Federal grant to help coordinate Head Start providers across state

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 13, 2000

A federal grant should help establish a connection between the state’s 20 Head Start providers — including the local provider — and the Mississippi Department of Education.

Lynne Masters of the Mississippi Department of Education said the $150,000 collaboration grant is a &uot;wonderful&uot; way to make sure Head Start providers are aware of state resources.

The funding will promote &uot;consistency and efficiency&uot; among services provided by head start and public schools, she said.

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Before this grant, it was more difficult for Head Start providers to stay in tune with state events, Masters said. &uot;So many times when you’re so far away, you don’t know what’s going on,&uot; at the state level, Masters said.

And Mississippi is the last state in the country to receive this funding, Masters said.

The funding sets up a position at the state department to work with head start and funding for training sessions and conferences.

&uot;This just gives us a connection with the&uot; Office of Children and Youth and the Department of Human Services, Masters said. &uot;With the emphasis all over the state with pre-K, it really is a win-win for the department.&uot;

U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-Miss., announced the grant this month. &uot;Neighbors helping neighbors within our communities is what it is all about,&uot; Shows said. &uot;Taking our children and giving them the confidence and tools needed to make it in our world raises the social and economic rewards for everybody.&uot;

More than 25,000 children ages 3 and 4 attend Head Start programs in Mississippi. Head Start also serves 900 infants, toddlers and pregnant women. More than 500 children from infants to 4-year-olds attend Adams County’s local head start program at Thompson School.

AJFC had been under probation from the state health department for conditions at Thompson. The agency hopes to secure the building from the county, although Thompson alumni would like access to the school as well.

The $150,000 grant is a five-year renewable grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and required a $50,000 match from the state, Masters said.