnelstown Elementary School.