By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — The District 80 Board of Education Wednesday approved the annual monitoring plan for the Dr. Andy Hall Early Childhood Center.
Covered under the plan are the methods by which the Andy Hall faculty will meet federal performance standards for the district’s Head Start Program this year.
Adopting the plan is a yearly requirement of the federal Head Start grant.
“It meets a need because it allows us to, on a regular basis, go through to make sure we are covering everything we need to be covering to meet the federal guidelines,” said Andy Hall Principal Lori Given. “It serves as a reminder to staff why we do things and why we have procedures and plans in place.”
The district’s Head Start Program was hit hard this year by sequestration cuts, which reduced the program by 32 slots.
Head Start provides educational services to low-income children and their families.
Given said District 80’s program received a $1,372,986 federal grant this school year, about a 5 percent decrease compared to the prior year.
Because of the cuts, 32 students had to be placed on a waiting list instead of participating in the program.
Some of these students, however, are being served by the district’s state-funded Pre-K Program.
With the cuts, the district also was unable to hire a replacement for a retiring Head Start teacher and had to cut an aide position.
Despite these challenges, though, District 80 officials remain committed to making their Head Start Program as effective as possible, Given said.
“We provide a comprehensive program for families and children,” Given said.
The Andy Hall Monitoring Plan is a lengthy document covering all aspects of the district’s Head Start Program.
Given provided a few key examples from the plan showing how Andy Hall faculty will meet the federal standards.
One of the requirements is for Head Start students to have access to dental care on a regular basis.
To meet this need, Andy Hall has partnered with the Dental Safari Company, which travels to schools throughout the region to provide dental care to students.
Another aspect of this year’s plan deals with revisions made to Andy Hall’s mental health screening process for Head Start children.
The plan also outlines the school’s procedures for meeting the needs of students with disabilities, as well as helping parents through various outreach programs, Given said.
Family service workers at Andy Hall offer training to local parents on financial literacy, effective discipline and other topics, Given said.
The workers also refer parents to community resources if they are in need.
Superintendent Mike Green said the monitoring plan serves an important purpose for the district.
“It’s just a necessary piece to make sure everything is done appropriately,” Green said.