The William Carey University School of Education has been honored by the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education as a member of a community partnership to improve Earl Travillion Attendance Center in Hattiesburg.
The School of Education and several other organizations, including PineBelt360, the Impact Education Group, SchoolStatus and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, have partnered with the attendance center to offer a variety of volunteer services, including campus beautification, student mentoring and professional development.
Kristina Pollard, attendance center principal, said the partnership was formed after a needs assessment in 2015 revealed several necessary improvement areas. Through a collaboration with the School of Education and the Impact Education Group, school improvement goals, which include a focus on maximizing student achievement and enhancing school safety and pride, were developed and put in place for the 2015-2016 school year.
“The partnership provides a team of individuals invested in the improvement of the attendance center,” said Pollard. “Each entity provides a support service that would otherwise seem impossible to obtain financially.”
Carey’s contributions to the partnership beyond professional development have been numerous, according to Pollard, and range from free after-school tutoring services to the donation of curriculum and instructional materials. Education students completing curriculum requirements are also serving at the attendance center and offering reading and math support for students.
Education professors have also participated in campus beautification projects. In July 2015, more than 120 volunteers from across the partnership and from other local organizations gathered at the school for PineBelt360’s annual Shine event. During the event, volunteers cleaned, painted and helped rearrange classrooms.
“The partnership is key to implementing our improvement goals,” said Pollard. “It has helped create a positive environment for teachers and students … and has also created opportunities for parents and community members to be involved in the school.”
Dr. Ben Burnett, dean of the School of Education, said the partnership is an example of “Going the Extra Mile,” the university’s theme verse for 2015-2016.
“Carey is committed to helping the attendance center increase student test scores and meet its improvement goals,” said Burnett. “The partnership is an excellent example of an extra mile by several partners to benefit a worthy cause.”
The partnership will be presented with the Partnership Excellence Award during the annual MAPE Governor’s Awards luncheon at the Hilton Jackson on March 15. A partnership between Carey and Hattiesburg High School to offer an ACT and college preparatory program will also be honored.