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

Duration of partnership: City of Jackson - 30+ years, WLBT - 25+ years, WOL Church - 3 years
35 volunteers
210 students impacted

This is the second Governor's Award in a row for Poindexter Elementary's partnership program. In the past, Poindexter struggled in the area of reading, which hindered student performance in all academic areas. But over the last two years, Poindexter has experienced a steady performance increase.

From the 2010 to 2011 school year, Poindexter’s statewide test results moved the school from Low Performing status to Successful, with reading scores steadily improving each year and more children reading on grade level. These gains have been largely attributed to the positive impact of the school's Book Buddy program, which is one component of Poindexter's award-winning community partnership. For last year's Book Buddy program, 40 volunteers from the City of Jackson, Word of Life Church, and other community groups came to Poindexter and read to students or listen to students read.

Poindexter's challenge is now finding ways to enhance and continue to advance student performance in reading. To continue to advance students’ progress, Poindexter has created several programs to get the community even more involved in generating excitement about books and reading.

For the "Book It" program, parents either read to their kids or listen to them read aloud at least 20 minutes nightly and record on their tracking sheets that they completed the activity. During the annual Literacy Night event, school partners and parents don their favorite pajamas, serve hot chocolate and join the students as they listen to the principal, adopters and teachers read aloud from a favorite book. They also perform skits about the importance of reading, and adopters donate books as door prizes.

After losing district funding for a program for exceptional readers, Word of Life Church purchased the program for the entire school. Teachers use the program to set reading goals and help students track their progress. Word of Life Church also donated more than $20,000 to equip every classroom with computers and Smartboards to enhance skill practice, especially for reading. Partners also support an afterschool tutoring program, and at the end of the year, they celebrate student success during a Red Carpet event honoring students who have achieved reading goals.