Keshia lives in Lincoln Gardens, an affordable housing apartment complex in Jackson, Mississippi. She has lived in Jackson her whole life, and is the mother to four young children Asiah and Arenah (11), Aren (8) and Amayah (6).
Keshia is a dedicated and loving parent. As a matter of fact, last year she was named “Mother of the Year” at her children’s elementary school.
But as her children grew older, Keshia also recognized, that there were limits to how she could help them develop.
Having never been taught technology in school, Keshia would ask her children to help her use the internet, rather than being able to offer that guidance to them herself.
Fed up, Keshia signed up for the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Parent Academy, hoping to learn some basic tools to utilize technology.
Each week Keshia walked her family down the street to Commonwealth Village, another affordable housing apartment complex in her neighborhood, for the Parent Academy meetings funded through the Ready to Learn grant.
Keshia joined other parents in classes that focused on using technology in the home as an academic tool and got practice working with her children through interactive computer activities on the PBS Kids website.
Keshia discovered how to assist her children in learning through play. Aren, in particular, began to ask to access the pbskidsonline website when he arrived home from school.
While Keshia gained new skills, she points to her son, Aren, as the true success story.
At the beginning of the year, Aren tested below grade level in reading, threatening to get stuck behind the 3rd grade gate in Jackson Public Schools.
But through school support and the new tools Keshia gained through the Parent Academy to help her son on vocabulary and reading comprehension, Aren began to thrive.
Keshia speaks with pride as she reports his recent success on the STAR assessment, where he scored at a 5th grade reading level.
For Keshia, the success of Aren is why the Parent Academy mattered, because as a mother she now feels empowered to help her children use technology to be the best students and young people they can be.