The Albion Ministerial Association is preaching encouragement and community involvement through a new plan to help Albion Public Schools.
Pastors from more than a dozen local churches are part of the association, including the Rev. Donald Phillips of ALBION-WMS Lewis Chapel AME.
Phillips, who also serves as a school board member, said the group had been brainstorming how it could make an impact in one of the state’s Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools. That’s when AMA President Steve Williams decided to approach Albion High School Principal Derrick Crum with the concept of the Albion Ministerial Achievement Plan.
“One of the things we’ll be doing is (AMAP) wants to recognize and acknowledge students who are doing well. So students who show good citizenship, students who are on the honor roll and students are improving … they want to recognize kids who are doing well and putting forth a good effort,” Crum said. “You don’t have to be an ‘A’ student or the top student, but if you’re showing some desire and improvement, they want to acknowledge that.”
AMAP will have a grand kickoff of sorts in February, Phillips said, with a “pair of multimedia assemblies” at Harrington Elementary School and the high school. The high school assembly will focus on building issues chosen by the administration and will be followed by an evening gathering where students are honored for their hard work.
AMAP is already positioning itself to have an impact in the hallways and classrooms of the high school on a daily basis. An old storage area is being converted into what the school is calling “The Bridge Room” — a space for volunteers to meet with students and teachers and provide advice and a clearinghouse of options for tutoring and academic assistance.
Crum said a volunteer from the ministerial association is in the building from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the plan is to have five or six individuals in the school each day as more community members come on board.
“The (volunteers) walk the halls, they hang out in the cafeteria, they peek into the classrooms, they talk to kids, they talk to teachers — they want to be a resource, which is really beneficial,” he said.
Phillips said AMAP hopes to team with local businesses and Albion alumni to create financial support and scholarships in the future.
“There are the students who achieve high and get scholarships and whose parents are able to send them (to college), but then you have this group that may have done fair in their testing and they’re not poverty-level, if you will, but there’s no real support,” he said.
“We’re looking at how to cover those gaps (for students who) may not have had that support in the community or in the home.”
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Dec. 28, 2010