On Thursday, March 22, members of the Volunteer Mississippi staff and Board of Commissioners travelled to Grenada, Miss. to perform a site visit with the Grenada Public Schools AmeriCorps program. Among the Commissioners present were Dr. Bridget Pieschel, Mark Prine, and Mike Dixon.
The day began with a brief presentation in which Grenada School District Superintendent, Dr. David Daigneault, spoke on the difference that the program has made in the district. The program launched in 2008 with 15 members and has now grown to 29 members. Within this time span, AmeriCorps members have been able to serve over 10,000 students and over 40 AmeriCorps alums are now employees of the Grenada School District.
“Without the AmeriCorps program, I have absolutely no idea what we’d do to tutor these students,” Daigneault said. “Our AmeriCorps members are isolating the educational problem areas for kids and correcting them. They don’t just grade. They work with kids and they do it every day.”
Grenada School District AmeriCorps staff hosted visits to three of the Districts public schools, including both elementary schools and Grenada High. In the elementary schools, Volunteer Mississippi staff and Commissioners met with school leadership, each of which lead a guided tour within their respective schools. During the tours, Commissioners and staff witnessed AmeriCorps members in action and spoke with several members and the students they served.
Staff also toured other learning areas within the district such as the “Kidzeum”, the first school-based children’s museum in the United States; and the biomedical and engineering labs at Grenada High.
Daigneault noted that it was largely because of the AmeriCorps program that the district is able to provide the types of hands-on learning experiences housed within the district. “Without AmeriCorps, none of this would be possible,” he said.
by Darrell Robinson