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Paducah Head Start program awarded $60,000 in grants

by David Snow
The Paducah Sun
October 22, 2019
Used with permission.
The Paducah Head Start program was awarded two grants totaling $60,000 to be used this school year.

The grants are provided by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood. Those taking part in its Readiness Summits - including Paducah Head Start Director Kristy Lewis - were able to apply for the grants.

The grants received by Paducah Head Start are a $15,000 Quality Improvement Alumni Grant and a $45,000 Quality Improvement Grant. The funding must be used from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15 and is provided through the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Kentucky grants totaled $10.62 million.
Lewis said the $60,000 in grant funding will go toward supporting school readiness in the community, supporting professional development, curriculum screening and assessment, family and community engagement and classroom and instructional quality. 

"One of the big pieces of the $45,000 grant is our opportunity to bring in Dr. Jenny Barkac; she's a Conscious Discipline-certified trainer," she said.

Lewis said that Conscious Discipline is a method of teaching self-discipline, trauma-informed care and how to interact with students and teach them how to interact with others.

"We've used Conscious Discipline now for three years but partnered in a contract with Dr. Barkac for two years," she added. "What's unique about that is, within Conscious Discipline, she's coaching, mentoring and training our staff, but also our childcare partners, and the third layer on that this year is she's doing a parenting engagement curriculum night."

Funding will also go toward providing educational materials to childcare centers that partner with Head Start to help them improve their quality, based on what those centers' directors said they need. This will help those students going to Head Start and a separate childcare center to maintain continuity in instruction.

"We're also going to be providing books and school readiness activities to all of our families here at Paducah Head Start from November through May," Lewis said. "So, for the next seven months, every child will get a book sent home with activities that correspond with that book.

"Literacy and building literacy is probably one of the top priorities for me. The more you read to a child, you're helping grow that vocabulary, you're helping grow that imagination and supporting school readiness."

Grant funding will also support Jump Start Kindergarten, a program at Paducah elementary schools through their Family Resource offices.

The remainder of the grant funding will go toward programs to help teachers and students prepare better for the beginning of school.

"We have our School Readiness Fair every year in March, and this is just another piece where our community comes together to support children and families," Lewis said. "We're excited about the opportunity these grants provide."


Posted Friday, October 25, 2019