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Head Start center begins outreach program

By Carolina Astrain
March 28, 2013 at 9 p.m.
Updated March 27, 2013 at 10:28 p.m.

Dot Falcon

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Victoria Head Start application roundup event

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: The Sam Houston Room, 2nd Floor, 120 South Main Street

GONZALES

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: St. James Parish Hall, 417 N. College

CUERO

WHEN: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Cuero Head Start, 312 Dunn Street

YOAKUM

WHEN: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday

WHERE:Yoakum Head Start, 708 Boyle

HALLETTSVILLE

WHEN: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Hallettsville Head Start, 401 S. Dowling

PORT LAVACA

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Bauer Community Center, 2300 State Highway 35 north

EDNA

WHEN: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Edna Head Start, 104 Shelby Park Road

NIXON-SMILEY

WHEN: 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Nixon-Smiley Head Start, 500 N. Anglin

BLOOMINGTON

WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Friday

WHERE: Bloomington Head Start, 204 Leonard Ave. South

PLACEDO

WHEN: 1 to 3 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Placedo Head Start, 167 N. Williams Street

CENTER DEMOGRAPHICS AND STAFF

Student ethnicity

Latino: 448

Bi-racial: 54

White: 63

African-American: 195

Asian: 1

Native American/Alaskan Native: 1

Primary home language for students

Spanish: 96

English: 566

Number of students by county

Victoria: 355

Calhoun: 88

Lavaca: 33

DeWitt: 72

Gonzales: 94

Jackson: 44

Staff

Family Services Workers: 12

Teachers: 44

Teacher Assistants: 44

Certified teachers on staff: Over 50 percent

Bilingual teachers on staff: 40

SOURCE TMC Golden Crescent Head Start

Participating Agencies

These are the 16 organizations who will be at Monday's roundup.

2-1-1

MidCoast Family Services

Gulf Bend Center

Healthforce

Texas Women, Infants and Children

Early Childhood Intervention Services

The Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services

Red Cross

Food Bank of the Golden Crescent

Victoria College

Victoria City/County Health Department

Golden Crescent CASA

Workforce Solutions

Victoria Public Library

Christus Health

Superior Health Plan

Driscoll Health

Source: TMC Golden Crescent Head Start

Head Start, a federally-funded education center that provides early education for low-income students, services six counties in the Crossroads.

Organizers are hoping qualifying students register early because of the reduced number of space available for students next year.

Brandy Johnson, 32, of Victoria, enrolled her stepdaughter into the program in 2011.

"I was surprised about how helpful and the wide range of topics they were able to get us in touch with," said Johnson, the president of the center's parent policy council. "I'm a stay-at-home mom right now, and I volunteer every week."

Several local business are teaming up with Head Start to host an application roundup tour throughout the Crossroads to inform parents about the services the agency can coordinate.

"Some of the public views us as a day care center and that's not what we do," Parsons said. "We see the gains and values the children get from the program, and we know the only way out of poverty is education."

The Victoria Health Department, Red Cross, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Driscoll Health and the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services are among the 16 community partners the agency has teamed up with for the string of events.

"Dental is the service that has been the highest in demand," said health manager Dot Falcon. "And that's across the nation, not just here."

The 2013 sequestration cuts are expected to take 5.1 percent out of their funding, said Rachel Parsons, Teaching and Mentoring Communities Golden Crescent Head Start program director.

TMC Golden Crescent's 2013-14 proposed operating budget is about $4.2 million.

The program provides family resources, including dental and vision work, as well as an early pre-kindergarten education for students as young as 3 years old.

Items parents will need to provide to see whether they qualify include an updated immunization record, a copy of the child's birth certificate and proof of address and income.

A total of 687 students have been enrolled in the TMC Golden Crescent Head Start program during the past 10 years, Falcon said.

The center is expecting to eliminate 19 or 20 positions for students next year, but no cuts will be made to staff, Parsons said.

"Our main goal for this event is so we don't inundate the centers at the last minute," Parsons said. "We're not looking at cutting staff because we don't want to make sure the students are taught adequately."

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