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Governor's Award Honors Millsaps-Brown Elementary Partnership


Millsaps College and its partnership efforts at Brown Elementary School are among Mississippi's top school-community partnerships that the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education recognized during the Governor's Awards Luncheon on March 23 in Jackson.

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Celebrating the Governor's Award received at the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education conference by the Brown Elementary/Millsaps College partnership were (from left) Doug Boone, executive director of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson; Carrie Denton, adopt-a-school coordinator at Brown Elementary; Darby Ray of Millsaps College, adopt-a-school coordinator for the campus; former Governor William Winter, who presented the awards; Laquanda Sims, Millsaps student adopt-a-school coordinator; Serenity Luckett, principal of Brown Elementary; Wilbur Walters, JPS deputy superintendent for schools and administration; Phoebe Pearigen, wife of Millsaps College President Dr. Robert Pearigen; and Debbie Anglin, president of the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.

The 100% Adopt-A-Class Program at Brown Elementary is among five school-community partnerships that received a 2011 Governor's Award. The Governor's Award selection committee, comprising representatives from business, industry, nonprofits and education, judged each entry using a uniform set of criteria to measure overall effectiveness of partnership activities.

"Partnerships provide resources and funding for many innovative programs that simply wouldn't exist without a community support network," said Debbie Anglin, Mississippi Association of Partners in Education president and director of communications for the Pascagoula School District. "In the face of mounting budget cuts in education, partnerships continue providing the resources that schools need to offer creative, high-quality learning opportunities that benefit students, teachers, parents and communities."

The 100% Adopt-A-Class Program at Brown Elementary resulted in more than 600 hours and $15,000 in volunteer, academic, and enrichment resources being directed to the school. Every student at the school received the attentions of Adopt-a-Class volunteers, whether in one-on-one tutoring sessions, small-group projects, all-class enrichment activities, or special events such as Fall Carnival, the Science Fair, or field trips to the Natural Science Museum or to Thalia Mara Hall for "The Nutcracker."

Serenity Luckett, principal at Brown Elementary, said the partnership brings unique experiences to students, faculty and staff at the school. "Thank you to each of you who have challenged our kids and teachers to reach for their dreams," she said.

Phoebe Pearigen dances with a Brown Elementary School student

Millsaps student organizations taking part include Alpha Kappa Alpha, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Mu, Kappa Delta, Lambda Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Kappa Alpha, Kappa Sigma, the leadership honorary Omicron Delta Kappa, the Wellspring community service living-leaning program, and the Campus Ministry Team. Phoebe Pearigen, wife of President Rob Pearigen, joined in the efforts by teaching some students classically based movement and rhythm exercises.

"The 100% Adopt-A-Class program has brought the Millsaps campus together in a year-long common project, which has been amazing to watch," said Dr. Darby Ray, professor of religious studies and director of 1 Campus, 1 Community, which connects Millsaps to the local community in a myriad of ways and focuses on the Midtown neighborhood in Jackson and on K-12 education. "The challenge at this point is to sustain the program for future years."

A grant from the Foundation of Greater Jackson, which is directed by Millsaps alumnus Doug Boone, provided funds for the creation of resource and training materials for students adopting classes, a faculty mentor for Millsaps student adopters, and $200 per classroom to enrich the educational environment and experience.


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