Despite the challenges that schools across the country have faced throughout the past few months, our District has still been dedicated to ensuring that Hattiesburg preschoolers are ready to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
Hattiesburg Public Schools Districts Early Childhood Director, Hope Mikell said, “The District holds the idea of improving the quality of early learning at the highest esteem because doing so strengthens our community in so many ways.”
Hope Mikell and her team recently requested funds to purchase resources that will help assist with Professional Development Incentives for teachers, parent registration events, weekly recognitions, and special event equipment.
The Hattiesburg Public School District Foundation presented the funds to the Hattiesburg Early Learning Collaborative and United Way at the Board of Trustees meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
Mikell says, “Investing in early childhood is a necessity, not an option. We deeply appreciate the Hattiesburg Foundation for approving a $5,000 request to support us in this effort. ”
Jerome Brown, Hattiesburg Public School District Foundation President says that assisting the students and faculty of the District is the organization's main priority.
”By supporting the Hattiesburg Early Learning Collaborative and the United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library we invest in reading. Reading is one of those necessary building blocks that create imagination and produces successful educational outcomes.”
The Foundation also donated $5,000 to United Way of Southeast Mississippi to go towards the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
According to United Way, The Dolly Parton Imagination Library places age-appropriate books in the homes of children. If there are books in the home, parents are more likely to read to their children.
The United Way Director of Community Impact, Kari Besing said, “United Way of Southeast Mississippi is dedicated to ensuring that every child enters kindergarten ready, is reading by the third grade, and graduates on time. With the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, we can begin this work from the day a child is born.”
According to The Dolly Parton Imagination Library, The cost for a year's worth of books is an estimated $30 per child. Thanks to donors and sponsorships, funding has been secured to allow this fee to be waived.
“The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides one book each month to a child from birth until they turn five years old. Funds from the foundation will be used to cover the cost of children living in the Hattiesburg Public School District. This book is mailed directly to the child's home at no cost to the family,” says Besing.
Children in Forrest and Lamar counties can be registered online at www.unitedwaysems.org/imaginationlibrary. Parents can fill out the form on this page for each child under the age of five.