Head Start is a program designed to give low-income preschool children a developmental edge when entering kindergarten. Although the basic elements of Head Start are regulated through Federal Head Start Program Performance Standards, grantees and parents can design their individual program to best meet the needs of the families in the local community.
One of the unique characteristics of Head Start is that parents make it happen. The JCPS Head Start/Early Head Start Program recognizes parents as their child's first and foremost teacher. Parents are one of Head Start’s most valuable resources—not only as primary educators of their children but also as policy makers of their children’s Head Start Program.
A Policy Council, made up of parents and community representatives, supports an atmosphere of shared decision making while promoting parents as primary educators, nurturers, and advocates for their children. The Policy Council is instrumental in major management decisions, such as reviewing and approving the budget, program planning, personnel, policies, and procedures.
Parents also get involved at the center their child attends through volunteer work and by participating in the center's Parent Commitee. The Parent Committees are organized at the classroom level. Membership is automatic for parents who have children enrolled. The role of the Parent Committee is to keep parents informed about center activities and program plans and to make recommendations for program improvements to the Head Start management team and Policy Council.
Through shared governance, the JCPS Head Start/Early Head Start Program ensures that the program is reflective of the community in which it serves and that children remain the focus as policies and procedures are developed and implemented.
To learn more about the JCPS Head Start/Early Head Start Policy Council, contact us at (502) 485-3919.