Jack & Jill Teens Head to Texas Capitol to Rally for Universal Pre-K Education

ADVISORY, March 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

WHO: Kristen Williams, Teen President, Greater Channel Chapter, Jack & Jill of America (High School for Visual & Performing Arts, Houston ISD)
Briana Amaya, Pre-K Student, Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc. Early Childhood Center (Houston ISD Charter)
Iman Andrews, Teen Advocate, Greater Channel Chapter, Jack & Jill of America (Lamar High School, Houston ISD)
Madison Harris, Teen Advocate, Greater Channel Chapter, Jack & Jill of America (Lamar High School, Houston ISD)
Colen James, Teen Advocate, Greater Channel Chapter, Jack & Jill of America (Pearland High School, Pearland ISD)
Jeyla Johnson, Teen Advocate, Humble/Kingwood Chapter of Jack & Jill of America (Atascocita High School, Humble ISD)
Marcellus Jordan, Teen Advocate, Greater Channel Chapter, Jack & Jill of America (Mickey Leland Young Men's College Preparatory Houston ISD)
Ross Thompson, Teen Advocate, Katy Prairie View Chapter of Jack & Jill of America (Langham Creek High School, Cy-Fair ISD)
Paula McCann Harris, President, Greater Channel Chapter, Jack & Jill of America, & Houston ISD Trustee, Position IV
Rodney Ellis, Senator, State of Texas, District 13
Sylvester Turner, Representative, State of Texas, District 139
Other legislators and early education advocates

In an effort to use their "Power to Make a Difference" in early childhood education, Jack & Jill of America (JNJ), Inc. Greater Channel Teens will lead a delegation of 100 that includes Teens from the Greater Houston and Austin areas, and 20 pre-kindergarten students from Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc. Early Childhood Center (a Houston ISD Charter School). Moms of JNJ Teens and pre-k students will travel to Austin during their spring break to rally for support and increase access to quality early education for preschool children. JNJ teens will hold a press conference to express their support of six key policy areas designed to support and strengthen early education; 1) more high-quality curriculum; 2) a full classroom day to provide time to learn; 3) appropriate student-to-teacher ratios; 4) appropriate assessment to demonstrate substantial educational growth; 5) teacher support and professional development; and 6) the opportunity for low and middle income families to participate. The teens will also participate in a round-table discussion with legislators, lobbyists, and supporting agencies to discuss the opportunities for and obstacles to addressing pre-school education and other important legislative issues that affect minority children. JNJ Teens will also have an opportunity to become legislative staffers for a day to get a glimpse of the legislative process.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 8:30 A.M.
WHERE: On the Steps of the Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin

Jack & Jill of America, Inc. Teens highlight the direct correlation between school success and economic status as early as kindergarten. Children who start at a disadvantage often have a hard time catching up. The JNJ teens point to the Center on Children and Families at Brookings' study that shows that the likelihood of 3 and 4-year-old children who are not in a quality pre-school program will not be school ready is nine percentage points higher than those of children who attend pre-school. The JNJ Teens find these numbers hard to ignore. The teens believe that in order to have a promising Texas future for everyone, there needs to be more investment in student success at the pre-kindergarten level. JNJ Teens also refer to a Texas A&M University study that shows there is a benefit to society of $3.50 for every dollar invested in pre‐K students. JNJ Teens know that to turn these staggering statistics around, there needs to be a greater and earlier commitment to universal education. Today, Texas does not have a strong pre-K program. Texas ranks last among states that fund pre-K programs. Currently, the state of Texas only funds half-day pre-K for 217,565 eligible students with no curriculum requirements or classroom standards. JNJ Teens believe "all children" deserve better early education and want state legislatures make the change.


  • Greater Channel JNJ Teens leading press conference and making the case for quality early educational programs
  • Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc. Early Childhood-Center Pre-K 3 & 4 students reading from books and high-frequency word lists
  • Pre-K moms holding signs of support and speaking on the need for more support to pre-school educate children
  • Senator Rodney Ellis, other legislators, and members of the Texas Education Grant-makers Advocacy Consortium participate in the press conference

About Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated, Greater Channel Chapter

The Greater Channel Chapter is one of 230 affiliate chapters of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. (JNJ). Under the national leadership of President Tammy King, JNJ membership is comprised of mothers with children ages 2-19. Established in Philadelphia in 1938, JNJ members are mothers dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders by strengthening all children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty. JNJ mothers and children choose to embrace our leadership through volunteer services and philanthropy in a way that will help other youth. JNJ members and its youth embrace "The Power to Make a Difference" in its chapters, communities and in the lives of children around the country. For more information about Jack and Jill of America, Inc., visit www.jackandjillinc.org.

About Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc. Early Childhood Center

Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc. Early Childhood Center (EEA, Inc. ECC) is a visionary leader in meeting one of the greatest challenges in education—that of preparing young children for success in kindergarten and beyond. Providing full-day classes for four-year olds and half-day classes for three-year olds, the school believes that intentional, well-structured learning activities significantly improve kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading mastery, high school graduation rates, post high school education/credentialing, and workforce readiness. Using a comprehensive and unique curriculum that supports the development of early literacy skills, teachers address specific reading, speaking, math, and critical thinking skills in student-centered activities that are both rewarding and fun. Because of the diversity within the school's population, the school subscribes to a dual-language configuration, which yields students that can speak, think, read and write two languages. The diversity is further championed through a variety of cultural activities designed to build an understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of the many similarities and differences within the classrooms. As the foundation for the Energized family of schools which spans from Prekindergarten to 12th grade, the early-childhood program serves as the first step on the journey to college and careers. EEA, Inc. ECC is a Houston Independent School District Charter School.

Greater Channel Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

  • 4:30 A.M. Board Buses: Teen and middle school delegation board buses at Young Women's College Preparatory Academy parking lot located at 1906 Cleburne Street. Chaperones can leave their cars.

Board Bus: Pre-K student, parent and teacher delegation will board bus at Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc. parking lot located at 6201 Bissonnet, Houston. Chaperones can leave their cars.

  • 5:00 A.M. Departure: Delegation departs from Houston to Austin. The delegation includes:
    • 40 JNJ Teens (representing 15 public and private area high schools)
    • 10 HISD High School Student Congress Representatives
    • 30 JNJ Middle School Students
    • 20 Pre-K Students, Pre-K Mothers, and Jack & Jill Mothers
  • 8:00 A.M. Arrival: Delegation arrives in Austin and prepare for Press Conference.
  • 8:30 A.M. Press Conference & Photo Op: Senator Rodney Ellis welcomes Delegation and help kick-off the Press Conference. The Press Conference will be held on the South Steps of the Capitol.
  • 9:00 A.M. Guided Tours: Delegation goes on guided tour of the Capitol (divided into two groups to tour Senate and Representative Houses).
  • 10:15 A.M. Senate & House Legislative Chamber Visits: Delegation will be divided up and visit each of the Legislative Chambers.
  • 11:00 A.M. Lunch & Discussion: During lunch, Garnet Coleman, Representative, State of Texas, District 147, and other legislators and lobbyists will brief the delegation on the status of Early Education legislation. They will also be briefed on what they can expect during their Mini-Intern experience. Lunch will be held in Legislative Main Conference Room E2.002A

  • 12:30 P.M. Mini-Intern: Teens work in assigned legislative offices (list to follow) to experience the behind-the-scenes making of state policy.
  • 3:15 P.M. Legislative Round-Table Discussion: Teens and Legislators, led by Senator Rodney Ellis, will discuss other legislative bills and policies that affect youth. Legislative Main Conference Room E2.002A

  • 4:00 P.M. Capitol Scavenger Hunt: delegation will participate in this activity that is designed to test their newly developed skills of navigating through the State Capitol.
  • 5:00 P.M. Board Buses & Photo Op: Delegation takes final photo and board buses to depart to Houston.
  • 6:00 P.M. Dinner Stop: Southside Market & BBQ Restaurant, 534 Highway 71 West, Bastrop.
  • 10:00 P.M. Return: Delegation arrives at Young Women's Preparatory Academy and Energized for Excellence Academy.
CONTACT: Argentina M. James HillDay Public Relations, Inc. Phone: 713.306.6822 Fax: 281.997.9540 Email: ajames@hilldaypr.com

Source: Greater Channel Jack &Jill of America, Inc.