School system seeking grant for HeadStart - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School system seeking grant for HeadStart

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December 14, 2004

Albany- There's no doubt Joel and Tyree know how to color.

But it's moments like this that also teach them to communicate and socialize. Educators in Georgia are doing a good job teaching pre-kindergartners.

"Georgia was one of the few states that took the initiative to invest in early childhood education," said Rochelle Bush, director of pre-kindergarten program for the Dougherty County School System.

The state's lottery funded free pre-k program like this one in Dougherty County makes Georgia a national leader.

"The sooner you can acclimate children to what's going to be expected in school, the better that they adjust," Bush said.

Dougherty County educators know that's what happens in their program. That's why they put in a bid to control the Head Start program. Albany State University has also put in a bid for the Head Start program. Those students will likely end up in Dougherty County classrooms anyway, so it makes sense for the system to help with getting them started.

"Then they will come to kindergarten much better prepared," she said.

If the school system takes over Head Start, the money will be handled at the central office. But recently, the system has come under fire for the mishandling of millions of dollars for child nutrition.

"The controls will be put in place to be sure that the money is fully monitored and every penny is accounted for efficiently," said School Board Member David Maschke.

Maschke wrote a letter of recommendation that's included with the system's bid.

"If we do such a good job for these 200 kids that we should certainly make every effort to do a good job for as many more children we are able to accommodate," he said. "The Head Start program has done a wonderful job in serving our children and serving our families."

Now the school system wants to safeguard the quality of that program and touch the lives of more pre-kindergartners, working with their minds and their masterpieces.

posted at 10:54 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com