The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved a contract with Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) on July 17 that will provide two Head Start preschool classrooms during the 2014-15 school year. Head Start is a federally funded instructional program serving low-income, 3- and 4-year-old students.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 program will serve 68 qualifying students with one classroom located at Meadow Lane Elementary and one at Westview Elementary. Children in the program will attend either a morning or an afternoon session four days each week.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with MARC to offer Head Start within Lee’s Summit R-7,” said Dr. David McGehee, superintendent. “Head Start is a valuable program for children and their families that strengthens communities. The program makes a tremendous difference for students in terms of their academic success and their futures.”
“Head Start early education opportunities for children will impact Lee’s Summit R-7 families who cannot afford fee-based community preschool,” said Kerry Boehm, principal at the district’s Great Beginnings Early Education Center. “Educational services will close the achievement gap that exists for children who have had no school readiness training prior to entering kindergarten. The Head Start program promotes school readiness by enhancing cognitive development, pre-academic skills, health, nutrition, social skills and other services to support children and families enrolled in the program.”
Initiated at the federal level in 1965, Head Start has an impressive record of helping children transition successfully from preschool to elementary school while fostering stable family relationships. In addition, the program is recognized for enhancing children’s physical and emotional wellbeing and helping students be prepared to succeed as they transition into elementary school.
All Head Start students will receive two meals each session, including breakfast and lunch for morning students and lunch and a heavy snack for afternoon students. Transportation to and from the program will be provided for students through the R-7 Transportation Department.
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District officials were approached about offering Head Start by representatives of the Mid-America Regional Council during spring 2014. Staff members from both organizations worked together during the last few months to develop plans for the launch of the Lee’s Summit R-7 program.
More than 22 million children have participated in Head Start during its nearly 50-year history. In the metropolitan area, MARC serves as the grantee for Head Start programs in Jackson, Clay and Platte Counties.
For more information about the R-7 Head Start program, call the school district at (816) 986-3265.