Mississippi Public Universities
IHL Press Release
AMERICA READS-MISSISSIPPI RECEIVES CONTINUED AMERICORPS FUNDING TO SERVE STUDENTS, SCHOOLS
7/18/2017 - Jackson, Miss.

Amite County Elementary School students enjoy a reading of The Bear Ate Your SandwichAmite County Elementary School students enjoy a reading of "The Bear Ate Your Sandwich" during Read 4 the Record Day.

America Reads-Mississippi (ARM) AmeriCorps Program recently received grant funding to continue its mission to improve the reading skills of students, encourage public awareness and support of literacy, and increase the number of certified teachers in Mississippi. It is one of 11 Mississippi organizations receiving grant funding from a $3.12 million AmeriCorps campaign to support nonprofit and educational organizations across the state.

"ARM is a great example of implementing service as a solution through collaboration and shared vision," said Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. "ARM allows us to expand our P20 reach by providing early literacy support for struggling K-3 students and opportunities for AmeriCorps members to earn scholarships to pursue higher education."

The highly competitive grant process has resulted in America Reads - Mississippi being awarded funds to aid in furthering the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning's mission related to its "emphasis on student achievement and on preparing responsible citizens." AmeriCorps members deliver tutoring interventions in a consistent/year-long, individualized, and cost-effective approach during the school day. One-on-one and small group tutoring during the day enables members to review, repeat, and practice challenging content with students while it is still fresh on their minds.

"ARM maintains strong partnerships with local schools by ensuring that AmeriCorps members are well-trained and understand and follow AmeriCorps guidelines," said Ronjanett Taylor, ARM State Director. "School partners indicate that ARM tutors are an essential part of making students successful learners."

The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $2.14 million dollars in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment. This funding will support 535 AmeriCorps members who will tackle some of the toughest problems in Mississippi, including tutoring and mentoring Pre-K through 12 students, conservation/environmental services, and providing health education and physical activities to address obesity.

ARM was established as a national service program in 1998 and will continue to serve students and communities using the grant funds to support 90 full-time and 10 quarter-time AmeriCorps members as reading tutors in approximately 30 partnering schools. The program is managed through four offices located at IHL, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Southern Mississippi.

ARM members are trained for tutoring through a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Education and follow a prescribed intervention model. Additionally, all 100 ARM members will serve in afterschool programs providing homework help and engaging students in community service through planning and implementing national service days. The program's mission is to improve the reading skills of students, encourage public awareness and support of literacy, and increase the number of certified teachers in Mississippi. Approximately 70 percent of the ARM service corps each year desire to become certified teachers.

The Corporation for National and Community Service will also provide up to $1.6 million dollars in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans. Since 1994, nearly 1 million Americans have earned more than $3 billion in education scholarships. In Mississippi, more than 14,500 Mississippi residents have served more than 29 million hours and qualified for more than $56.3 million in education scholarships.

ARM is administered and supported by the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS) and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). For more information, contact the ARM State Director, Ronjanett Taylor, at 601-432-6380 or rtaylor@mississippi.edu.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.