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Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. “People Helping People”


APRIL NEWSLETTER I am writing my installment for the newsletter this month just before I head into my first sessions at the National Head Start Association Annual Conference. The conference reminds me of the Minnesota School Board Association conference that I have attended the past couple of years. There are many concurrent sessions to pop into and vendors galore offering the latest and greatest tools to assist Head Start staff in doing their work with children and their families. Of particular interest for me this year is learning as much as I can about Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the Partnerships put Early Head Start grantees together with Child Care providers to ultimately serve more children with Early Head Start services. The President has instructed the Administration for Children and Families to set aside $500 Million for competitive grants this summer as a down payment on a much larger initiative. As this is the first non-stimulus expansion of Head Start in some time, all involved at Tri-Valley are very excited about the possibilities and will be working hard over the next several months to study our community needs and to propose to Tri-Valley’s Board of Directors and Policy Councils a plan that best meets the needs of those we serve. Accountable Care Organizations, Health Care Homes, Healthy Communities, etc. have been discussed at several meetings I have attended this month. I have mentioned these terms several times in different communications to our board and staff and will continue to do so as the concepts evolve. Tri-Valley will play a part in working with Health Care, Mental Health, Social Services and the many other pieces of the puzzle. At this point, we just don’t know exactly how. So, we will continue to be a part of community conversations and see where that takes us. Over the past month I have had the opportunity to attend County Collaborative meetings in Polk, Norman and Marshall Counties. As a former school district employee and current school board member in Polk County I am very heartened that the County Collaboratives still meet regularly. I was further heartened when I learned that each of the three organizations are still able to provide funding to assist school districts in each county with employing school social workers. For years I have been hearing that the federal time study funding that was the basis for most of the collaborative budgets was going away. (CEO News and Notes continued on next page)

In This Issue: * CEO News and Notes * Tri-Valley Transportation Adds Saturday Hours * National Assocation of State Directors of Migrant Education

In This Issue: * Tri-Valley Migrant Head Start Staff Meet Former Migrant Head Start Parents * Crookston April Parent Meeting * Gayle Kelly Letter to Bemidji Pioneer

(CEO News and Notes continued on next page)- The funding has definitely diminished and projections tell us that support for school social workers is going to have to be discontinued within the next couple of years. That being said, I think the funding lasted longer than many folks thought and has done wonderful things for children in our schools. I will definitely work with our partners to backfill that funding to ensure school districts have the resources needed to continue their school social worker programming. Tri-Valley’s Head Start program, Fiscal and HR Departments are hard at work getting our 2014 Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program up to speed. Even though you haven’t been able to tell by the weather in Crookston I knew spring had sprung when Karen Gudvangen told me how many new staff were added to the last payroll. Best wishes to all in a successful season serving children and their families. I will close with a couple of notes from Transportation for your information. The new route for DigiKey out of Bagley has begun. The monthly guaranteed routes for Rural Transit are on the calendars. Please share with anyone you feel could benefit from the service.

Tri-Valley Transportation Adds Saturday Hours Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. along with Tri-Valley Transportation announced that due to increased public transportation needs, T.H.E. Bus has added hours on Saturdays in Crookston and Thief River Falls. T.H.E. Bus will run in both communities from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The Saturday hours have numerous benefits for Crookston and Thief River Falls since public transportation is used for a variety of reasons including but not limited to, medical, nutritional, social, recreational, shopping, work, school, and other personal activities. In addition to Saturday, T.H.E. Bus has daily weekday service from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. in these communities. For more information on Tri-Valley Transportation options visit For questions or to schedule a weekday or Saturday ride on T.H.E. Bus please call 1-800-201-3432. T.H.E. Bus is a curb-to-curb service and provides public transportation services to the general public in seven Minnesota counties, Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, Pennington and Clearwater. Buses run through these counties on various days with various destinations. Tri-Valley public transit buses are available with no age limits or income guidelines. Buses have seating available for up to 45 passengers. Each bus is handicap accessible with two accessible entrances. If passengers are unable to use the door he/she may request the use of the lift. Each driver has been trained to properly use the lift and secure mobility devices within the buses.

Tri-Valley Group Goes to the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education Annual Conference Tri-Valley sent a group to the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education (NASDME) annual conference in San Antonio, TX. NASDME annually sponsors a National Migrant Education Conference to provide training, leadership, and networking opportunities for all persons concerned with the education of migrant children. The Tri-Valley group ran into former Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Policy Council members who are now serving on the Texas Migrant Education Parent Advisory Committee. Ricardo Piña, a former Minnesota migrant student, was also recognized and received the Albert Lee Wright Jr. Memorial Migrant Scholarship and will be attending the University of Texas – Pan American, majoring in engineering. Congratulations to Ricardo!

Tri-Valley Migrant Head Start Staff Meet Former Migrant Head Start Parents in San Antonio, TX The Tri-Valley group that went to the National Association of State Directors of Migrant Education Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX ran into two past Migrant Head Start parents. On the left is Gladys Martinez. She was on the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Policy Council program year 2011/2012 and 2007/2008 representing the Grafton center. Gladys continues to be an active parent and is the PAC President for the state of Texas. Gladys shared that “the Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Migrant program gave her the skills to advocate for Migrant children and families.” On the right is Maria Gonzalez. She was on the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Policy Council program year 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 representing the Manvel center.

Crookston April Parent Meeting Hosts Fire Safety Speaker

Pictured from left to right: Minerva Gomez, Kathleen Bibus (Midwest Migrant Education Resource Center), Amber Higgins, Jacqueline Perez, Randall Fallas-Beita, Terry Hollingsworth, Laurie Coleman, Micaela Gatica, and Noemi Treviño (MN Dept of Education). Not pictured: Jan Arvizu.

There was a great turn out for the April Parent Meeting on Wednesday, April 16 at the Crookston Family Service Center. Kent Ellingson from the Crookston Fire Department did a training on fire alarm/carbon monoxide safety. After the training, the children sang songs and did a hand print art project. It was tons of fun for everyone!

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.

Head Start gets most vulnerable ready for school

By Gayle L. Kelly from Duluth on Mar 26, 2014 at 11:38 p.m. (Letter to the Bemidji Pioneer) Mr. Mackowiak’s commentary (March 23) is a striking example of how misinformation can taint proven fact. His commentary regarding the value of early learning ignores several fundamental facts. First, the key finding of the Head Start Impact Study is that the Head Start children emerged better prepared for school than their peers. Head Start children outperformed the control group in every learning domain including positive cognitive, social emotional, health and parenting impacts. In fact, further follow-up of children through their early school years seems to point to the need to improve post-Head Start education rather than defund preschool. A large body of peer-reviewed studies that Mr. Mackowiak failed to cite further demonstrates positive outcomes for Head Start children as they move through life. They are less likely to need expensive special education services in their later school years and repeat grades. Head Start graduates are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college and get jobs. Further, graduates are less likely to commit crimes and go to jail. In fact, access to Head Start provides cost savings for America that far outweigh program costs — recent estimates suggest a $1 to $8 return on public investments. Had Mr. Mackowiak moved beyond the rhetoric and talked to Minnesota parents about Head Start’s benefits, the facts may be clearer to him. Take, for example, Ricardo Sanchez-Salinas, who is enrolled in a Minnesota Head Start program. Ricardo suffered from a visual impairment that rendered him legally blind. Because of early interventions and access to appropriate care, Ricardo has gone from being a timid and uncertain toddler to a happy, curious child who is eager to interact with his peers. Ricardo’s vision specialist recently told Ricardo’s mother that she is in awe of how well Ricardo is doing. “It’s all thanks to Head Start,” Ricardo’s mom emphasized. (The teachers at Head Start) “are Ricardo’s true angels.” Mr. Mackowiak is correct that many families can’t afford preschool. More than 4,000 children are on Head Start waiting lists because families choose Head Start for its proven approach to school readiness. Unfortunately, Minnesota Head Start’s funding serves only 24 percent of income-eligible children. Respectfully, Mr. Mackowiak, we are living and breathing the facts every day. What we know for a fact is that Head Start gets our most vulnerable children ready for school, and America can’t afford to wait to give every at-risk child the opportunity for preschool. Gayle L. Kelly Executive Director Minnesota Head Start Association, Inc. Duluth

Upcoming May Calendar Items: * May 2- Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion In-Service * May 13- Tri-Valley Board of Directors Meeting * May 16- Special Transit Trip to Honker Flats Green House * May 19- Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council Meeting * May 20- Special Transit Trip to Bergeson’s Nursery Green House


Did You Know?... * You can receive more information on Tri-Valley’s programs and services by calling 218-281-5832 or 800-584-7020. * You can keep up with Tri-Valley news on the TVOC website at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TriValley_TVOC. * Everyone can receive the Tri-Valley Newsletter. If you know of anyone who would like a copy please have them contact Mitch Bakken at 218-281-5832 or

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. (TVOC) is a community action agency headquartered in Crookston, MN. It is our Mission to provide opportunities to individuals and communities in order to improve the quality of our lives. In existence since 1965, TVOC provides services in 84 counties in Minnesota and Northeast North Dakota. For more information on services offered by TVOC please call 218-281-5832 or 800-584-7020.

This information is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities. Contact us at 1-800-584-7020 or by calling the Telecommunication Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-627-3529. Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer/provider. EOE/M/F/D/V

Aprilnewsletter 2014  

Tri-Valley April Newsletter 2014

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