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Jumpstart an asset for Oxford youth

At the July board meeting, The Oxford School District Board of Trustees approved a partnership between Bramlett Elementary School and Jumpstart, a program that serves children throughout the country in language and literacy skills.

The program is a partnership between the University of Mississippi School of Education and College Corps and has seen much success in working with other organizations in the area, like the ABC Learning Center, Little Angels and Mary Cathy Headstart. That success has continued at Bramlett, where one preschool class has received supplemental support over the last four months.

“Oftentimes I come into a classroom at the beginning of the year and see children who cannot spell and write their names,” said Kenedi Hobson, a Jumpstart volunteer. “At the closing of the program, all of the children know so much more than they began with. Furthermore, they are excited about learning because Jumpstart makes it a fun learning environment.”

At Bramlett, Jumpstart is run by volunteers recruited at the University of Mississippi, many of which come from College Corps, a volunteer organization that gives students scholarships and an education award for completing 300 hours of service. Volunteers are trained for 30 hours before coming into the classroom, where they read, study vocabulary and work on literacy skills with a 1:3 adult to student ratio. Volunteers spend about ten hours a week on site working with students.

The program, funded by the Jumpstart national organization and the university’s Center for Excellence and Literacy Instruction, is also free for its partners, allowing school districts and other organizations to improve students’ reading ability at no additional expense to their budget or to tax payer dollars.

Kindergarten readiness and providing resources to our preschool students is important. Children who enter kindergarten with solid reading and writing skills are more likely to be prepared, reading on grade level when they get to third grade and be successful for the rest of their educational career. We commend the Jumpstart program for the work done in Oxford to cultivate our children’s literacy skills, and for teaching Ole Miss students the importance of volunteering and giving back to their community.