Poindexter Elementary and the City of Jackson, WLBT, Antonelli College, Word of Life Church, Minority Contractors Association of Mississippi, Ogden & Associates, Redeemed Christian Center, T. C. Almore Lodge and St. Mark's Episcopal Church

Duration of partnerships: City of Jackson, 30+ years, WLBT, 25+ years, Antonelli College, <2 years, Word of Life Church, <3 years
35 volunteers
Impacts 210 students

Over the last few years, Poindexter Elementary in Jackson has experienced a steady decline in performance and was classified as a Low Performing School. A closer look revealed that students were not advancing or developing their reading skills. Students selected for morning announcements often stumbled and struggled to present messages to peers. It was apparent that they could read, but they were not fluent readers, which affected their test performance in all areas. To confront the challenge of improved reading achievement, the school developed a new vision statement: "Poindexter: A Place Where Every Child Becomes a Hero!” Activities would involve increased participation from parents and the community to improve reading scores.

The school launched several activities to make reading the focal point of student and family life. The "Book It" program encourages parents to read to their children or listen to them read aloud at least 20 minutes nightly. An annual “Literacy Night” invites students, teachers, and adopters to wear their favorite pajamas to school and drink hot chocolate as students listen to readings from their favorite night-time books. "Book Buddies" invites partners to read to students or listen to them read. WLBT's "e-BUDDY" program enabled news anchors to participate in a book study session with students via email. The Minority Contractors Association donated 15 e-readers to be used by students. After-school tutorials were provided for students, with curriculum analysis by Antonelli College. Partners participated in a year-end Red Carpet event to celebrate the school's successes in academic achievement.

As a result of the program, students in 3rd through 5th grade averaged an overall yearly increase of approximately 2.5 on the Star Reading Assessment, and their individual reading scores increased as much as 2.9 grade equivalence levels. Fifty percent of students started reading on grade level, reflecting a 25% improvement. The school's QDI score increased from 128 to 154, and Poindexter was rated a “Successful” school according to Federal and State assessment standards. In addition, the school's partnerships experienced an increase in volunteer hours, the school retained 100% of its teaching staff, and average daily attendance improved to over 97%.