Head Start Sandbox R7 Winter 2015

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Where Young Learners Play to Learn

Warm &


On the Road to School Readiness • www.R7HSA.com


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

Director’s Letter

Collaboration, Professional Development, and Commitment to Quality are Strong Across Region VII


rofessional development, collaboration and a commitment to quality are of the highest priority in Region VII! This

was evidenced the week of February 16th when over 200 Head Start trainers and participants braved near zero temperatures and snowy conditions to travel to Kansas City to attend the

Winter 2015

What’s Inside? 4

Where Are They Now?


Celebrating 50 Years

6 Missouri Celebrates Head Start’s 50th Year 7 Legislative Work in Missouri 8 My Head Start Story

Region VII Five Year Funding Cycle Training. The training

10 Spotlighting Delene Baker

which is unique in that it was designed and delivered by the


Region VII Office of Head Start in partnership with the Region VII Training and Technical Assistance Office and the

Jonna Burns in New Orleans

14 Kansas Cavity-Free Kids

Region VII Head Start Association will be repeated at the

16 Project Eagle: 25 Years

upcoming 2015 Region VII Leadership Conference. The event

18 Region VII is Growing!

provided programs across the four state area resources and direct access to regional office program specialist and grants staff during the course of the training. The regional training initiative, the only one of its kind across the nation gained the interest of the Office of Head Start with

20 Focus on Fatherhood 22

Measles Awareness


First Advocates Training


Calendar of Events

a welcomed visit by Fran Majestic, OHS, ACF-HHS Program Operations Division Director who brought an update during the opening session. Donna Veatch, Executive Director R7HSA@comcast.net Contact us at: R7HSA, 233 SW Greenwich Dr., Ste. 105, Lee’s Summit, MO 64082 Phone: 816.718.2260 Fax: 816.524.3719 Email: R7HSA@comcast.net | R7HSA.com Head Start Sandbox™ is published by Region VII Head Start Association. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect R7HSA’s opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. R7HSA does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in Head Start Sandbox™ is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.


Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox


Do you know a Head Start Alumni?

We want to hear from them!

There are hundreds of success stories out there, of former students, parents, staff, and volunteers who have taken their experience with Head Start and gone on to do amazing things in their life. We are reaching out to you because we need your help in locating these success stories. We want to spotlight these inspirational people at the 2015 Leadership Conference and the next issues of the Region 7 Head Start Sandbox Magazine. On June 2, 2015, at the Leadership Conference, we will have an Alumni Luncheon, featuring some of our Head Start Alumni and their inspiring journeys. If you know a Head Start Alumni student, parent, staff or volunteer, please put us in touch with them so we can gather our community of Head Start alumni together to celebrate them, and Head Start’s 50th Year of Opportunity.


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015


1965 - 2015


ay 18, 1965 was commemorated as the birth of Head Start with an announcement delivered in the White House Rose Garden by President Lyndon Johnson. Since the summer demonstration program which served 500,000 children, Head Start has continued to grow and develop leading the nation in early childhood education, research, brain development, parent engagement and community involvement. Today, Head Start serves over a million children and their families each year in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, including American Indian, Alaskan Native and Migrant/Seasonal communities. Project Head Start as it was named in 1965 was originally designed as part of the 1960’s War on Poverty. Children, staff and parents from across Region VII joined in the kickoff of the celebration year with true Head Start spirit on September 17th designated as Red, White and Blue Day across the nation! For continued activities and fifty year celebration opportunities, visit nhsa.org

Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox



Missouri Head Start

Anniversary Celebrations T

he Missouri Head Start Association (MHSA) is excited to preview a few upcoming opportunities to celebrate 50 Years of Head Start and the recent 20th Anniversary of Early Head Start. During the final months of the year, Head Start/ Early Head Start programs have been charged with inviting local legislators into their programs to further educate them on the incredible work being done in our programs, the partnerships families hold with us, and the connections we forge with community partners. During these local visits, many programs received formal resolutions and proclamations from the mayors, senators and other elected officials, in addition to the Gubernatorial Proclamation that Missouri Head Start Association received from past Region VII Children’s Champion Award Winner, Governor Jay Nixon. In addition to these important local visits, Missouri Head Start Association is asking each program to participate in the 50 Faces of Head Start photo display. Each program is asked to gather 50 photos and captions that help tell the story of their Head Start program and to arrange for this mobile display to be transported around their service region in an effort to showcase their work in the community. The 50 Faces of Head Start displays will be showcased during the months of January-May and


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

then all programs are asked to bring their mobile displays to the May 14, 2015 Missouri Head Start Association Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet, for further sharing during the celebration. What’s more, MHSA is working to bring the recognition of these monumental anniversaries for Head Start and Early Head Start to the State Capitol. MHSA is working with House and Senate leadership staff to arrange a special presentation during the first months of legislative session. Lastly, MHSA would like to offer a heart-felt thank you to the members of the Missouri Head Start Anniversary Planning Committee who meet monthly to discuss ideas, provide guidance and work to plan meaningful activities for the celebration. Thank you to the following committee members for their help: • Loletta Combs, Director, CTC-Early Head Start • Melinda Kirsch, Staff, CMCA-Head Start • Pam LaFrenz, Friend, MVCAA-Head Start • Whitney Lanning, Director, CAP of St. Joseph-Head Start • Terra LaPorte, Parent, DCS-Head Start • Ashley Phillips, Staff, CAP of St. Joseph-Head Start • Claudia Ryan, Staff, OAI-Head Start

Legislative Work



lections Review of 2014 House and Senate Races Missouri House—In the Missouri House of Representatives, the Republicans added to their majority by picking up 7 seats via election wins and 1 seat via party switch giving them 118 Republican members to 45 Democrat members. There will be 33 new freshman legislators in the House—27 Republicans and 6 Democrats while five incumbents lost their reelection bid. This change is significant because it is well beyond the 109 margin needed for a veto-proof majority. This is the largest majority by either party since the Democrats held a 118-45 majority in 1981. Missouri Senate—The Missouri Senate Republicans had a net gain of one seat with wins in 22nd Senate District (Jefferson County). This brings the Senate Republican majority to 25-9. There will be 6 new senators in the 2015 General Assembly—5 Republicans and 1 Democrat. 2015 Legislative Preview One of the bigger legislative questions for next year will be how much Governor Nixon can do with a General Assembly that differs ideologically on so many issues, particularly on such hot button issues as Medicaid expansion and tax credit reform. With solid majorities in both the House and the Senate, it is anticipated the Republicans will push the Governor to negotiate on items of importance to the majority including: tort reform, economic development, and right to work. Tax revenue for the state continues on a slightly upward trajectory with this year averaging up over 4 percent. While this will not bring revenues back to pre-recession figures, it marks the second straight year of projected increases.

A vital mission of MHSA and all early education and care partners continues with the need to be informing legislators of how vital our programs are for the day-to-day and long-term success of their constituents. While there are always “hot topics” that draw legislators’ attention, the focus of Head Start should remain in keeping the intensity and momentum with policy makers on the significant role Head Start plays in their home districts. MHSA is committed to the standing belief that the best way to reach policy makers is through the use of impactful data and personal stories of program success. The two together create a lasting impression and show the importance of our programs to communities. Ask them to come be a part of your reading program, invite them to snack-time, take their picture while they participate in local 50th Anniversary celebrations with you, and ask parents to share their experiences with them. These are real and lasting opportunities programs can take that make all the difference when other distracting “hot topic” items come their way during legislative session. Legislators will remember how they felt in your classrooms and will have a clearer understanding of the complexities faced in daily Head Start operations when they work to support the legislative issues we care so much about. Now that the elections are over the legislative bodies will begin evaluating their agenda. Now is a great time to contact your legislator to spread this message and advocate for our priorities. Let them know how important state funding is for Early Head Start, and the importance of fixing the tobacco master settlement to protect the funding for early education programs all over the state. They want to hear from you! Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox


Tell Us Your Head Start Story My Head Start Story BY KATHY NICHOLSON


e often hear quoted the traditional African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

This proverb is

much more than a quote to me—it is a personal statement of belief that all of the children in my community matter to each and every one of us. Our communities have never been more important than they are today. Living in a fast-paced, “instant information” world, children today face many challenges and opportunities. It is vital that members of the community open their doors to one another, sharing resources for the health and safety of all families. I am in the business of building families with young children through my professional work in early childhood and parent education. It has been a privilege of mine to be a community partner of Head Start for over 25 years. Head Start embraces the whole family, often working with two, if not three generations at one time. I have personally witnessed the pride in a parent’s eye, when their child is given the opportunity to be successful with the smallest of tasks. Head Start is an essential partner in the early childhood family because of their efforts to build the health, school readiness, and social well being of children.

I had the opportunity to have lunch with a group of children at a Head Start site as part of the annual self-assessment process several years ago. A little girl in a torn, ruffled taffeta dress too big for her little body, sat down with pride to have lunch. As she sat, her ruffles enveloped her and the little boy sitting next to her. In a loud, booming voice, the little boy said, “Your dress is in my face.” Not missing a beat, the little girl responded, “I am sorry.” She stood and tried to stuff the dress under her. Lunch resumed without incident. I thought to myself at the time, and still almost every day, “It works to ‘use your words.’” I cherish this memory of conflict resolution at its very best. This is just one example of what results from the daily efforts of dedicated Head Start staff that provides information to children with love and gives them the opportunity to practice. Why would I not partner with dedicated professionals who give of themselves each day working with the most vulnerable children in my community? Every child in my community has the possibility of a bright future. Working with Head Start helps make this possible!


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

In this issue of Head Start Sand Box, Missouri Head Start Association (MHSA) is working to help tell the story of Head Start from many different voices and viewpoints. We would like to share stories from Kathy Nicholson, longtime MHSA Board Member and community partner of Douglass Community Services – Head Start based in Hannibal, MO, and Joyce O’Connor, former Head Start grandmother and committed volunteer at Ozark Action, Inc. – Head Start’s Alton, MO program.

My Head Start Story

BY MRS. JOYCE O’CONNOR OZARK ACTION, INC. – HEAD START with Assistance by Claudia Ryan, MHSA Board Vice President and Staff-OAI, Inc.

APep Talk From Mrs. Joyce

I was introduced to OAI and Head Start shortly after the fostering of our 2 grandsons. I learned about Head Start through family services. We proceeded with the necessary paperwork and submitted them to the center. To my surprise, soon after the adoption, the boys were riding the little yellow bus. When the boys were in Head Start, I became aware of all the services available. One of my first steps was to serve on the Policy Council and its numerous sub-committees. I volunteered for all of them; I was hooked. After serving 3 years on Policy Council, I became a certified volunteer. I have learned so much about OAI and Head Start through the years—not only how they help families to cope but also to educate and encourage. Working with Head Start, you gain a greater awareness of your center, your community and your government and how they function together. Parents—get out there and volunteer! Help your children, your family, your community and your Head Start center! You will enjoy every moment. Hey, I’m still here!

A Note about Mrs. Joyce: She has been a treasured member of our OAI-Head Start family going on 10 years. She became involved when her grandson was enrolled in our program. She served on the Parent Committee and Policy Council. She has volunteered in the classroom almost every day for the past few years. Her value to our program, particularly the Alton Head Start Center, is invaluable. The kids love her. The parents love her so much they give her a standing ovation every year at the center’s annual graduation ceremony. I always say that I wish every classroom in our program could have a Mrs. Joyce.

If you would like to “Tell Your Head Start Story,” please email R7HSA@comcast.net

Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox


Delene Baker has been working at Salem's Head Start since 1977. She's presently serving as the school's chief cook in her 38th year with the organization. Photo by Tyler McConnell

Baker knows what’s cooking at Head Start BY TYLER MCCONNELL, WWW.SALEMNEWSONLINE.COM


elene Baker has had about every role one can have in the

trailer at Green Forest,” said Baker. Years later, they moved inside

Head Start program. “I’ve been a teacher’s aide, a teacher,

the building at the school.

bus driver, and now a cook,” says Baker, 68. “And I tease them and say, ‘That’s the best job here.’” In her 38 years with the organization, she’s seen every aspect of Head Start. In 1976, she enrolled her son. That year, she volunteered in the classrooms. The next year, they needed a teacher’s aide, and Baker decided to apply. She’s been with Head Start ever since. The Head Start organization started in the states in 1965, according to Site Supervisor Missy Fuller. But it seemed to come to Salem

When it came time to make room for kindergarteners at R-II, Baker remembers Head Start moving into town. “We came to Salem on South Elmer Street, and we were there for I don’t know how long,” said Baker. “Until 13 years ago,” replied Fuller. “Because I’ve been here 13 years.” In April of 2002, Head Start moved to its current location, 1405 South Wines Street, a little behind Walmart.

sometime in the early 1970s. The first time Baker ever heard of it was

Fuller, who started as Baker’s teacher’s aide, remembers the move.

1976, but she’s quite sure it was here before then. “The lady who en-

“They were in the process of building this new building and moving

rolled my son then, she had pictures of the Head Start there before

from Elmer,” said Fuller. “We just worked all kinds of different hours,

I went,” said Baker. “So I know it’s been around longer than that.

and they bussed the kids back and forth. It was just crazy. … Mrs.

Starting out as a teacher’s aide, Baker worked south of town when

Baker sure has seen a lot of changes for Head Start, and I mean a lot.”

Head Start was located at Green Forest R-II. “We had a little ‘ol

“When I first started, we went four or five days, all day long,” said


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

Baker. “Over on South Elmer, we had two morning classes and two

liaisons between the teachers and parents, making sure the kids get

afternoon classes in one building. Now, we’re going all day, four days

their shots, physicals, that sort of thing. They also work hard to help

a week. And they’re in the process of opening an Early Head Start.”

families achieve their personal goals.

She remembers the days when all the teachers had to be the bus drivers as well, and how when she first started, the organization was

“And then our main focus for preschool is school readiness,” says Fuller. “Getting them ready to go onto kindergarten.”

funded with field trip money. “We took long trips like to the Shri-

Fuller and Baker have seen the fruits of their labor over the years.

ner’s Circus and the St. Louis Zoo,” remembers Baker. “But they

It’s hard to think of a more rewarding job. Fuller has seen the posi-

don’t do that anymore!” She laughs.

tive effects of the program on her own son, who went through Head

Head Start presently has 77 kids enrolled, and the new infant/tod-


dler room opening up soon should push that number back up close

“My son is in kindergarten,” says Fuller. “My daughter teaches out

to 99, the average enrollment. It’s funded by federal grants that they

at R-IV, and she says he is where her first and second graders are.”

apply for every five years.

This is an especially bright anecdote, considering that, according to

The program is based on need. It’s a program specifically designed

the U.S. Census Bureau, 45.3 million people in America (about 20

to combat the effects of poverty on children. They do take over-in-

percent of children) live in poverty – considered by the federal gov-

come children, but only 10 percent of the whole agency, which con-

ernment to be an annual income of $23,550 for a family of four. There

sists of 795 kids, are allowed to be over income. Where a better-off

are a substantial number of children who need this sort of help.

family might be more likely to afford preschool for their children, a

Baker has spent more than half her life providing just that, work-

poorer family certainly would not – or kids living in foster homes.

ing to improve the lives of our area kids who need it most, and Fuller

That’s why needy children skyrocket to the top of the list.

says she’s never seen anyone do a better job.

“In Salem,” says Fuller, “I’ve only seen one year that we’ve accept-

“She’s wonderful,” says Fuller. “She is one of my hardest workers.

ed an over-income child, because we have so much need in this area.”

She can outwork half the kids I’ve got here who are in their 20s. …

The program can start as young as 6 weeks with the pregnant

She also does custodial work. She didn’t tell you that. We’ve got the

mother. They make sure she hits her doctor and WIC appointments.

cleanest center in the agency. She’s just the best. That’s all I can say

When the baby is 6 weeks old, he or she gets a spot in the center,

about her.” Delene Baker just keeps on cookin’.

guaranteed until they go to kindergarten. “Family advocates” act as

Reprinted with permission. The Salem News Online. December 9, 2014. SALEM, MO. http://www.thesalemnewsonline.com/news/local_news/article_4b456de4-7fc1-11e4-b8e9-e744c6b5fb16.html

Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox




his December was like many others in the past. I was very busy, rushing around preparing for the holidays and a couple of birthdays that are celebrated at my house during this same time. This year, however, had a little something extra to it. As an NHSA Board Parent Representative, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 31st Parent Conference and Family Engagement Institute on December 7th-11th in New Orleans, Louisiana. Those of you who have attended Head Start conferences, you know they are always amazing—filled to the brim with learning opportunities, networking, and a genuine feeling of oneness. But a Parent Conference is all of that and MORE! As a Head Start parent, I know why all of those parents are there. I may not know their individual path or story, but I know that they are at that conference because they are Leaders. Even if they may not see that quality in themselves just yet, they are there because someone else can see it in them already! Just as someone saw that quality in me before I ever knew it was there. While at the conference, I attended the Welcome Reception, designed to be an icebreaker to help people see that we were all there for the same reasons. The following morning, the confer-


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

ence officially began with the Opening Session. I volunteered to carry the Missouri State flag and place it on the stage to be displayed behind the podium. A large marching band led those of us carrying flags in, and the audience was standing and moving to the beat. It was quite a procession! Alvin Jones, the Vice Chair of the NHSA Board, welcomed everyone to Region VI and the great City of New Orleans before Yasmina Vinci (NHSA Executive Director) and Vanessa Rich (NHSA Board Chairman) took the stage. The audience witnessed a “selfie” taken by these two supporters of our great program. They were leading by example, showing us how to take “selfies” and use the hashtags #HeadStartWorks and #InvestInUs. After the Opening Session had ended, everyone took the tickets that had been handed out to him or her and received a special gift. The Today Show had donated 2,000 American Girl dolls! For me this was amazing, my daughter had asked for this doll for Christmas and I had to let her down. I knew there was no way my family could afford one of these dolls for her at Christmas time. So when I not only found out I would be taking home an American Girl doll to my daughter, but the EXACT one she asked for, I was brought to

tears. I can tell you mine was not the only story like this at the conference. Many little girls got something that they wished for but would not have been able to receive without the generosity of others. A million thanks to The Today Show for helping us to put big smiles on our children’s faces this holiday! My conference story does not end there but continues with sessions, networking, and even some fun in “the Big Easy.” The Policy Council Recognition Dinner is an opportunity for the NHSA Board Parent Representatives to say “Thank You!” and “Good Job!” to those up-and-coming parents on the Policy Councils throughout the country. We were able to hand out special 50th anniversary pins to all of the Policy Council Representatives in attendance and personally tell them “Thank You!” I was once in their seat, maybe next year they will be in mine on the NHSA Board? We had the pleasure of having Author & Head Start Alumni, Kimberly P. Johnson speak during the recognition dinner. As always, she is a very moving speaker, reminding us to not stop climbing that ladder. And, of course, always look along the way for someone else who may need a hand climbing the ladder themselves! I was unable to attend the Closing ceremony because of my flight schedule, but I always leave these conferences feeling refreshed. I feel more ready than ever to take on the next task—to go out and speak on behalf of Head Start and the amazing things it HAS done, IS doing and WILL continue to do for Children, Families and Communities within our Nation! I hope that if you get the opportunity you attend a Head Start conference, even if it is just at your state or regional level, you will take it. It is an amazing feeling you get when you realize that all of the other people attending that conference also believe in Head Start! The families and children are what drive us and keep us striving for better. Jonna Burns MyKids#1Fan

All Aboard! Encouraging Parents in Improving Children’s Oral Health BY KATHY HUNT, RDH, ECPII, PROJECT DIRECTOR OF KANSAS CAVITY FREE KIDS, WAMEGO, KS


ansas’s families are taking a virtual trip on board the Cavity Free Express to learn about ways to help their


Family participation in this workshop takes about an hour,

children reach Kindergarten cavity free and ready to learn. Using

stopping at train-themed way- stations along the route to Cavity

trains as the theme, this innovative event engages families with

Free, Kansas. Each stop is an opportunity for parents and chil-

fun and creative activities where parents and children learn to-

dren to participate in activities that will help them understand

gether how to be a cavity free family.

the importance of good oral health as well as the causes of tooth

Kansas Cavity Free Kids, a statewide oral health initiative

decay and actions they can take to reduce the risk of cavities.

operated through the Kansas Head Start Association (KHSA), developed this program in response to requests from Head Start programs for fun ideas to teach families about oral health. Working Together to Reverse the Trend The Centers for Disease Control states that tooth decay in children 2-5 years old is rising.1 Studies show that children with poor oral health do not perform as well in school.2

The good

news is that cavities are almost entirely preventable, and many of the prevention strategies will also inhibit other chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The best way to keep children cavity free is for families to understand why oral health is important, adopt healthy daily habits in the home, and ensure that their children see a dental professional regularly beginning at age one. Kansas Cavity Free Kids is partnering with 10 communities across the state to host the All Aboard the Cavity Free Express! . This event provides evidence-based information, demonstration, practical application, and basic dental services for families so they have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to keep their children cavity free. 14

Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015


• C ompleting a computer application called Mighty Molar Cavity Quiz that uses parents’ answers to tell how likely each participant is to getting cavities. • Creating a simulation of an acid attack in the mouth caused by snacks containing simple carbohydrates that lead to cavities. They also practice making healthy snack choices. • L earning how to determine the amount of sugar in sweet drinks and making comparisons for healthier choices. • Preparing tooth-healthy snacks. Families also receive a collection of healthy snack recipes that are simple to make together. • Discovering plaque in their own mouth and practicing with brushing techniques. Families receive oral health supplies and ideas for effective family tooth brushing habits. DENTAL SERVICES

• Dental screening and fluoride varnish provided by a dental professional are offered to every participant, with referral for further treatment as needed.

When families arrive in Cavity Free, Kansas they visit with

Plans are underway to have families repeat the Mighty Molar

“residents” about what they saw and learned on their trip. Using

Cavity Quiz to compare the results with the quiz they took at

a conversational style based on Motivational Interviewing, the

the event. A lower number will indicate that the participant has

oral health coaches help families determine if they are ready to

decreased the risk of getting cavities. At that time, participating

set goals that will prevent future dental disease. Goal-setting

organizations will also discuss with families the status of any

magnets and other supports are used to help establish a plan for

goals they set at the event. This gives home visitors and family

adopting tooth healthy behaviors. Before leaving, families use

advocates the opportunity to offer support to families in over-

their completed boarding passes to enter a drawing to win one of

coming any challenges in reaching their goals.

three large prizes.

Each event received a virtually 100% positive response when

All Aboard the Cavity Free Express! premiered last August in

parents were asked about learning new information, having fun,

Oakley, Kansas. The staff members at the Northwest Education-

and intention to adopt healthier habits. Several participating

al Service Center Head Start program are innovative thinkers

organizations have asked to hold this as an annual event. Kansas

and always ready to find new ways to support their families.

Head Start Association (KHSA) and Kansas Cavity Free Kids

Through their dedicated efforts, we had a great turnout and lots

welcome the opportunity to offer this event to more commu-

of fun. They are looking forward to finding a way to offer this

nities as a successful way to help families raise cavity free kids.

event in each of the 12 counties they serve.

For more information about hosting All Aboard the Cavity Free


Express in your community, please contact the author.

About Kansas Head Start Association (KHSA) Kansas Head Start Association’s mission is to support and strengthen Kansas early learning programs through innovative advocacy, professional development, and leadership. KHSA strives to be a leader in partnering with families, professionals and communities to provide high quality education and care for young children. In addition to supporting early childhood programs, KHSA nurtures strategic partnerships to develop statewide initiatives that assist high risk families in gaining skills, knowledge and confidence to make healthy choices for their children. About Kansas Cavity Free Kids In 2007, the Kansas Head Start Association established a statewide oral health initiative known as Kansas Cavity Free Kids (KCFK). Under the direction of Kathy Hunt, RDH, KCFK has made considerable progress in helping families raise cavity free kids by 1) increasing access to dental services for young children by establishing dental services at Head Start Centers and Health Departments, 2) successfully advocating for state level changes in child neglect indicators and financing for community based dental services, and 3) developing and disseminating oral health curriculum and providing educational oral health workshops to home visitors, preschool teachers, and medical and dental professionals across the state. KCFK has been generously supported by many state health foundations including United Methodist Health Ministries Foundation, Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation, and REACH Healthcare Foundation. Funders for our current All Aboard project include Delta Dental of Kansas Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation, KDHE Bureau of Oral Health, Douglas County Community Foundation, Manhattan Area Community Foundation, and Prairie Band Pottawatomie Nation.

About the Author A clinical dental hygienist for 34 years, Kathy Hunt began her work in public health in 2004 when she took advantage of a newly expanded dental practice act to design the first system in Kansas that provided preventive dental care in schools, Head Starts, and health departments. She was also instrumental in developing, implementing, and directing a dental safety net clinic located in her local community. Hunt has served as the Project Director for Kansas Cavity Free Kids since its inception in 2007. She is co-author of several oral health resource materials, has spoken nationally at oral health and Head Start conferences, and works as a tireless advocate for the oral health needs of pregnant women and young children. She can be reached at khunt@ksheadstart.org.

1 Citation: Dye BA, Tan S, Smith V, Lewis BG, Barker LK, Thornton-Evans G, et al. Trends in oral health status: United States, 1988–1994 and 1999–2004. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 11(248). 2007. 2 Oral Health and Learning: When Children’s Health Suffers, So Does Their Ability to Learn (2nd ed.) © 2003 by National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Georgetown University.

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s Head Start nationally celebrates its 50th Anniversary, here in Kansas City, KS, Project Eagle Early Head Start is celebrating our 25th anniversary. Project Eagle began in 1989 as a Comprehensive Child Development Program grantee and, when the federal funding opportunity became available, became an Early Head Start grantee as one of the 17 national Early Head Start research sites in 1994. Just as it was in 1994, today Project Eagle’s mission is to nurture the healthy growth and development of the community’s most vulnerable young children and families by providing a foundation for school readiness and strengthening family engagement. We carry out this mission by working with families of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in Wyandotte County, KS through our Early Head Start home visiting program, our Educare of Kansas City school, and our Connections centralized screening and referral system. We also work to impact broader change and knowledge by participating in research-program partnerships


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

that inform the broader field. These externally focused efforts allow us to carry out our broader agency vision which is for all children to have an opportunity to experience healthy growth and development. Over the years we have had the privilege of working with thousands of families with young children and have informally kept in touch with many of these families through community and staff connections. Years after their enrollment, parents will express their appreciation for the services they received from Project Eagle and the encouragement and support that staff members provided for them during difficult and challenging times in their lives. Former parents will ask how they can give back to the program or help support other parents. Prompted by parents who have recently graduated from Early Head Start and parents who some of our first Early Head Start parents, we recently started a Project Eagle alumni group. We are engaging parents to set the direction for this group and it is definitely evolving! We know,

though, regardless of the structure of the group, we want to provide opportunities for parents to continue to build social networks with other parents, to be mentors and supports for young parents, and to be leaders and advocates for their children and for all children. We held our first alumni group meeting earlier this fall and asked any parents interested to attend and help us define a purpose and focus for the future of the alumni group. One mother who attended, Elaine Boyd, shared her story with the group and her desire to support other young mothers so that they too could be the best parent possible for their children. Elaine’s son, Dakota, was one of our first Early Head Start children and has just entered the University of Kansas as a freshman. In April of 2014 during his senior year of high school he was recognized by the Kansas Board of Regents with a Certificate of Recognition for completing the Kansas Scholars Curriculum. Elaine shared this story with us and with the other parents: “In September of 1996, I was released from prison 9 months pregnant with my son. I had nowhere to live and no money and no job. I didn’t even own a car and I was required to be paroled in Missouri. Even though I had friend and family in Kansas I couldn’t go there. Upon my son’s delivery, I became very ill in the hospital and was there over a month. The hospital administration was very kind and wrote a letter to the Governor to move my parole into Kansas. He agreed and I moved into a home of a friend. This was a temporary situation as my friend needed the home soon after I moved into it. I had a nurse come to the house every day. She got me some aid with Gracious Promise Foundation and Early Head Start. These programs worked together and got me an old car for $100 and my first job with Renzenberger for minimum wage. Early Head Start selected me to be one of the EHS families in the national evaluation project. Over the next year, I got a new place to live and a better car. They helped me to get my cosmetology license renewed. I then started a career in Great Clips within another year, I had a better car, and bought my first home where I happen to live today. I now own my own business and I raised a wonderful son who is now attending the University of Kansas.” Rhonda Rush, home based program manager at Project Eagle, has worked with the program since 1996. She often shares Elaine’s story with our staff members and with other parents as an example of success in Early Head Start and the power that parents have in supporting and encouraging each other. In this reflection from Rhonda, Elaine shared her knowledge about the importance of reading to her child every day. “I have worked for Project EAGLE collectively now for 15

years. When we were in the Tower II building and on the 10th floor, families were engaged in the elevator while leaving Policy Council meeting. A little boy the same age as another girl from a different family was chatting all the way down the elevator. The mom of the girl was impressed by the boy’s language skills. She asked why he talked so much more than her child. The answer had been discussed numerous times on home visits: one of the benefits of reading books to your child is to increase their language skills. Not until this socialization with other families, did this mom realize the importance of reading frequently to your child. The other mom explained how she read to her son every day. After this, the little girl’s mom started reading to her on a daily basis and her daughter’s language started to show improvement. There were already several books in the home as the family was given books from Reading is Fundamental and other sources. It took this contact with another family to show the mom what a difference spending quality time with your child makes. This encounter also demonstrates the importance of socializations with families. I often tell this story to staff and enrolled families in the program. The mom of “that little boy” has credited the program for her son’s success in school. He recently graduated from high school in the top 20% of his class. He is enrolled at Kansas University for the 2014-15 school year and is majoring in Architectural Engineering. He plans to pursue his Master’s Degree in Architecture.” Elaine is just one example of the success stories of Early Head Start and Head Start parents at Project Eagle and across this region. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary we find Elaine’s story to be a powerful story of the many parents we know who every day do great things for their children and allow us to come alongside them in their journeys.

Project Eagle is a program of the University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, and located at the Children’s Campus of Kansas City in Kansas City, Kansas.

Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox




n a recent media release, dated December 10th, 2014 issued by the Administration for Children and Families, nine agencies across Region VII were announced as recipients of grant funds that will allow new or existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving infants and toddlers from low-income families. As part of President Obama’s Early Learning Initiative, according to the release, “The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) set aside $500 million for new Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently in negotiation with the following agencies from Region VII for the awards. • Des Moines Drake University $ 900,000 • Hiawatha Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Inc. $ 700,000 • Waterloo Tri-County Child and Family Development Council, Inc. $ 500,000 • Kansas City The Family Conservancy $ 1,700,000* • Hannibal Douglass Community Services, Inc. $ 1,200,000 • Saint Charles Youth In Need $ 1,500,000 • Sedalia Children’s Therapy Center of Pettis County, Inc. $ 200,000 • Omaha Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative, LLC $ 2,400,000 • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska $ 1,200,000

These awards and amounts are not final, and may be subject to change. HHS will continue to negotiate with these and other applicant agencies to award all grants on a rolling basis beginning January 1, 2015. For more Information: https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/early-head-start-childcare-partnerships In an effort to support agencies, the National Center on Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships was established for the purpose of supporting “the effective implementation of the new Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) partnership grantees, which will deliver high quality comprehensive services to low income infants, toddlers and their families.” The National Center on Early Head StartChild Care Partnerships (NCEHS-CCP) is jointly funded by the Office of Head Start (OHS) and the Office of Child Care (OCC). ZERO TO THREE’s partners in the EHS CCP Center are: Child Care Aware® of America, FHI360, Training and Technical Assistance Services at Western Kentucky University, and Mathematica Policy Research.” Source: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ecd/early-learning/ehs-cc-partnerships http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehs-ccp/partnerships.html


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015


To learn about advertising opportunities in upcomingTo issues the Head Start Sand Box, learnof about advertising send an email to R7HSA@comcast.net. opportunities in upcoming issues of the Head Start Sand Box, send an email to R7HSA@comcast.net.

Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox


Herald -Whig Photos/Steve Bohnstedt

Focus On Fatherhood:



ewayne Wells stood at the front of the Douglass Community Center meeting room, waiting for his name to be called. He flashed a bright smile as each of his classmates received certificates that marked their completion of “Focus on Fatherhood” and the end of their journey together. Wells’ name was one of the last to be read. He stepped forward and accepted his certificate from a fellow classmate. Facilitator W.T. Johnson heartily shook his hand. A grin spread across Wells’ face. He did more than finish an eight-week course designed to help him and men from all walks of life become better fathers. He took a step toward his future with his two youngest sons—and away from the man he once was. Wells and his nine classmates enrolled in the fall course, sponsored by Douglass’ Head Start program, for different reasons. Among them was the hope of finding ways to be consistently involved in their children’s lives. Learning to move beyond mistakes was another. Wells, a recovering addict who’s served 20

Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

jail time, acknowledges he’s stumbled. He’s willing, however, to do anything to connect with his children before they take the same hard road. ‘Just selfish stuff’ Wells didn’t want to part ways with Alicia, his childhood sweetheart, his first wife and the mother of his oldest sons. They met as teens in the 1970s in New London, where he was raised and she visited her grandparents every year. It wasn’t long before they moved to Chicago, married and had children. Problems ensued when the young family returned to Hannibal after eight years in Illinois. She and Wells didn’t see eye-toeye, he said. “I didn’t want the divorce – she wanted the divorce,” Wells, 51, said while seated on a leather sofa in his living room. “She had started partying and stuff. I always thought that when you get married, you’re married for life. It was a hard thing for me.” They separated, and his sons, Gary and Melvin, ended up in his care. It didn’t keep him from going out on the weekends, however. “I just found myself partying a little

too much,” Wells said. Then he met Shaunda. She moved in with Wells and took care of his boys. They fell in love and had children of their own. A construction job took Wells away from Shaunda and his home for two to three weeks at a time. He said he’d party while he was away – and on the weekends when he should’ve been with his family. “I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing,” he said. With Shaunda facing concerns of her own, their marriage fell apart. Wells fell further into drinking and doing drugs. “I had already been divorced, and I just kind of let it go,” he said. “I wish I had fought harder because she was a good woman, she really was.” Wells said he sobered up to raise his four children, but they later moved to be with their mothers. His oldest sons moved to Nebraska, and his younger son, Shawntez, and daughter, Nyla, went to Columbia with Shaunda. Wells was left to his own devices, and in 1999, he returned to partying. In the mean-

time, Wells met another woman, Cassandra. They began seeing each other, and she moved in with him. However, a back injury from work at a cement plant and subsequent surgery forced Wells to go on disability. He began selling cocaine to make ends meet. It caught up with him. Marion County court records indicate Wells was arrested in June 1999 for distribution, delivery or sales of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 120 days in prison and probation. Wells’ second youngest son, Deshaun, was born while Wells was behind bars. “At that time, my parents and family got together and bought everything the baby needed,” he said. “They helped take care of the baby while I was locked up.” When he got out of prison, he reverted to old ways. “I’d end up going out partying again, never really seeing what that lifestyle was doing to my relationships, what it was doing to me, what it was doing to my kids,” he said. “Just selfish stuff.” He and Cassandra had another son, Davion, in 2003. He was born premature, weighing just 2 pounds. Davion had to stay at a hospital in Columbia, and Wells and Cassandra would drive to see him every other day. Davion became healthy enough to come home. Wells said he made it through the whole experience without drinking or using drugs. It didn’t last. Wells was arrested again in 2007, this time for possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to five years probation in October 2008. In 2010, he and Cassandra had another son. Dante was also born premature, weighing 1 pound, 9 ounces. He, too, stayed in Columbia but wouldn’t make it home. Dante suffered complications, and Wells said they didn’t want the baby to be in pain any longer. “It really messed me up,” Wells said. “It still sometimes bothers me. She went into a deep depression.” Wells said he tried to juggle working part time, counseling, maintaining the household and caring for his two youngest sons while Cassandra grieved. Their relationship rumbled. Wells returned to using, and in July 2012, he brushed with the law once more. He was arrested on a distribution charge for selling four methadone pills. Wells said he hoped to make extra money. Wells faced 10 years in prison or a one-year stint in an institutional treatment program. He chose treatment. “I just realized that I needed to focus on myself and I really needed to focus on changing,” he said. “I always thought I was changing. I always thought I was… doing the right thing, but then I would just give up. I would just give up and revert back to my old ways, my old attitudes.” ‘Give me a chance, too.’ Wells said he took advantage of all opportunities available at the Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland. He pursued academics while incarcerated, and though he didn’t earn his GED in prison, Wells said he took his language and mathematics abilities from a fourth grade level to an 11th grade level. Wells left the correctional center in March, eager to reunite with his sons. He surprised Davion, 11, at school, and described it

as an “emotional” meeting. A trip to Hannibal High School to see 15-year old Deshaun didn’t have a similar outcome. Deshaun was at a medical facility in Kirksville, for treatment after an incident at school. Wells visited his son there and barely recognized him. Deshaun, Wells said, was angry. “When I talked to him, he was just totally different,” Wells said. “It was like I didn’t know him. He wasn’t the same son that I remembered.” Wells vowed to support Deshaun from then on, but he knew it would take time to win his son’s trust. “I was like, ‘Give me a chance, too.’” Wells said, his voice breaking. “I said, ‘I made mistakes, but I promise you I will never make those mistakes again. I would never leave you again.’” Deshaun now lives with Wells. Their relationship has rebounded, and Wells said they communicate more. Deshaun played football this fall, and Wells couldn’t have been prouder. “His probation officer has said that he’s done a 360-degree (turnaround) since I came back into his life,” Wells said. “They recommended that he stays with me.” Deshaun’s probation officer suggested Wells enroll in Douglass Community Services “Focus on Fatherhood” class, which ran from September through early November. Wells jumped at the chance. “I’ve been in prison – I don’t want my kids to have to go through that,” he said after one of the classes. “I want to learn everything that I can from this class so I can do what I can to be a better father and do what I can to be a better person.” The course emphasizes four pillars of fatherhood: involvement, consistency, awareness and nurturing. Class discussions and readings centered on those pints, but the session allowed participants a chance to voice their thoughts on fatherhood and life in general in an understanding environment. “Kids shouldn’t have to worry about where their parents are, what their parents are doing,” Wells said. “Kids shouldn’t have to be worried about where they’re going to get their food. I’m trying to be a good provider and just to nurture them.” In addition to attending the fatherhood course – and spending more time with Deshaun and Davion – Wells volunteers at a church in New London, where he also hopes to refurbish a house. Wells also attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings and shares his story with other recovering addicts. “It’s been a hard road, but each and every day my life gets better,” Wells said. “Every day I wake up and realize who I am and what I am. I’m able to make it through that day.” Reprinted from “Focus On Fatherhood: Hannibal man uses classes to help reconnect with his children,” by A. Thompson, December 27, 2014, Quincy Herald-Whig. Reprinted with permission. Photos by Steve Bohnstedt

Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox


Measles: Make Sure Your Child is Protected with MMR Vaccine RESOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC) 1600 CLIFTON ROAD, ATLANTA, GA 30329-4027 USA 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636), CDC.gov


ou only have to turn on the news to hear about the recent outbreak of measles sweeping the nation, one unprotected baby or young child at a time. What started as a trip of a lifetime to Disney World ended with an outbreak of this potentially deadly disease for children who have not had their MMR vaccination? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It is a respiratory disease that can be deadly for the unprotected! Measles starts with a fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles can be serious for young children. It can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death.

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected. Please learn how you can protect your child from measles by visiting your doctor, local health department or the CDC website. Protect your child and stay on schedule: Immunization schedule for children from birth through age 6: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf Spanish Version: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs-sp.pdf

Doctors recommend that your child get 2 doses of the MMR shot for best protection. Your child will need one dose at each of the following ages: • 12 through 15 months • 4 through 6 years Infants 6 months to 11 months old should have 1 dose of MMR shot before traveling abroad.


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

The Kansas Head Start Association is participating in the National Head Start Association

“First Advocates Training” Initiative Kansas participants who will be chosen through a rigorous application process will have the opportunity to travel in a group to Washington, DC the week of March 23rd- 26th, 2015 and participate in activities which will include: • Meetings with NHSA and advocacy representatives • Meetings with Kansas Representatives and Senators Participants will participate in the NHSA “First Advocacy Training” which will include learning new advocacy techniques and discovering key issues which will assist participants in effectively sharing their stories with local, state, and federal officials. Participants will also participate in KHSA meetings and share their experiences with programs across Kansas. Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox




JUNE 2 - 4, 2015


ANNUAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Doubletree by Hilton Kansas City - Overland Park, KS

The Missouri Head Start Association will host its

Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet on Thursday,

May 14, 2015 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

at the Double Tree Hotel in Jefferson City.

SPECIAL GUEST EMCEE, CLARENCE SMALL. Please make plans now to join in our celebration. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to celebrate the goodness of Head Start!

Learn more at MOHeadStart.org


Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015


Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox



Kansas Head Start Association Announces:

ERICK VAUGHN GETS MARRIED! Erick Vaughn, KHSA Executive Director and Stephanie Ignatius were married on Nov 22, 2014, at the Worden United Methodist Church

Welcome Stephanie to the Region VII Head Start Family!

Congrats Erick and Stephanie! 26

Head Start Sandbox | Winter 2015

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Winter 2015 | Head Start Sandbox


C O MING SOON ! 2015

JUNE 2 - 4, 2015


ANNUAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Doubletree by Hilton Kansas City - Overland Park, KS



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