Think, Speak Act, talks local education concerns

By JOSH TROY / PRESS REGISTER,

The time is here to put the plan into action.

Adrienne Hudson expressed those sentiments during the third meeting of the “Think, Speak, Act Tank” group meeting at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center earlier in February. The educational development committee of Clarksdale-Marks Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. organized the group in an effort to find solutions to educational issues in Coahoma County. Hudson is the co-chair of the committee.

Due to a change in location from the first two meetings, only a select few individuals were present, but they broke up into groups and discussed ideas.

“Our big goal tonight is to improve our resource guide to what we decided at the last meeting was going to be something that could really help our community,” said Hudson to start the meeting.

Hudson addressed the four areas of concern brought up at the first two meetings, which were teacher recruitment and retention, student trauma dealing with social and emotional learning and after school programs.

“We really need to make sure that people know what’s available, so that we can improve participation and the resources that we do have and get a buy in from people to support those,” Hudson said.

She brought up the need of having AmeriCorps in the community.

“I wanted to have that conversation about the AmeriCorps application and we said that we wanted to publish this resource guide by March,” she said.

“It is an education resource guide for the County, so what it will have in there are resources that hit on all four of those key issues. So, if we’re talking about teacher recruitment and retention, we want to have links in there, so you can find out exactly what school districts are offering to help retain their teachers.”

For the issues dealing with social and emotional learning, Hudson said students should be aware of the resources for mental health needs and the links should all be in one location.

Hudson said she was able to collect additional contact information for after school programs and initiatives to put in a document at the meeting.

She talked about the role AmeriCorps would have in putting all the ideas into effect.

“What we would like to do is apply for that so that we can become a hub, which would allow us to be able to basically disperse AmeriCorps volunteers to locations in our County, so that schools could have additional resources to help with educating students,” Hudson said.

The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Hudson said the goal is to have it at the same location as the first two meetings at the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center on Delta Avenue. A booklet with all of the resources to help schools deal with the four major issues is being put together.

“At the next meeting, what we’re going to do is finalize that booklet for release,” Hudson said. “We are going to discuss, what we call, low additional hanging fruit, the projects that we talked about over the first two meetings that could be really helpful.”

Hudson said another goal for the March 19 meeting is to get more businesses to sign up for the “Big Apple” campaign.

“The Big Apple campaign was a part of the initiative that RISE has going on that we want to partner them on to get more businesses to give teachers discounts and incentive,” Hudson said.

RISE, Inc., which Hudson is the executive director of, has a mission to conquer poverty by connecting communities in educational enhancement efforts.

She said 12 local businesses have already agreed to be a part of the campaign.

“We’re going to be using more of this time to actually put our projects into motion,” Hudson said.

Hudson said the Excel by 5 campaign is another issue the “Think, Speak, Act Tank” group is working on. The campaign is putting information in place to have early child initiatives that will get students prepared for elementary school.

 

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