Head Start program prepares for federal review

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, March 18, 2010

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

As public schools prepare students to take standardized tests, one school program is getting ready for its own assessment.

Lowndes County’s Board of Education Head Start is preparing for its tri-annual review by the federal government the week of March 21 through March 25.

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Teachers, parents and board members of Head Start have been preparing to demonstrate how the program is needed in the community by taking mock reviews and meeting with consultants.

“We are making sure everyone is prepared to meet compliance standards,” said Head Start Director Samita Jeter. “Head Start has to show how it is making a difference in the community.”

The Head Start program helps children ages 3 through 5 by preparing them for kindergarten and offers a wide range of services to parents.

Parents who are enrolled and working to obtain their GED can be compensated for the fee required to take the test by the Head Start curriculum.

Jeter says it is important to ensure that families have access to their needs.

“We work with the entire family, not just the child,” Jeter said.

The curriculum can assist parents with transportation for children who are in need of medical attention and recruits dentists to visit schools and offer dental screenings.

Parents and family members can also volunteer their time to help teachers at the school centers located at Central Elementary, Ft. Deposit Elementary or Jackson-Steele elementary.

“It’s important for family members to see how their kids are performing,” said teacher Joy Kelly. “We learn from the parents and want the parents to learn from us.”

Volunteers can sign in whichever day of the week they want at any of the three centers.

The program hosts weekly events, such as Grandparents Day on March 20, to encourage volunteer participation in the growth and development of their children, said Jeter.