The Clarksdale Municipal School District joined the Barksdale Reading Institute two years ago with George H. Oliver and Booker T. Washington Elementary Schools.

"We know we have made progress by the MCT (Mississippi Curriculum Test) scores," Boyd said. "Kids are reading better, but we don't think we've done well enough."

Boyd, a former state superintendent of education, said the new BRI would include a full-time master reading teacher, intervention specialist and teacher assistant.

"If there's anything we have learned, it's that if a child falls behind they will never catch up if you give them the same amount of time everyone else gets," Boyd said. "They need lots of extra help."

In addition to the Barksdale Reading Institute, George H. Oliver principal Sharron Montgomery will participate in a principal leadership program, Boyd said.

"With 52 principals, it was hard to know everybody," Boyd said. "With 12 principals, they should really bond. They will visit each others schools and talk about what's working and what isn't."

"Our students' reading skills are improving, but we must continue to improve," she said. "We feel that this partnership with Barksdale will continue to help us."

"We have got to develop collaborative relationships such as this so that our students can get to where they need to be," she said. "We look forward to continuing to work with BRI."

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