Head Start grant winner begins student recruitment


A local collaborative that was recently awarded a federal Head Start grant began a student recruitment drive today.

A TPS-led community collaborative was awarded last month a five-year grant of $8.1 million to serve 1,126 children annually. The group, which includes delegates WSOS Community Action Agency and the Lucas County Family Council, along with a string of partner agencies, will take over the early-childhood education program this fall.

The federal grant has switched hands several times in recent years.

The local Head Start program was one of dozens that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put up for competition in 2011 for the first time. Community Development Institute of Denver was given the grant on an interim basis while the federal government went through the bidding process.

The TPS group is sharing the $13 million grant with Pittsburgh-based Brightside Academy.

Not only are the grantees new this year, but Toledo is part of a national pilot initiative, expanding its local Head Start program to offer services for children from birth through age 5.

Students who already enrolled through CDI will be automatically enrolled with the new Head Start providers.

Amy Allen, who heads early childhood and special education for TPS, said the collaborative hopes to enroll between 350 and 400 children during the summer recruitment period.

Head Start locations aren't solidified yet. Ms. Allen said that TPS will have classes at four elementary schools, and will have Head Start students at its two existing preschool sites. There will also be programming at the former Summit Street YMCA building.

WSOS will provide Head Start in the Washington Local and Springfield school districts, though students who qualify for the program but live in other Lucas County suburbs can enroll at those locations.

The collaborative is also working with about a half-dozen private child-care providers that will accept Head Start students.

If more students apply to TPS or WSOS for Head Start, they will be either placed on a waiting list or referred to Brightside.

The recruitment drive runs through Thursday. It will be between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the former DeVilbiss High School, 3301 Upton Ave.

Parents or guardians need to bring their child's birth certificate, three proofs of residency, a photo ID, income verification, insurance information, and custody papers if necessary.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.