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CCED receives large grant to begin Delta Reads Plus

By | Academics, Center for Community and Economic Development, Community | No Comments

Delta State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development recently confirmed it would be one of 11 Mississippi organizations receiving grant funding from a $3.3 million AmeriCorps campaign to support nonprofit and educational organizations across the state.

The grant will support the new the Delta Reads Plus (DRP) project, which will be housed at the CCED on campus. DRP has received $263,761 thanks to the grant.

Through DRP, 50 AmeriCorps members will tutor students one-on-one in grades K-8 five days a week for the 2016-17 academic term in school districts in Bolivar, Coahoma, Leflore, Washington and Sunflower counties.

The program will help reach 400 economically disadvantaged students. Focus areas will include reading and math. The AmeriCorps tutors will guide the students to program completion by participating in 30 or more tutoring sessions.

“Delta Reads Plus is great news for both DSU and the local schools because some schools in the Mississippi Delta are facing low student achievement due to a perpetual lack of support and the economic disadvantages persistent in the area,” said David Tanner with the CCED. “Having AmeriCorps serve as tutors in these areas is a great way of leveraging resources and enhancing student achievement. DSU has a longstanding partnership with K-12 schools throughout the Mississippi Delta region and is committed to helping those schools succeed.”

According to Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, DRP is currently seeking school districts interested in receiving certified tutoring services within the five target counties.

“Delta State, through its Center for Community and Economic Development, has a long history of partnering with the Mississippi Commission on Volunteer Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service, to provide programming that addresses the needs of the Mississippi Delta region,” said Boyles. “Through the Delta Reads Plus project, we are furthering our commitment to addressing the region’s educational outcomes by focusing on increasing student achievement in reading and math.”

Interested districts are encouraged to contact Tanner at contact Tanner at 662-846-4808 or dtanner@deltastate.edu.

Statewide, the federal investment of the 11 grants totaling $3.3 million will support 546 AmeriCorps members. Through these grants, AmeriCorps members will support youth development and education programs serving Mississippi students in grades K-12, and help expand economic opportunities in all 82 Mississippi counties.

The Corporation for National and Community Service will also provide up to $1.6 million in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or repay student loans. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $2.2 million in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment.

“AmeriCorps members make a powerful impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the CNCS. “Building on Mississippi’s strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will improve lives and strengthen communities across the hospitality state. While they serve others, AmeriCorps members will also expand opportunity for themselves — gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. I salute AmeriCorps members for their dedication, and thank our outstanding partners who make their service possible.”

Learn more about Delta State’s CCED at http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/graduate-and-continuing-studies/center-for-community-economic-development/.

Join the Delta State University National Alumni Association for the annual Greater Jackson Area Alumni Event July 14 at the Jackson Yacht Club.

Alumni Association to host annual Jackson event

By | Alumni, Community | No Comments

The Delta State University National Alumni Association will be traveling to Jackson for the annual Greater Jackson Area Alumni Event July 14 at the Jackson Yacht Club.

The evening begins with a social at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. featuring Delta State President William  N. LaForge, Alumni-Foundation staff, and

Jeff Arnold (left to right), Lydia Watson McCardle, Lisa Grantham, Jennifer Covington Stringer, John Stringer and Jeffrey Farris.

Jeff Arnold (left to right), Lydia Watson McCardle, Lisa Grantham, Jennifer Covington Stringer, John Stringer and Jeffrey Farris.

other guests from campus. Entertainment will be provided by Douglas Hurd. Complimentary draft beer and a cash bar will be available for guests 21 and over.

The silent auction is always a signature component of the Jackson alumni event. All proceeds raised from the auction benefit the Greater Jackson Area Scholarship, which is awarded to incoming freshmen from the area attending Delta State. The 2016-17 scholarship recipients are Hannah McMardle, Madison

Sims and Elizabeth Swindle.

The annual event would not be possible without the generosity of sponsors. This year’s sponsors include: BankPlus, Polles Properties, BKD, Casey Myrick, and AvantGarde Strategies, LLC. Corporate Sponsors of the Alumni Association are: Polk’s Meat Products, Bolivar Medical Center, Celia Manley Real Estate, Hey Joe’s, Air Evac Lifeteam, Patrick Davis State Farm and Renasant Bank.

To purchase tickets or donate to the fund, visit http://www.deltastategiving.org/alumniassociation/jacksonalumnievent. Join the Facebook group at Statesmen Graduates, Greater Jackson Area Alumni Event (https://www.facebook.com/events/1766770780270888/).

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), Tumblr (http://www.dsualumni.tumblr.com), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 24) and Homecoming (Oct. 15).

The College of Education and Human Sciences recently completed its 12th annual Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute.

Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute hosted by COEHS

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Community | No Comments

Delta State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences recently completed its 12th annual Literacy Across the Curriculum Institute on campus, which ran from June 1-28. 

LACI is provided through the support of the No Child Left Behind Act: Improving Teacher Quality State Grant.

In total, 18 content area teachers from across Mississippi attended the 20-day institute. The intensive training included a variety of topics, lectures, activities and presentations on a wealth of relevant topics for today’s educators. The most heavily embedded topics of the institute included word recognition, vocabulary, comprehension skills and how to actively incorporate them in their content areas. 

The teachers attended sessions related to literacy and college readiness skills to better prepare their students for not only major assessments, but also for their futures.

The goal of LACI was to enhance the participants’ repertoire of literacy knowledge, skills and dispositions to not only improve their students’ academic performance, but also to act as change agents within their schools and districts.

The director of this year’s program was Dr. Merideth Van Namen.

“Our 18 participants were eager to grow professionally and played an active role in learning new literacy strategies to enhance their classrooms,” said Van Namen. “The instructors were deeply vested in helping the participants learn how to increase students’  literacy skills and overall academic achievement. The combination of wonderful participants and knowledgeable instructors made for an extremely successful institute.”

Upon completing the institute, the teachers will provide staff development for their schools on their newly learned literacy skills, in addition to completing an extensive Teacher Work Sample and collecting evidence of student learning in their classrooms. The teachers will reconvene for two additional follow-up sessions in the fall and spring to continue evaluating their planning, instruction and assessment, as well as to continue learning valuable literacy practices.

Along with Van Namen, the LACI administrative team included Dr. Janet Parker, instructor, and Pam Maxwell, instructor.

For more information on LACI, contact Van Namen at mvannamen@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4412.

Delta State shines on national TV

By | Alumni, Community | No Comments

Delta State University has received quite a bit of airtime on national television lately — first with an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” followed by a shoutout from Al Roker on NBC’s “Today” show.

Delta State’s very own “BBQ Princess” Leslie Roark Scott ’95 made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” June 11 taking part in the 14th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in New York City.

Scott and her father Gary Roark are masterminds behind the award-winning Ubon’s BBQ in Yazoo City, and the duo has received national attention for their tasty BBQ.

Scott is no stranger to national TV, having made appearances on “Chopped Grill Masters,” “Chopped Impossible,” and will be on the new show “Smoked” July 6 on the cable channel Destination America.

“It’s getting easier for me to be on TV, but it’s definitely taken some time. I’m always excited about having the chance to represent Ubon’s, Delta State and Mississippi,” said Scott. “That’s the most exciting opportunity right now — to be out there and talk about the things I love.”

Tune into Scott’s new show July 6 on Destination America.

“I’m excited about it because I got to talk about Delta State, I cooked okra and I talked about the Mississippi Delta the entire time,” said Scott.

And Delta State made a strong appearance on the “Today” show Tuesday when host Al Roker was drawn to Kate Hargrave Hood ’98 passionately waiving her Fighting Okra flag in the crowd.

Hood and her family are vacationing in New York this week after winning the trip from the Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland Children’s Benefit Ball Auction.

“It was an unbelievable and awesome experience to make it on the show,” said Hood. “Nothing gets attention like the Fighting Okra! I’m a second generation ‘Today’ show watcher, and I knew Al Roker being a food fanatic would love the flag and it would get him interested. I’m proud to be a DSU alumnus!”

Roker approached Hood, who proudly shouted her Delta State Pride.

“All right, the Fighting Okra — wow, they go up against the Battling Rutabaga. Watch out,” joked Roker.

Follow all Delta State news at www.deltastate.edu.

President William N. LaForge recently hosted his third annual Delta Mayors' Summit on campus.

LaForge hosts third Mayors’ Summit

By | Community, President | No Comments

Mayors from across the Mississippi Delta recently gathered at Delta State University for the third annual Delta Mayors’ Summit hosted by President William N. LaForge.

The university invited the mayors as a way to engage in discussion about campus and community activities, and to continue forging collaborations and partnerships in the Delta.

“It was a pleasure to host the third Delta Mayors’ Summit on our campus,” said LaForge. “I always enjoy the opportunity to visit with our local mayors, hear about their activities, and learn how Delta State can be engaged with them in partnerships. We are collaborating to ensure continued improvement of local government management.”

LaForge was excited to build on the success of previous summits, a conference he instituted after becoming president in 2013.

This year’s meeting focused on campus updates, a summary of university initiatives, topics for Delta State’s annual race relations conference, student recruitment, as well updates from a number of campus leaders.

The mayors in attendance also had an opportunity to discuss common challenges and successful initiatives in their respective communities, and agreed that it is important for them to have open dialogue in order to continue to improve the region’s opportunities and quality of life.

“I look forward to continuing our collaboration with the mayors of the many municipalities in the Delta,” added LaForge.

Follow all Delta State University news at www.deltastate.edu.