Over 50 rising kindergarten students in Sunflower County are already back in the classroom.
The Promise Schools, which are operated through Delta Health Alliance, have been in session this summer, helping to prepare dozens of area students who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.
Typically, the Promise Schools run all day during the summer session, but due to COVID-19, they are running half days this summer.
The schools are also maxed out at 54 students in Sunflower County this year.
According to recent data released by DHA, students who participate in the Promise School programs are more likely to score higher on the STAR Early Literacy Assessment, which is used in Mississippi for students entering kindergarten.
“Usually students who participate in our Promise School consistently score higher on that (test),” said Leigh Anne Gant, who is over the Head Start program at DHA.
The more skills the students learn during the summer program, the more prepared they are for the fall, Gant said.
The Promise Schools also help to foster better relationships with parents and guardians, not only throughout the summer, but on a long-term basis.
“If you can catch them when their children are young, they tend to stay more involved in their children’s life throughout their school career,” Gant said. “When you have children in early childhood settings, such as ours, parent involvement is such a huge piece of that, helping to form those relationships and feeling more comfortable talking with teachers and being an active participant in their child’s education.”
DHA is also starting its second year this fall in leading Sunflower County’s Head Start program.
Gant said the program has been successful thus far in the classroom and also in building stronger relationships with the families of the students.