LCCAA Releases Head Start Outcomes

posted 6/28/18 -- “Families really do have the opportunity to grow in the community through Head Start.”

Parent Policy Council President Reginald Cremeans was among the panelists at a press conference held at Lorain County Community Action Agency to release outcomes data on the 2017-18 school year in its Head Start program.

The data focuses on developmental milestones used by early childhood professionals to know what children should know and be able to do at specific ages. LCCAA Head Start conducts assessments of each child as soon as they enroll and again at the end of the year.

“Many of these children have never been in any kind of learning environment,” said Shauna Matelski, Head Start Director. “They may or may not have been read to. They may not know letters or colors or shapes. They may not know how to get along with other kids. We meet them where they are.”

Head Start is a federally funded, comprehensive child development program focused on preparing children for Kindergarten and serving the needs of families. Health and nutrition are large components of the program with services ranging from daily lunches to dental screenings. Children are also monitored for any signs of developmental delays or disabilities and referred as needed.

By the end of the year, Head Start children have met or exceeded expectations for 4 and 5 year olds on skills such as being ready to read, controlling their emotions, sorting shapes, and processing abstract thoughts in such activities as playing make believe.

LCCAA’s Board Vice Chair Nancy Sabath has had an impressive career in early childhood education. She said one of the major accomplishments of Head Start is in the area of literacy.

“Children from low-income families historically have a three million word gap at age three,” Sabath said. “They hear three million fewer words than other children.”

Parental involvement is a key component of Head Start with several parents serving on the decision making Policy Council. Serving on the council provides parents with an opportunity to learn leadership and organizational skills and to make an impact further than their own child.

“As a group, our ideas are welcomed,” said Reginald Cremeans, Head Start Policy Council President. “That is huge! Someone on Policy Council knew one of our families had had a house fire. The next thing you know, we’re organizing a safety day so our kids aren’t afraid if they meet a firefighter in full gear. That skill those children learned that day came from the involvement of a parent.”

Giving children a Head Start and strengthening families ultimately affects the entire community, said LCCAA President and CEO Jackie Boehnlein.

“Relationships with dozens of school districts, hundreds of professional educators and thousands of families are creating a stronger, more robust Lorain County one child at a time,” she said. “The bottom line here and across the country is that Head Start Works. We know that Every Child Counts.”

Lorain County Community Action Agency has been the only provider of Head Start in Lorain County since the program’s inception in 1965. LCCAA’s program began in 1966 and expanded to include Early Head Start in 1973.

Head Start and Early Head Start serve low-income children ages 0 to 5 and pregnant women. Head Start families must live at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Line.

Families receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) are automatically eligible.

Homeless children and children in foster care are also automatically eligible. LCCAA serves children with disabilities.

Enrollment is now open for fall. Contact LCCAA at 440-245-2009 or click here to enroll online.

Click here to view the full report.