Woodley Elementary and Parkway Heights United Methodist Church

Duration of partnership: 8 years
127 volunteers
Impacts 370 students

Woodley Elementary School in Hattiesburg has had an outstanding community partnership with Parkway Heights United Methodist Church for the past eight school years. After noticing many children came to school hungry on Mondays, church members at Parkway Heights organized a weekly backpack program called Beyond the Lunch Table that provides food assistance weekly for 80 students in need. Parkway Heights also has donated thousands of dollars in school supplies and provides supplies for students at the start of each school year. Recently all school staff members received a gift card to a local restaurant for Christmas, and Parkway Heights volunteers have beautified the campus and helped build school pride.

Other programs include Reading is Fundamental, book donations, and an annual reading celebration that encourages student creativeness and ingenuity. The "Trunk or Treat" event provides a fun, safe way to celebrate Halloween on the school campus. At the end of each nine weeks, the church hosts a "Fun Day" for students who achieve PBIS behavior standards.

Since forming the partnership, Woodley has progressed from Academic Watch to a Successful school within two school years. Woodley's QDI rose from 114 to 149 from 2010 through 2011, an increase matching the highest growth in the state for that school year. In 2011 and 2012, QDI rose to 160 along with a school rating of Successful.