Hinds Community College is becoming the home to one of 10 Early Childhood Academies being housed at community colleges throughout the state.

An open house to spotlight the new program, which officially opens on July 1, is planned for 2 p.m. June 15 at the academy’s headquarters in the Adult Education Building on the Raymond Campus.

“We’re pleased to have this new program at Hinds. With the large number of child care centers in our college district, it is a much needed resource,” said Vice President Dr. Chad Stocks.

The Early Childhood Academy program has several components: professional development, technical assistance and resource and referrals for the approximately 250 child care centers in those counties. The program also offer referrals for families who need guidance.

Currently, the project has two employees, but Stocks is expecting that number to grow quickly. LaTina Gray and Amelda Ellis will oversee the Early Childhood Academy for the Hinds district.

LaTina Gray, left, and Amelda Ellis with some of the materials available to child care providers at the new Early Childhood Academy on the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College.

LaTina Gray, left, and Amelda Ellis with some of the materials available to child care providers at the new Early Childhood Academy on the Raymond Campus of Hinds Community College.

“We’re going to be providing training and professional development to child care providers across the Hinds County district area in the counties of Warren, Hinds, Claiborne and Rankin,” said Gray, coaching and professional development specialist.

For the child care providers, the academy will have scheduled professional development training to be announced later.

“We will train them on a number of topics, such as health and safety, child growth and development, nutrition, planning learning activities, guidance and discipline, linkage with community services, communications and relations with families and detection of child abuse,” she said.

The centers will also have access to materials and resources at the center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays.

“The providers and teachers can come out and use any materials and tools, including printing machines, the copier, and lamination— anything that they need to get classrooms where they want them to be, any resources that we have,” Gray said. “They can pull from resources that we will have available in our resource center.”

Parents will be able to find out about local child care centers through the referral and data collection service. They also will be able to pull from in content area they might need for parenting, she said.

Gray of Pearl holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s in Childcare and Family Education, both from Jackson State University.

“I want to help and guide childcare providers, teachers and families that are a part of the Early Childhood Academy program to a successful path and ensure that high quality services for the children and families of Mississippi are provided,” she said.

Ellis of Jackson works as a resource and referral associate for the program. Ellis has a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a bachelor’s degree in the same subject, both from Alcorn State University.

“I want to be transparent, hands on and resourceful with the providers and community,” she said. “I also want to build cohesive relationships with local agencies. Finally, I want to be welcoming and inviting to all the people whom I will come in contact with on a daily basis in the Resource and Referral Center.”

Both arrived at Hinds from the Mississippi State University Early Years Network.

[tweetable alt=””]Hinds CC’s Early Childhood Academy has open house 2 p.m. June 15.[/tweetable]


Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.

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