OUTLOOK: Students recognized through Post-COVID Educational Enhancement Program

Published 4:00 am Sunday, March 13, 2022

The United Way of West Central Mississippi and the city of Vicksburg, in November, teamed up to address the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on local students’ reading skills.

Although still in its infancy, the COVID Educational Enhancement Program is already making a difference. More than 100 students, who have been participating in the after-school programs have gained an average of 5.5 months of reading skill in two months, UWWCM executive director Michele Connelly said.

“The Post-COVID Educational Enhancement Program is a testament both to the power of collaboration and innovation as well as our community’s dedication to our children,” Connelly said. “By partnering with the city of Vicksburg, we’ve been able to create a program that’s as unique as our community, and we’re excited to see Post-COVID Educational Enhancement Program’s impact take root as it continues to grow.”

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Connelly said the program, which she described as an innovative literacy intervention program, utilizes curriculum from Voyager Passport, a comprehensive K-5 supplemental reading intervention program, to train academic guides to support students through high-dosage, small-group tutoring.

To measure their reading growth, Connelly said, students are tested before, during and after the program.

“These test results are also used to create an individualized reading library for each student, introducing children to books that are not only age- and reading level-appropriate but that speak to their own unique interests,” she said.

Connelly said the UWWCM was approached by the city of Vicksburg after seeing the effectiveness of a similar program the United Way had implemented and offered funding to support pandemic-related learning loss in grade K-3.

On Feb. 1, 2022, students who were the top-performing participants in the Post-COVID Educational Enhancement Program were honored and recognized for their outstanding improvement in reading skills. Awards were also presented to the students by Mayor George Flaggs.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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