The LEAP Center is a project created in 1993 by the Kosciusko Foundation of Education, the Kosciusko School District, the Kosciusko Schools PTA and the Kosciusko/Attala Chamber of Commerce to provide help for at-risk students. Funding for the LEAP Center budget, which is approximately $30,000 annually, comes from local businesses, clubs and individuals, private foundations and from annual Learn and Serve grants provided by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Students in grades K-12 may come to the LEAP Center to study in a quiet and safe environment, use the substantial reference materials available and receive tutorial assistance as needed. Tutoring is provided by volunteers: certified teachers who team with uncertified but well qualified adult tutors and high school student tutors. There is no cost to students for any assistance provided by the LEAP Center.
Students in grades K-5 who need tutorial assistance are given scheduled times to come to the LEAP Center. They receive small group tutoring in areas where they have demonstrated weakness in school. Students in grades 6-12 may “drop-in” as needed. They receive small group or one-on-one tutoring in subjects where they need help. As part of this process, mentoring also occurs.
Having recently completed its seventh year of operation, the LEAP Center has a solid track record of positive results. Examples include improved attitudes of students who receive not just tutorial assistance but also genuine interest and encouragement from volunteers there. In many of these students a feeling of self-worth, of knowing that someone cares, produces self-confidence, which in turn leads to greater effort being put forth and greater success in the classroom.
A more specific example is provided by the two seniors who would certainly not have graduated with their class this year without the assistance they received at the LEAP Center as they worked on their correspondence course in geometry from Mississippi State University. Through one-on-one tutoring and encouragement, they both passed geometry, just in time to walk and receive their diplomas. The students themselves, the volunteer tutors who helped and the entire community benefited from this positive experience.
The LEAP Center continues to be an example of how a community can work together with its public schools to produce a winning combination that benefits students, schools and the community as a whole.