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U.S. Secretary of Education King visits Indianola during tour

Posted on: September 21, 2016

September 15 was no ordinary Thursday in Indianola, Mississippi. It’s not every day that the U.S. Secretary of Education rolls into town in a big yellow bus. But that’s exactly what happened when John B. King, Jr, US Secretary of Education, and senior Department of Education officials stopped at Carver Elementary School. King and his group were greeted by drummers, Mr. and Miss Carver, and a host of Sunflower County Consolidated School District officials and Indianola Promise Community steering committee members.

The stop in Indianola was the 9th event of a five-day tour from the nation’s capital traveling all the way to Louisiana from Monday. Secretary King stopped in the Mississippi Delta because Indianola is home to one of the federal government’s promise community sites.

During the visit, Secretary King got to see three promise community programs in action: a mentoring called C.A.R.E.S. (Children Are Reaching Excellence with Support), a neighborhood outreach and case management program called LINKS (Linking Individuals, Neighborhoods, and Kids to Services), and the IPC Literacy Fellows which targets third graders who are at risk of success on the state Reading Gate test. King visited with students, parents, and mentors getting personal testimony of each program’s success.

Included in the site visit was a windshield tour with Delta Health Alliance’s Karen Matthews, CEO, and Josh Davis, Vice President External Affairs, of the Indianola Freedom Community Gardens, the renovations of the Indianola Pool, and the KaBOOM! Park in Southgate neighborhood built with over 350 volunteers.

Prior to leaving Indianola, Secretary King said in a press conference that “there are very important leading indicators of the success of IPC particularly with early education.” King continued with, “The amount of kindergarteners who are ready to begin school has doubled.” Delta Health Alliance CEO Karen Matthews said about the visit, “IPC is showing real progress and receiving national attention, but there is still work to be done.”

Indianola Promise Community is the only Promise Neighborhood included in the tour. IPC is one of two rural Promise Neighborhoods of the twelve nationwide.   IPC consists of nearly 30 programs and initiatives that work together to expand the health care and educational opportunities for Indianola children and their families. IPC unites health care, education, government, community, and faith-based organizations to develop a “pipeline” of academic, family, and community resources, from prenatal care through high school graduation, creating a path for students to gain meaningful careers and earn financial independence.

This year’s “Opportunity Across America” tour included stops in Washington, D.C; Charlottesville, Virginia; Johnson City, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee; Harvest, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Indianola, Mississippi; and Monroe, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

For more information about Indianola Promise Community and Delta Health Alliance, go to: http://deltahealthalliance.org/project-category/indianola-promise-community/ or follow us on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/IndianolaPromiseCommunity/