Donors Choose Is a Win-Win for Everybody

Jennifer Simpson Serves Teaching Staff as DonorsChoose Advocate

Decatur City Center Director Jennifer Simpson was selected as a Teacher Advocate for DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make it easy for anyone to help a teacher in need.

It gives us the extra income we need. It supplements the budget for the Partnership so they (teachers) can really get some of the things that we can’t always supply them through the company. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Jennifer Simpson, DonorsChoose Teacher Advocate

Jennifer was introduced to DonorsChoose.org by Children’s Services Director Kim Dodd in 2017 when she was serving the Partnership as a Pre-K teacher in Sylvania (DeKalb County). See how Jennifer now supports other classroom staff with on-demand guidance for submitting projects to the non-profit classroom funding site.

You’re Never Too Young to Want to Be President

As Joe Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president just before noon E.T. on Wednesday, January 20th, Ratchford B (Oneonta, AL) teacher Ashley Chumley led her Preschool Head Start class of three- and four-year-olds in a history lesson.

Children in Ashley Chumley’s Ratchford B classroom watch the Joe Biden inauguration ceremony

Ashley and teacher assistant Claudia Zamora led the students in conversations about being a President, such as where they live, some of the things they do as president, and how they keep us safe.

The children were shown photos of all presidents from past to present as well as an image the White House. Ashley reported that the children were visibly excited to be able to watch Mr. Biden become President while they watch. The children were asked to help make a list of what makes a good president:

Ratchford B children made a list of what traits help to make a good president

After the inauguration, the children were asked what would they do if they were President. Some answers included, “Go to Walmart and buy some flags,” “Dance with my dog,” and “Watch a big TV.”

Children shared what they would do if they were president through dictation and artwork

Families who are interested in applying for Ratchford Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) may contact the center at (205) 625-6254, or visit us online at CAPNA Children’s Services.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to Recruit)

The winter holiday season is for most a time spent with family, sharing home cooked meals, and shopping for gifts. For Head Start staff, it is also a time to connect with the community and recruit families for Early Head Start and Head Start.

Ft. Payne Head Start staff prepare to participate in the 2020 Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Center Director Theresa Dalton (Ft. Payne) and her staff participated in a Recruitment & Community Involvement event last December by entering a float in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade to get the word out to families that Head Start recruiting season lasts all year. As the parade moved through the downtown streets, members of the Ft. Payne team walked alongside their school bus-themed float and passed out recruitment flyers while others rode atop the float, throwing candy and greeting parade spectators from the DeKalb County town of about 14,000 people.

Center Director Theresa Dalton (front) and staff prepare to participate in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Families interested in Ft. Payne Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) can call (256) 845-9176 for Preschool Head Start or (256) 845-5951 for Early Head Start, or visit us online to complete an application at CAPNA Children’s Services.

“Be the Light” Event Supports Moulton Head Start Families

Center Director Edie Dugger organizes home energy efficiency kits for distribution to families

Moulton Head Start rallied the community during their December Be the Light event as vital fire safety information, equipment, and assistance was shared with area families with low incomes.

Moulton Head Start Center Director Edie Dugger and Assistant Center Director Carolyn Brackin Orr sought and received support from community leaders to provide participating families with items such as high efficiency light bulbs, smoke detectors, power surge protectors, flashlights, and lamp.

Moulton Assistant Center Director Carolyn Brackin Orr prepares for the center’s Be the Light event

During the Be the Light event alone, more than 50 energy assistance applications were distributed to local families. Thanks to monetary contributions by local agencies, public and private businesses, multiple families received assistance with their utility bills. All families receiving assistance were screened for eligibility before being entered into a random drawing (excluding CAPNA employees).

A total of 46 smoke detectors were donated along with HOMEnergy efficiency kits from CAPNA, courtesy of TVA. The kits included energy efficiency tools such as weather stripping, switch plates, caulk, and other materials to help reduce energy consumption.

Moulton Head Start students show off their Fire Safety Manual coloring books during Fire Safety Week

In addition to the items distributed to families, Moulton Head Start students participated in fire safety activities that included materials donated from the local fire department. Thanks to the extensive community support, Moulton Head Start families are able to live a little safer and sleep a little warmer.

Families interested in applying for Moulton Head Start may contact the center at 256-974-0961 or by visiting https://capna.org/childrens-services/.

Endowment Brings New Preschool to Decatur’s Beltline

Corporate scholarships can pave the way for employees to secure high-quality childcare

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur and Partnership CEO Tim Thrasher toured the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center as renovations are being completed for an August 2019 opening.

Thanks to an endowment awarded to Community Action Partnership of North Alabama (the Partnership), with the help of Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, families of preschool children in Decatur have more options for local early childhood education. The new Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center is set to open this fall with space for three Infant/Toddler classrooms for children birth to age three, one Head Start classroom for children ages three and four, and one state Pre-K classroom for four-year-olds. During a walk-through of the nearly-complete facility with Partnership CEO Tim Thrasher, Collins reflected on how the decision by the Women’s Leadership Council to fund the project will leave its footprint on local children. “All of the women that worked so hard in the Women’s Leadership Council to promote important women’s and children’s issues will be so excited that the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center will be changing the lives of our children forever.”

All of the women that worked so hard in the Women’s Leadership Council to promote important women’s and children’s issues will be so excited that the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center will be changing the lives of our children forever.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur

Although the Partnership has been serving North Alabama’s preschool children for 50 years, the Vivian Conatser-Turner Early Learning Center provides a new opportunity for employees of local corporations.   Building on its extensive knowledge and experience serving preschoolers, the Partnership is venturing out into the private for-fee early childhood sector for its Infant/Toddler classrooms. 

In response to the challenges many working families face in finding quality care for their infants and toddlers, the Partnership is offering scholarship opportunities to local corporations as a benefit for their employees’ preschool-age children.  Corporate-funded childcare scholarships provide families the peace of mind of high-quality early care for their children while they are at work. Plus, corporations are able to provide a benefit to their employees that allows them to minimize absences often associated with unreliable childcare.  

Corporations interested in investing in their employees or sponsoring working parents in the community by investing in childcare with scholarships for Infant/Toddler care can contact Children’s Services director Kim Dodd at 256-260-3156 (kim.dodd@capna.org), Partnership Development Manager Rebecca Bibb at 256-260-3172 (rebecca.bibb@capna.org) or Center Director Heather Kennedy (heather.kennedy@capna.org).

 

What 54 Means

For Head Start grantees, 54 is more than just another birthday

The number 54 can mean many things. In units of measurement, things can weigh 54 pounds, be 54 inches long, or last 54 days. A 17-foot Delta Expedition kayak weighs 54 pounds. Twice around the circumference of a bowling ball is 54 inches. And some consider 54 days the perfect amount of time before a trip to book a flight. But for those who are immersed in the Head Start world, 54 has an even more important meaning. On May 18, 2019, Head Start celebrated its 54th birthday.

The Partnership celebrated Head Start’s 54th birthday at multiple sites across the 16-county service area.

On May 18th, 1965, in the White House Rose Garden, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced to the nation the creation of Project Head Start. Since that date, more than 32 million children and their families have benefited from Head Start. Each child and family has a story. Each has experienced different outcomes. All have been prepared for school, work, and life, thanks to Head Start.

In the last 54 years, we have seen the birth of the internet, our first African-American president, the advent of electric cars, and so many more improvements on our daily lives. But none so impactful as the the quality of early childhood education provided by Head Start.

In addition to life and school preparedness, Head Start is also the nation’s laboratory for early learning innovation. Head Start offers a unique whole child/whole family program design coupled with a delivery system that includes local programs, national standards, monitoring, professional development, and family engagement. This has been the basis for many subsequent statewide and community initiatives.

National Head Start Association

According to the National Head Start Association, children are 93% less likely to become a statistic in the foster care system when they participate in Head Start as compared to not enrolling in an early childhood education (ECE) program. No other ECE program can make that claim. And Head Start’s outcomes last well beyond a child’s last day of Head Start enrollment. Compared with children who were cared for exclusively by parents during early childhood, the performance of Head Start children on cognitive and social-emotional measures in kindergarten exceeded those of their peers. Plus, children who had completed a Head Start program had fewer attention and behavior problems as their peers.

Children learning through play in an Early Head Start classroom

The Partnership’s early childhood programs include Early Head Start, Preschool Head Start, Pre-K, EHS Home Bound, First Teacher Home Visiting, and Child Care Partnerships. For program year 2018, more than 2,600 children and families received early childhood education services that included health and wellness screenings, developmental screenings, and family engagement opportunities in addition to the classroom education provided for enrolled children. Across six developmental domains (math, literacy, cognitive, language, physical, and social-emotional), children enrolled in Partnership programs exhibited an average of 23% gains in development from fall to spring.

Thanks to Head Start’s Learning Outcomes Framework and Program Performance Standards, children enrolled in Head Start benefit from one of the nation’s oldest and most successful early childhood programs in history. The War on Poverty continues. And so does the commitment of Head Start grantees across the nation to provide the highest quality early childhood education possible to help move children and families out of poverty for good.

Labor of Love Opens In Marshall County

Albertville Head Start Early Learning Center Prepares for 2019-2020 Early Childhood Recruiting Season

Recruitment season for 2019-20 has begun for The Partnership’s Children’s Services staff.  And the new Albertville site is ready for the applications from local families looking for a high-quality center to serve their preschoolers.  The Albertville site is located at 908 Cooley Street in Albertville just off of U.S. Highway 431.  The site was acquired to consolidate other locations in Marshall County that were in structures considered less than ideal for housing preschool children, including mobile facilities or dated buildings in need of extensive upgrades.

Classroom Specialist Letha Cannon is based at the Albertville site and supervises classroom staff for four classrooms: one Early Head Start classroom that serves children birth to three years of age, plus pregnant women, and three preschool Head Start classrooms that serve children ages three to five, or up to eligibility for kindergarten.

We provide that comprehensive program to make sure that we are supporting the parent and training for them and the children so that we can prepare them to become school-ready with skills for school and skills for life.

-Letha Cannon, Albertville Children’s Services Classroom Specialist

In 2018, The Partnership served more than 2,500 children in 16 counties across North Alabama in a variety of early childhood programs.  Early Head Start serves children birth to three years, plus pregnant women.  Preschool Head Start serves children ages three to five, up to eligibility for kindergarten.  Home Visiting programs include Early Head Start Home Visiting and First Teacher Programs. These programs serve families in their homes through qualified staff with extensive early childhood education backgrounds.  And Child Care Partnerships are provided through collaborative efforts between The Partnership and local child care providers.

Applications for Partnership early childhood education programs may be started online with the selection of program and location preferences .  Once the pre-application has been submitted, families are contacted by Family Engagement staff to complete the application in person.  Each applicant follows the same intake process and selection is made based on a points system for prioritization. 

To find our Early Head Start or Head Start location nearest you visit us online at www.capna.org and click your county of residence.