United Way, VWSD to bring Excel By 5

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

Research shows ages 0 to 5 are the most critical time in a child’s cognitive development. This time period provides the greatest window of opportunity to optimize a child’s early experiences, developmental interactions, healthcare, nutrition, childcare and education, according to the Excel By 5 certification.

This is why community leaders came together Friday  to discussbringing the Excel By 5 certification to Vicksburg and Warren County.

Excel By 5 is a collaborative model designed to optimize existing learning resources while highlighting the important role communities play in educating their children during their most formative years — birth to 5.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Vicksburg Warren School District will be the physical partner and United Way will be the fiscal partner.

Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy said there are a lot of people in the community looking to help who aren’t sure how to do so.

“I told my staff, ‘We’ve got to have a strategic approach in moving forward,’” he said.

Shealy said the structure, which is in place and working in other communities, is exactly what is needed in Vicksburg and Warren County.

“We know there is huge language deficit in children who come from poverty,” he said. “When they come into school, they’re dealing with a hill on day 1. Part of the focus here is literacy and exposure to text.”

United Way Executive Director Michele Connelly said Excel By 5 came to United Way to introduce the certification two or three years ago but it wasn’t the right time.

“They came last year, and it felt like it was the right time,” she said. “There’s so much happening in our community in the area of education right now and ensuring our children are successful. It just felt like this was the piece of the puzzle the United Way wanted to grab on to and to bring the people in the community together to learn about, to grow and to become what we need to become.”

Connelly said do not stop dreaming big.

“Sometimes our worst enemy is complacency,” she said. “That is a disservice. That is a sin. We need to dream big.”