Retired teachers devote skills

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NATCHEZ — Not every child flops onto the couch and grabs a video game controller after school.

Approximately 40 students are currently enrolled in an after-school tutorial program at The Education Cultural Center on Homochitto Street.

Monday through Wednesday starting at 1 p.m. and lasting until 9 p.m., new groups of students arrive at the center every hour to receive help from tutors in their core subjects, history, math, English and science.

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“Teachers have so much on them,” tutor Tammy Williams said. “When a child can’t get (an understanding of their subjects) at school, they come to me and I help.”

The center was started in 2005 by retired teacher Emma Rose Jackson and her sisters, also retired teachers, Georgia Oliver and Dorothy Hogans, when they started noticing a decline in the local students’ standardized state test scores.

“Children weren’t receiving passing test scores and the ratings were going down,” Jackson said.

“Since we had experience teaching, we decided that we’d help the children with reading and other skills.”

Since starting the program Jackson and Williams said they have noticed a significant improvement in the children they’re tutoring, especially in reading.

However, Jackson said the children still need help with their math. Williams said that she works hand-in-hand with the students’ teachers to see what they need help with the most.

“I just love kids,” Williams said. “They’re smart, but they just need someone to guide them.

“I’m their fairy godmother.”