About the Indianola Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Indianola, Mississippi, joined the Grade Level Reading Campaign in July of 2018. Indianola is the county seat of Sunflower County and lies in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. A region known for its flat, fertile farmland, agriculture is the primary industry. The Delta is one of the poorest and most impoverished areas of the country with a long history of intergenerational poverty. Of the 10,000 residents in Indianola, one third live below the poverty level, and the median household income is roughly $26,000. Indianola exhibits some of the worst educational outcomes in the United States.

Delta Health Alliance, a 501c3 organization headquartered in Stoneville, MS, leads the Grade Level Reading campaign for Indianola. DHA’s mission is to expand access to quality health services and educational opportunities for families and children in the Mississippi Delta. In 2009, Delta Health Alliance began an initiative called the Indianola Promise Community (IPC) whose goal was to accomplish that mission in the Indianola footprint. It was this initiative and later in 2013 a Promise Community Grant awarded by DOE that began the collaborative work to change health and educational outcomes for Indianola. DHA worked alongside community stakeholders, families, and the Sunflower County School District to combat this cycle of poverty and to provide better educational opportunities for the children of Indianola.

DHA’s Indianola Promise Community currently has 32 partners who join the work around grade level reading proficiency. Those partners and work include Sunflower County Consolidated School District, Excel by 5, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, City of Indianola, Indianola Public Library, Save the Children Head Start, Teach for America, Barksdale Reading Institute, AmeriCorps* VISTA, local summer camps, and afterschool programs.