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February 13, 2013     Hays Free Press
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February 13, 2013
 

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HaysFreePress.com February 13, 2013 SECOND CHANCE Mark Moreno speaks about cord blood transplant. - Page 1B Page 3B + Program beneficiaries disagree with federal findings BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com The Feb. 6 article, "How effective is Head Start?" in the Hays Free Press reported on the findings of the Head Start Impact Study, a congressionally-mandated review of the $7.2 billion- a-year school readiness program for low-income students. That report, conducted by two well-respected U.S. research firms and other experts, concluded that cognitive gains made by students in Head Start all but dissipated by third grade. In this follow-up, we talked to local Head Start administrators, teachers and parents who believe that the foundation Head Start provides is not measureable in scores alone. Suad Hooper, the Head Start program director for Community Action, Inc. of Central Texas (Community Action), is a former Head Start teacher and master teacher (mentor) with 10 years of experience working with the program. Teresa Rivas, the center director for the Head Start facility at Hemphill Elementary, has been with the program for 13 years. Both of these women say the report does not give the full picture of the importance of the program. Head Start deals with the COURTESY PHOTO Students at the Head Start, a school readiness program started in 1965; housed at Hemphill Elementary School undergo quarterly assessments for a variety of cognitive developmental issues including delayed speech and motor skills as well as health problems. Catching those issues early is important and can lead to children getting help before they reach elementary school. Adriana Gracia (above) hugs one of her students. Below, Felicia Nunez and her son Julian. whole child," Hooper said. Rivas added that Head Start has a health CbTripbnen{ to if- students receive vaccinations, wellness checks and dental care in addition to learning age-appropriate math, language, science and history. "An early start will eventually make an impact in the future," Rivas said. "I see my early students going to high school, being successful. I see my students being very successful." Hooper and Rivas said another important piece of the Head Start puzzle is the quarterly assessments they conduct on students, center and get involved with "Those results drive the the program. individual plans for each Felicia Nunez, a Hispanic child," Rivas said. woman in her 20s, is one Those early assessments, of those parents. This Kyle says Hooper, include mother of a three-year-old developmental screenings son at Hemphill's Head Start for cognitive development does not agree with the or other health issues, report's findings. including problems with Speaking through Rivas fine and gross motor skills, as her translator, she said speech, problems cutting she has seen an advance in with scissors, riding a bike his learning since her son or tricycle and running, started the program several When teachers find those months ago. issues early on, it can lead to "How can these kids in early referrals. Head Start not get ahead," Critics of Head Start also Nunez asked? question why the program She explained how her is housed under the son's behavior and skills Department of Health and improved since coming to Human Services and not the Head Start. Department of Education. "I have seen a lot of Hooper said it's a changes," Nunez said. "He historical location for Head had very delayed language Start, probably because for his age. I have seen his it is connected to other language developing more." social service programs. But Nunez explained how her Hooper said the program son now uses scissors better is working with the Dept. and is starting to write with of Education to create a pencil. a quality rating system, "He wasn't able to use connect the curriculum and them very well before he share data. started here," she said. "He She and Rivas also is also writing lines and his emphasized the family trying to use a pencil has connection component of improved." the Head Start philosophy. She also said because "This is a family of Head Start, she started program," Rivas said. reading to her son more According to Rivas at home. Was she doing and Hooper, parents are that before he started the encouraged to come to the program? ~ad Hooper, Head Start program director for ~ommunity Action, Inc. of Central Texas 11 "To tell you the truth, no," she said. Early literacy is a driving factor behind Head Start, which was started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to increase school- readiness for impoverished students. Nunez also said her son's behavior has gotten better. "He knows how to follow rules," she said. Nunez said by his being at Head Start, she feels he is already a step ahead of children his age. She had him at home each day before enrolling him in Head Start. Nunez learned about the program when she signed up for English as a second language classes at the Kyle Learning Center. \ She is now able to attend ESL classes while her son is in Head Start. She also comes in to volunteer a few hours a week. Nunez believes Head Start has had a positive impact on her son and her family. Hooper said Head Start now is realizing that, "We didn't measure. "We were so determined to make that would never be at the same level as other children by third grade. Hooper said the support parents receive from Head Start is based on best research practices, and that low-income families need extra help. "Poverty forms the thinking of the family," she said. Hooper said parents in low-income homes are not thinking about the color of the baby's nursery. "Poverty kills hope and what Head Start tries to do is bring that hope back," she said. Current Head Start teacher Annette Navarro said her daughter, Alexis, went to Head Start years ago when Navarro was a single mum. Alexis is currently at Chapa Middle School and about to be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. "l give everything to Head impact that really we weren't Start," Navarro said. "They measuring it," she said. She said Johnson's goal in 1965 to close the learning gap in five years was very ambitious. "They thought poverty can be curbed in five years," she said. gave her opportunities I probably wouldn't have gi'~en her." She said of course she and her husband support her daughter - a critical component of the Head Start program. Despite the report, "But Head Start was the Hooper said without Head foundation of my daughter's Start, students probably education," Navarro said. 122 Main Street Downtown Buda at the traffic light 468-4451 Open every day 295 -6008 To schedule an appointment, call 512-694-1746 SCHOOL BRIEFS Hays vs. Lockhart alumni football game Alumni football players from Hays High and Lockhart High schools will be playing against each other at 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at Shelton Stadium at Hays High School. The game, put together by Alumni Football USA, will have players from 1993 through 2012. Players wear full pads and the game is officiated. The man-boys get to play one more game while their alma maters earn 50 percent of pre- ticket sales for their athletic programs. Grab your camera and that old high school football jersey and root on your alumni. Adult tickets are $10; under 10 are free. Mr, Rebel . pageant to raise funds ., for Project The next fundraiser ~ for Project Graduation is the "Mr. Rebel" pageant. '. ~ Contestants must be senior *" boys. The pageant will ~ feature formal wear, talent '~. and swimsuit competitions. Tickets are $4 in advance, " $5 at the door. All proceeds ,,,'" benefit the Hays High Project Graduation, a lock- in event that helps keep i students from drinking and . driving on graduation night. ~: Q The event will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Burdine ,~ Johnson Theater at the Hays ~ High School campus. ~, Hays County .... .,, Farm Bureau ? The Hays County Farm Bureau is offering two $500 scholarships for students to use toward a college or university in Texas. Must be the son or daughter of a current Hays County Farm Bureau member; other restrictions and criteria apply. Memberships can be obtained at any of the three Farm Bureau offices: San Marcus, Dripping Springs, or Kyle. For more information and scholarship application, contact 512 396-2013. PEC offering scholarships to graduating seniors Pedernales Electric Cooperative is offering 14 scholarships to Hays County students, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000, which can be used at any accredited university, college, junior college, technical school or trade school. Each scholarship recipient must be a senior in high school, - and his or her parents or legal guardians must be PEC members. Recipients will be selected based on their applicant profile, including academic performance, community involvement, extracurricvlar activities and financial need. This year's essay topic: Identify a lesson you've learned from a mentor/role model and how that has impacted 1 i MALWARE VIRUSES , 0n-Site Removal F A R M E R 5 . 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