The Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools have been awarded a $6.7 million per year Head Start grant.
The district was notified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of the five-year award to serve children and families in Wyandotte County.
The grant will provide 560 part-day and 318 full-day slots for 3- and 4-year-old children, and also support work with their families. KCKPS is the lead agency in a community partnership that includes churches, social service agencies, day care providers and public agencies.
“We are thrilled to receive news of this grant award,” said Superintendent Cynthia Lane. “Research clearly supports investments in supporting brain development in children’s earliest years, and we are strongly committed to developing the highest quality Head Start program in the country.”
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages 3 to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in:
• Language and literacy
• Cognition and general knowledge
• Physical development and health
• Social and emotional development
• Approaches to learning
Head Start also supports work with families on health and safety, child development and parenting, providing them resources and knowledge to support the growth and development of their children.
KCKPS submitted the grant in October 2013, and since then has been working hard to prepare for the possibility of receiving the grant, a spokesman said. More than 100 staff will be hired for this grant, including early childhood teachers, teaching assistants, family service workers and site managers.
The district also has been working with the current grantee, the Community Development Institute Head Start, on a plan for transition, which will take place during the month of June. Currently, the district is in the process of hosting centralized enrollment for all of its preschool slots at its Central Office and Training Center, 2010 N. 59th St., Kansas City, Kan.
The grant begins June 1, 2014, and KCKPS will begin serving Head Start families on Aug. 12, 2014.
– Information from Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools