Indianola Promise Community
135 Front Street | Indianola, Mississippi | 662.686.3930
A community coming together to provide its children and their families with opportunities to succeed – that’s what the Indianola Promise Community is. Sponsored by Delta Health Alliance, IPC consists of nearly 30 programs and initiatives that work together to ensure the healthy development of Indianola children and families.
Created in 2009 and modeled on the successful Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City, the initiative received a huge boost in 2013 when DHA was awarded a five-year, $30 million federal grant to dramatically expand IPC’s footprint in Indianola. At the time, the grant for Indianola was the only the second awarded program that served a rural area.
IPC unites health care, education, government, community, and faith-based services 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.
We want to ensure Indianola children are ready for school, that students who need help get help quickly, and that young people stay in school through graduation and transition to post-secondary education. IPC offers a collective approach, with agencies and services complementing each other and working together in a coordinated fashion. Each program is rigorously assessed against objective criteria in order to ensure its success. Ultimately, these coordinated interventions can break the cycle of poverty.
IPC is governed by a local Steering Committee and makes use of a broad number of task forces and committees that bring together a number of different community organizations to collaborate on goals and objectives. Our major partners include Sunflower County Consolidated School District, Children’s Defense Fund, Save the Children, AmeriCorps*VISTA, B.B. King Museum, Teach for America, City of Indianola, Delta State University, Sunflower County Childcare Association, Sunflower County Ministerial Alliance, Mississippi Center for Justice, On Track CDC, and Mississippi Low Income Childcare Initiative.
At the core of IPC is a disciplined commitment to analyzing each and every program, using data generated by the programs and compared against previously agreed upon performance measures. We constantly monitor and evaluate the work of each program, making changes where needed based on the outcomes.
Over the last two years, childcare centers in Indianola have come together to ensure that all children are ready for kindergarten. IPC facilitated adoption by the centers of a standard, evidence-based curriculum and measurement tool to ensure a coordinated plan of early learning with the school district. Through home visiting, Imagination Library, and quality early care and education, IPC has doubled rates of kindergarten readiness. And these gains provide the foundation for continuing academic achievement. At the end of Kindergarten, Indianola students had the highest literacy scores in the delta. This past summer, IPC hosted the largest and most engaged collection of summer camps ever, supporting reading development, math enrichment, and college and career readiness. Mixing learning with fun works – 70% of summer camp participants lost no ground in reading over the summer – a nationwide problem for low-income kids.
ACT Prep is a school-based program that identifies a group of juniors and seniors at Gentry High School who are on track to graduate and provides them and their families with ACT Preparation, college/financial aid application support, career guidance, visits to local universities and colleges, and post-secondary school planning. College Promise Initiative focuses on creating
Linking Individuals, Neighborhoods, and Kids to Services (LINKS) is a case-management system that targets at-risk children from birth to career identified through the use of academic and program data, early warning systems, and recommendations from school intervention teams. Each case worker (or LINKS) meets individually with targeted families and students to address issues relating to
EXCEL by 5 is a certification process for early childhood education that is organized to help communities support young children and their families so that all children will be ready to learn when they start school. The program establishes standards for parental training, community participation, child care standards, and health care standards. The certification process
Promise School is a rigorous summer session transition program aimed at improving academic, social, and developmental skills for children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall. By employing and then offering supplemental training to Head Start teachers as the second teacher in the classroom for this summer program, the Promise School also improves the
Healthy Lifestyles Initiative is a community project aimed at improving the health and well being of families and children through health literacy education, asthma control and patient education, community fit days, school-based fitness and recreation, church-based walking clubs, cooking classes, mental health services, and safety programs. Some of the programs include CATCH, or Coordinated Approach