It's spring break for many children in Central Mississippi, but some students and a few very dedicated teachers are still in the classroom. They're studying for the Subject Area Testing Program, or the SATP.
Every student in our state must pass the US history, biology, algebra and English tests to graduate from high school. The United Way teamed up with the Jackson Hinds Library System for this first ever spring break tutoring program.
Kionna Bennet is one of the dozens of students attending the program. She wants to be a nurse, but she missed passing the biology SATP by one point. She says she won't fail again.
"Because I want to graduate. I want to walk across the stage and get my diploma and make my momma and father proud of me," says Bennet, a Callaway High School senior.
"It may sound cliche," says Murrah High School history teacher and program tutor, Dr. Alfred Boyd Jr., "but these kids are our future, and if they don't graduate, they're starting their future out on the wrong foot."
To make sure they start on the right foot, Dr. Boyd and a dozen other teachers are devoting their spring break to this tutoring program.
"What I'm doing, it's for a reason, and it's a good reason," says Jolynn Lyon, the workshop's coordinator and a Jim Hill High School teacher.
The program was offered Monday and Tuesday at the Medgar Evers Library, the Eudora Welty Library and the Richard Wright Library. It's not just students from Jackson Public Schools participating. Students from Terry, even as far away as Meridian are in Jackson for the tutoring.
"The bottom line is it's all about the children," says Lyon. "They are our future, and in order for our future to be bright, we need to make sure that they are well equipped."
We reached out to the Mississippi Department of Education for a comment on this tutoring program and the upcoming SATP testing. Dr. Lynn House, the Interim State Superintendent told us: "All four of the state's subject area tests have increased in rigor as a result of the diligence of teachers and administrators working on curriculum and tests. These tests will better demonstrate a student's readiness for college and careers. I thank the teachers and students for their commitment and hard work."
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