/How one Delta community wants to improve education with readily available resources

How one Delta community wants to improve education with readily available resources

Nonprofit Mississippi News CLARKSDALE — Adrienne Hudson, a former teacher in Coahoma County, and director of an education-focused non-profit here, asked the packed room to raise their hands in mid-October. Everyone raised their hand. The Crossroads Cultural Arts Center was crowded with parents, teachers from traditional, charter and private schools, administrators, high school students, attorneys, and other community stakeholders. Hudson asked, “What are your priorities for improving education?” Over the years, educators, parents, teachers, and the community have had multiple conversations about the current state of education in Coahoma County. These conversations were held in private or public settings and focused on the issues — low funding, teacher certification, parental engagement and lack of teachers. Instead of focusing on the persistent issues, a local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority brought together the community to create actionable items using resources available within the community. Hudson, who is a member the Clarksdale Marks Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was a vocal advocate for education solutions. RISE, Hudson’s nonprofit — featured in Mississippi Today’s three-part series about the teacher shortage — offers Praxis training to aspiring teachers, which is one of the obstacles to certification. “Delta Sigma Theta is focused on finding solutions. Our goal is to solve a problem or get people to work together to find a solution. What can we do as a community to make that happen? Hudson said that we all know there are problems and we need to fix them. But how do we get there? The November meeting was a gathering of community members that outlined their plans to improve each area using the readily available resources, including teacher quality and retention, after-school programming, youth opportunities, social, emotional and trauma learning, and parental involvement. The following items were suggested by the group to address the lack of funding, attract and retain teachers, and increase parental involvement: Teacher quality & retention After school programming and youth programs Church Partnerships Social emotional learning and trauma Parental involvement Joe Nelson Jr. stated that education must be improved through high-quality leadership. Quality leadership is essential for the retention of teachers.