Woodley Elementary and Parkway Heights United Methodist Church

The Hattiesburg Public School District’s formalized process of seeking adopters and partners is known as HALO, or Hattiesburg’s Ambassadors for Learning Opportunities. We actively seek school-community partnerships with businesses, civic organizations, school districts, faith-based organizations and others that will make investments in the lives of our students.

In the fall of 2006 the church’s leadership felt a call to reach out to Woodley Elementary to develop ties with children, the school administration and teachers. What followed was a steady groundswell which began with simple recognition of teachers and students. Dr. Eddie Rester, lead pastor, Rev. Julie Collins, along with Rev. Julian Davis, outreach pastor, facilitate the partnership process each year. All stakeholders participate in a planning meeting for the upcoming school year every May.

Woodley is under the leadership of Felicia Morris, principal, and her assistant principal, Van Jones. She is serving her second year as principal and has seen the partnership grow, strengthen and strive over the years. She and her staff view Parkway Heights as an integral part of the teaching and learning process that happens each and every day at Woodley.

Duration of partnership: 5 years
75+ volunteers
Impacts 386 students

Activities: Partnership supports Fall Carnival, Field Day, science fairs, teacher appreciation events, campus beautification. Donates uniforms, clothing, eyeglasses and supplies for teachers and students. Sponsors three book distributions annually as part of DREAM’s Reading is Fundamental program. Provides volunteers to assist with reading curriculum in K-2 classes. Launched “Beyond the Lunch Table” backpack food program.

Results: Daily presence of church volunteers in school as math, reading tutors. “Beyond the Lunch Table” sparking interest from other churches and community groups. Positive impact on physical, emotional and financial well-being of students.