On Saturday, September 27th the Ole Miss Rebels played host to their neighbors from the north, the Memphis Tigers. The matchup between the two programs is always hotly contested and possesses great history. On this occasion, the Rebels were led by a dominant defensive effort to victory and a winning score of 24-3.

The Rebels also won big off the gridiron as they partnered with Coaching for Literacy, Leap Frog and the Chambliss family in the fight against illiteracy. Teresa Adams, Executive Director of Leap Frog, a Oxford based literacy program stated, “Special thanks to Ole Miss, Coach Hugh Freeze, the Chambliss family of Memphis, TN and Coaching for Literacy for their support of our efforts to serve the Oxford community. The financial support we received will enable us to continue to serve at-risk first, second, and third graders from both Oxford City and Lafayette County schools at no cost to the families.” The donation to Leap Frog was facilitated by Coaching for Literacy’s Assistant Coach Program; enabling two members of the Chambliss family to support both literacy efforts and their Rebels with a once in a lifetime all access fan experience.”

Continue reading below to learn more about the great work of Leap Frog, as shared by their staff members.

The Leap Frog Program is a non-profit organization that serves 140 “at-risk” first, second and third graders from both Oxford City and Lafayette County schools at no cost to the families. The program began in the late 1980’s as an outreach ministry at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  At that time the program served 12-second graders, and continued to grow each year.

The financial support we received will enable us to continue to serve at-risk first, second and third graders at no cost to the families.
— Teresa Adams, Executive Director of Leap Frog

The students who attend Leap Frog are referred by their classroom teachers and are considered “at-risk” for falling behind. The students receive an hour of one-on-one tutoring with the same volunteer tutor, a number of which are members of Coaching for Literacy’s Ole Miss chapter, two afternoons a week. During the tutoring hour, they focus on improving the students’ academics, and assist in completing homework. After tutoring, the students are given a healthy snack and participate in enrichment time. The enrichment hour varies in activities from cooperative games, arts-and-crafts projects, and special presentations.

Prior to two years ago, we were serving 90 first and second graders and operating out of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and Oxford-University Methodist Church. During the 2012/2013 school year, we expanded our program to serve 50 more students, added third grade to the program, as well as incorporated a new site: St. John’s Catholic Church.  This year to accommodate our students and volunteers, we have expanded to include Burns United Methodist Church as a new host site.

In 2007, we began collecting student data annually to track both the participating students’ and the program’s progress. Our goal every year is to have 75% of our students reading on grade level by the end of the school year.  In September of 2013,  20% of the students entering the program were reading on grade level. By the end of the school year in May 2014, we had 76% of our students reading on grade level.  We also had 81% of our students progress to the next grade level. One hundred percent of our third graders progressed to fourth grade, all of which were reading on grade level when they exited the program.  Leap Frog is especially proud of this statistic. Research shows that if students are not reading on grade level by the time the student enters the fourth grade they will be more likely to be held back or not finish high school.  Our third grade Leap Frog students are on a positive path to do well in school and to be productive citizens of the Lafayette community.

Mississippi is ranked as the 46th state in the country when it comes to education. It is the Leap Frog Program’s mission to reach these children at an early age in hopes that the students will succeed and continue to do well in school. In the past four years the Leap Frog program has had a success rate of 85% in advancing students to the next grade level. We are very happy with this passage rate, as last year’s data concluded that approximately 98% of the students came from low-income homes, and that more than half of the students were from single-parent families.

By growing our program and reaching more students, our ultimate goal is to allow our students to take advantage of a good education and graduate to become happy and productive adults.

VOLUNTEER AT LEAPFROG: Volunteer Information

CONTACT: Ryan Viner | 901.410.3633 | ryan@coachingforliteracy.org