Jackson Public Schools - Pandemic Partnership Response
Jackson Public Schools with Park Place Baptist Church, JPS Partners in Education, JPS Central Office Employee Volunteer, Word of Life Church, Zion Hill Baptist Church, New Hope Baptist Church, Judge Carlyn Hicks. Partners in Education launched a community effort entitled "JPS Beautification Day: All Hands On Deck" to create a welcoming, aesthetically pleasing environment to provide a visual of support, as well as to assist with classroom supplies in the midst of staff shortages and supply chain challenges, resulting in sparse and more expensive resources.
Like the entire world, Jackson Public Schools came to an abrupt halt in March 2020 with the announcement of COVID-19. Overnight, District administrators and educators worked to create at home learning opportunities for our scholars who were enrolled in 31 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, 7 high schools, and 4 specialty schools- (JPS-Tougaloo Early College Program, Capital City Alternative School, Wells Academic and Performing Arts Complex, and REAP). Fast forward to July 2021. We were shifting back to in person instruction. Aged buildings, mostly left dormant for much of the past 16 months, would be home again to over 20,000 scholars in less than 30 days.
How do we create a welcoming environment, not just for our scholars, but our teachers as well? After grappling with unprecedented challenges in addition to the isolation, illness, and unfortunate deaths, Partners in Education launched a community effort entitled "JPS Beautification Day: All Hands On Deck." Our goal was to create a welcoming, aesthetically pleasing environment at all 52 JPS sites to provide a visual of support, as well as to assist with classroom supplies in the midst of staff shortages and supply chain challenges, resulting in sparse and more expensive resources.
More than 975 volunteers provided 1,000’s of hours of service across the district to assist in three main areas:
(1) Helping teachers set up their classrooms
(2) Enhance school entrances, and
(3) Cleaning up school grounds.
Additionally, donations of plants and other landscaping supplies, paint and school supplies supported this initiative that is now a part of our annual Opening with Excellence process. While the actual day occurred on Friday, July 30th, many partners visited one of our 52 school sites throughout the month of July and into August to prepare for our scholars return to a traditional school setting.