Natchez’s first charter school celebrates ribbon cutting

Published 8:27 am Monday, July 31, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The ribbon was cut Thursday inside of what is Natchez-Adams County’s first charter school.

School starts on Aug. 7 for approximately 150 students enrolled at Instant Impact Global Prep, located at the former Trinity Episcopal School at 319 U.S. 61 South.

The school will open with students in kindergarten, first and second grades with plans to add another grade level each school year through eighth grade.

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IIGP has a maximum enrollment of 450 students with 50 students per grade level.

Four different proposals for a charter school in Adams County were submitted to the Mississippi Charter School Authorization Board last year. However, Instant Impact Global Prep’s proposal was the only one approved in September 2022.

“This has been a journey,” JoAnn Rucker, the executive director of Instant Impact Global Prep, said to those attending Thursday’s welcome reception.

Rucker began by thanking everyone involved in the charter school’s creation, from the state authorizer board to the board of directors to the staff and teachers.

“I’m really humbled, honored, happy, hopeful and any other positive H-word you can think of,” Rucker said. “This has been a journey and everybody in here has played a role in this journey, no matter how small or how large. … It took everyone.”

Rucker also thanked the Natchez Adams School District, whose Interim Superintendent Zandra McDonald-Green sat at the table in front of her.

“I want to thank NASD for communicating,” she said. “Better together means we are all in this for our students. We’re in this because when you work closely with someone with a common goal, with a common mindset about education and a common level of passion about student learning, that is the only way. We can’t do anything but be successful for the entire Natchez-Adams community.”

The mission of the charter school is to provide STEM-based learning, science, technology, engineering and math, Rucker said. She added the top 10 in-demand jobs are STEM-focused.

“When it comes to STEM, we’re in a crisis in the country,” Rucker said. “It’s so much bigger than any one place. There are jobs out there that we cannot fill in this country because we do not produce enough people in the math, science and technology arenas.”

In addition to STEM instruction, IIGP focuses on teaching skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking used in any career, “Because we don’t know what the jobs of tomorrow are,” Rucker said.