Mississippi Association of Partners in Education #PartnershipPower
2012 Partnership Excellence Award
Rowan Elementary (Hattiesburg) and Crosspoint Church
Duration of partnership: 2 years 20 volunteers Impacts 39 students
Rowan Elementary, a pre-K-6th school serving 440 students, is located in central Hattiesburg and is less than one mile from a neighboring elementary school. The area is very heavily populated with elementary age students, evidenced by the fact that between the two schools, 800+ students are served, with only three buses between the two.
The students reside within one mile of each school but are very transient between district schools throughout the school year. Rowan Elementary serves a low socio-economic population with 99%of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunch status. The student body is predominately African-American with three Caucasian students and thirteen Hispanic students.
Due to Rowan being a School of Choice, our demographics have been impacted, serving approximately 27 students from Hawkins Elementary. The area of Hattiesburg that Rowan serves is an impoverished area with many federal subsidized housing units and low rent apartment complexes. A local university is within two miles of the school (although the residences that surround it are blighted), and another major university is within 15 miles of the school. These resources supply us with volunteers for mentoring programs and some tutorial assistance.
The partnership with Crosspoint Church began with a mere conversation between a co-worker and the school counselor. The co-worker expressed an interest that their church had in building a partnership with our school. From there, we expressed some of the needs that were identified by our staff, parents, and students. The idea of Backpack Buddies was introduced by our Librarian, and from there the plan was implemented and spun into a successful program to both nourish and nurture children.
Each week Crosspoint sends volunteers to fill backpacks of students for Backpack Buddies to ensure children have access to nutritious meals through the weekend. Volunteers also support school events such as Fall Festival, PBIS Fun Days, Body Walk Exhibit, Field Day, and field trips. Crosspoint also assists needy or homeless families of students with minor house repairs and utility deposits.
Nearly 40 students and their families have benefited from nutritious meals provided each Friday until they return for breakfast and lunch Monday. Donated items include macaroni, microwavable bowls, soup, fruit cups and fruit snacks, nuts, water and juice. Students are happier and motivated to learn/perform better when basic needs of food and positive, predictable relationships are in place.