On November 26, 2019, the Head Start program had a special visitor, State Representative Josh Kail. Representative Kail met with representatives from the Hopewell School District along with members of the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc.’s senior management team and Head Start/Early Head Start of Beaver County management team.
The Private Industry Council was afforded the opportunity to discuss its experience with providing high quality Head Start services to those within the region prior to being awarded the Beaver County grant in 2013. The Head Start management team provided an overview of Head Start/Early Head Start services, the number and ages of children served in the county, described the program options which include both center-based and home-based services, locations of classrooms including the districts where classrooms are co-located, and stand-alone sites. Staff was also able to highlight the curriculum that is used in all program options and how the researched based foundation promoted learning through play.
Representative Kail then began asking about the funding sources and the eligibility of families. It was shared with him both the state and federal funding Private Industry Council receives to provide Head Start and Early Head Start services and where the services are provided. Representative Kail was interested to learn about how the awards are determined and wanted to know if there are any unserved areas in Beaver County and how we can work to provide the needed services.
The program and Hopewell School District were able to share the challenges our families are faced with such as food insecurities as well as the rise in the opioid crisis and the impact it has on the children we serve. Hopewell Elementary principal, Mrs. Korri Kane, shared that within one week two children within the same classroom lost parents as a result of addiction. The Head Start/Early Head Start program works with AVID to provide additional one-on-one support to children affected by the crisis. Collaboratively, the program as well as the district shared the need for a backpack program in order to provide food during the weekends for the children. Mrs. Kane stated that they are currently providing some of the elementary children with a backpack of food over the weekends but that there are many other children who could benefit from an expansion of the program.
Once the meeting commenced, Representative Kail visited the Head Start classroom located at Hopewell Elementary and read a book to the children. Surprisingly all of the children remained on the carpet and were very attentive.
Representative Kail represents the 15th district which includes parts of Beaver and Washington County. He serves on the House Education, Children and Youth, Commerce, Gaming Oversight and Liquor Control committees. He was accompanied by his son, Eli, and his assistant, Monica.