Natchez couple makes an impact

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 30, 2010

NATCHEZ — For more than 30 years Larry and Emma Rose Jackson woke up with the same goal — to make the future of children a little brighter.

When The Dart landed on Sunset Boulevard, the Jacksons were enjoying their Saturday afternoon and preparing for the week ahead.

Just a few years ago, that preparation would have been much different. Before retirement, the couple headed to different schools to impact as many children as possible, Emma Rose Jackson said.

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Larry Jackson retired as the principal at Natchez High School 11 years ago, and Emma Rose Jackson retired as a special education and inclusion teacher at McLaurin Elementary School nine years ago.

Emma Rose Jackson was the district’s first inclusion teacher. She said the program was started on an experimental basis in the early 1990s, but it proved to be beneficial to many students assigned to special education classes.

“Many of the students I had in inclusion were not necessarily learning disabled,” she said. “They were learning disadvantaged. They weren’t exposed to what they needed to learn. They didn’t have the resources they needed to learn at the pace of some other students. Many of them just needed a little extra time, attention.”

In the inclusion program Jackson would sit with students in a regular classroom setting, offer reinforcement teaching and encouragement in a one-on-one setting.

“Students all have different learning styles, and what I tried to do was cater my teaching to a students learning style,” she said. “I have one student who went on to become a chemist and many others that have gone on to be firemen, policemen and public servants.”

Educating did not end with the final bell for the Jacksons, she said.

“We would bring children into our home for additional tutoring,” she said. “We have always tried to help children in our community whether it be giving them clothes or coats and jackets or helping them at school.”

Larry Jackson wasn’t teaching in a classroom, but it was still his goal to impact students. He did so for many years as a principal and a counselor.

Jackson worked at nearly every school in the NASD, including Sadie V. Thompson, Brumfield, Northside, South Natchez, Natchez High, Central Alternative and Robert Lewis Middle School.

“Even when we were home, we talked about ways to improve education,” Larry Jackson said. “We once had a very successful school system, and we would talk about ways to get our district back to that. It is going to take a lot of work from a lot of people from all different groups.”

Even though the Jacksons are no longer a daily presence in NASD schools, they are still working to help children.

Emma Rose Jackson and her sister operate the Education Station and Cultural Center on Homochitto Street, and both are Sunday School teachers at Greater Macedonia Baptist Church.

“I think we will probably always continue to work with children, just in a different setting,” Emma Rose Jackson said.