HEAD START PROGRAM
Helping eligible children and families of
We are happy to have you and your family in the Edgewood ISD Head Start program and the San Antonio & Bexar County Head Start program. As we continue to serve 777 children in Edgewood ISD and 6,789 children in
This Parent Handbook has been prepared to help you understand the program, and the ways you can help us work for the good of our children, families, and communities.
Please read this handbook carefully
San Antonio & Bexar County Head Start Program and their partners Edgewood ISD, Avance, Family Service Association, Education Service Center Region 20, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Center for Health Care Services, and University Health Systems will continue to have a strong impact in the community by providing quality early childhood education, health, nutritional, dental, disability, and social services to families living in our area.
San Antonio & Bexar County Head Start is made up of several different programs that are funded by the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families and with each program there are many rules and regulations, which must be followed. All services provided by Edgewood ISD and the San Antonio & Bexar County Head Start for children and families are free of charge however eligibility is based on the age and family income of each child.
Provides comprehensive child development services to children ages 3 to 4 years including full day services for all Head Start children.
Standard of Conduct
Head Start ensures all staff, consultants, and volunteers abide by the programs standard of conduct. As written in the Head Start Program Performance Standard 1304.52(h)(i-iv), these standards specify that:
1. They will respect and promote the unique identity of each child and family and refrain from stereotyping on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability;
2. They will follow program confidentiality polices concerning information about children, families, and other staff members;
3. No child will be left alone or unsupervised while under their care; and
4. They will use positive methods of child guidance and will not engage in corporal punishment, emotional or physical abuse, or humiliation. In addition, they will not employ methods of discipline that involve isolation, the use of food as punishment or reward, or the denial of basic needs.
Complaints should be discussed with Head Start staff to include the Head Start Site Manager. If no resolution is reached, the concern will be addressed to the Director of the Head Start Program. The Director will hear any concerns and follow up with an investigation of the situation if necessary.
Our goal in the Edgewood ISD Head Start program is that your child is in attendance everyday. If an attendance problem arises, the center administrator will contact you. You will be required to attend an Abatement Hearing to discuss and develop a Plan of Action for your child's daily attendance.
Also, Head Start is a school readiness program; therefore, it is important to establish a regular routine of attendance. When a center's Average Daily Attendance (ADA) falls below 85% due to a child's multiple and /or prolonged absence from the classroom, the Head Start program must analyze the cause of absenteeism.
The Burleson, Cardenas and Stafford Early Childhood Education Centers hours are 7:45 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. This is instructional time and should not be interrupted. Children need to be in attendance each and everyday to ensure the best learning possible. If a child leaves prior to 3:00 p.m. they are considered as a partial day absence. For physician or dentist visits, please provide the main office with a note from the physician or dentist upon your child's return to school.
If your child is absent, or going to be absent FOR ANY REASON, you must notify your child's teacher on or before the date of absence stating the reason for the absence and give a possible date your child will return to class. If your child cannot return by the date previously discussed, contact the teacher again with and explanation and new date you expect your child will return to class.
If your child is absent for three (3) consecutive days,
Or has a pattern of irregular attendance, a family contact will be made by telephone or in person by a Head Start staff member to discuss absences and to offer assistance to ensure that all attendance challenges are addressed.
Licensing and Inspections
All Head Start program locations operate under the Federal Head Start Regulations and Edgewood ISD and the City of San Antonio provides monitoring and oversight to ensure high quality centers and instruction.
In addition, some of the Head Start programs are licensed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS), which conducts an inspection of each program to ensure that Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers are met. Those Head Start programs located within Independent School Districts maybe exempt from the TDFPS Minimum Standards, but are also regulated by the state department of education known as the Texas Education Agency (TEA). A copy of a letter noting exemption status is posted at each site.
If a parent has concerns or believes TDFPS Minimum Standards are not being met, he/she should inform the Head Start Site Manager and also inform the local licensing office at 333-3399. A copy of the last TDFPS Minimum Standards Licensing Inspection is posted on each Center's Administrative Board and available for review.
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (SAMHD) and the San Antonio Fire Department make yearly inspections to ensure all Centers are safe and meet health and fire safety standards. Copies of the inspection findings are also posted on the Center's Administrative Board and available for review.
Head Start makes it possible for all children with special needs to be identified early in the program year with all children receiving a full developmental screening within 45 days of entry in the program. This screening includes the following areas: Motor Skills, Concepts, Language, Self-Help, and Social and Emotional Development. Parents are notified if further evaluation is needed in any of theses areas and are involved in identifying ways to help their children achieve their specific goals. Vision and Hearing screenings are required by Head Start Performance Standards will also be completed within 45 days of each child's enrollment.
Well Child Care
Ongoing access to medical and dental care is essential for all children, regardless of income. Head Start will assist you in getting and keeping a medical and dental provider. Please let your Teacher know of any barriers that have prevented you from receiving medical or dental care in the past so that together we can develop a plan to overcome those barriers.
If you already have a medical and dental provider, please make an appointment with them for your child's exam. If you child has had a medical or dental exam in the last year, the Teacher will have you fill out a release of information form and we will get that documentation directly from your health care provider.
Each center has Parent Advocates with a specialized case load to assist each family with various needs that must be met. They are the liaison between the center and outside agencies. Please check at the office for the Parent Advocate that is assigned to your child(ren).
While your child is in the Head Start program, we will be working with you to make sure that your child is up-to-date on all required immunizations by the time they enter Kindergarten.
Nutrition and Healthy Habits
All children receive a Nutrition Assessment and parents are provided with information concerning diet and general nutrition. Medical dietary needs are taken into account when providing meals to children. Healthy habits are established in the classroom with daily tooth brushing and emphasis on hand- washing as well as other habits that help reduce the spread of illness.
We use classroom routines for teaching children healthy habits around safety. We ensure that playground rules are followed and safety devices such as helmets are used appropriately.
Two times a year we have parent conferences and home visits at which time we sit down with you to discuss with you the progress of your child. At that time you are welcome to ask any question about your child or the operation of the Head Start center. Other times that you may have a question just schedule an appointment with your child's teacher or Head Start Site Manager.
Visiting the Center
Parents may visit their child's center any time during the center's hours of operation. You are also invited to be a volunteer to help out in the classroom and cafeteria.
Eligibility to transition from the Head Start Program
Children who will be 5 years of age by September 1st will be eligible to transition from the Head Start program into one of our elementary schools within close proximity.
Family and Community Partnerships
The Head Start program in Edgewood ISD is committed to supporting your family by establishing a strong partnership with you. We will help you identify your goals and support you in reaching them by using your own strengths, and community resources. This will reinforce the gains made by your child at Head Start and support your own personal goals and self-sufficiency. All Head Start staff will be available to help with information and resources. Teachers will also check in frequently by phone, at the center, or on home visits to monitor goal progress throughout the year.
Whenever possible, Head Start would like to include the non- custodial parent by providing information about the child's progress.
Volunteers are welcome and essential to the program. Volunteering enriches the classroom experience for the children. Volunteering provides parents with the opportunity to learn about the program their child attends while developing their own skills and knowledge in an array of experiences opportunities. All volunteers must have a background check conducted through Edgewood ISD to ensure the continued safety of our children. Once the background check has been verified and accepted, a parent may volunteer at anytime within the center.
Parent Leadership Committee
All parents of an enrolled child are automatically members of the Parent Leadership Committee and will have an opportunity to plan activities for their children with classroom staff and school personnel. The PLC meetings are scheduled one time monthly. Look for the fliers and announcements of meeting times and dates.
It is an important and special job for a person to represent the Edgewood ISD Head Start program and be involved in the decision making for the entire San Antonio Head Start program. The person elected to the Policy Council needs to be able to attend meetings at least once a month at the Head Start Headquarters off of Highway 90 and Brady.
Policy Council is made up of Head Start parents and other members of the community. The Policy Council discusses plans, develops and approves grants and policies, hiring of City of San Antonio Head Start staff and assists with the self- assessment of the entire city-wide Head Start program.
Program Expectations: The Parent-Teacher Partnership
As a parent, you have the greatest impact on your child's education and development. This is why we ask you to take an active part in Head Start.
ATTENDANCE: It is very important that your child attend class every school day. Children make better progress when their attendance is consistent, and social contact is important for all students.
HOME VISITS: Head Start believes that the parent-teacher partnership is the key to a successful preschool program. Your active participation in home visits is very important to your child's Head Start experience. Home visits will occur twice a year.
PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES: Twice a year, you will meet with your child's teacher to review the work your child is doing in class and go over records in your child's file.
YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH CARE: You are expected to make sure your child's immunizations are current or up-to-date. You are also expected to make sure your child gets a physical exam and dental exam. This must be done within 90 days of your child's enrollment.
FAMILY SERVICES: Your Parent Advocate or Parent Advocate Coordinator has information for you about services your family may need and will help you develop and meet personal and family goals. He / she will be contacting you once school begins.
PARENT INVOLVEMENT: There are many ways to be involved in the Edgewood ISD Head Start program including volunteering in the classroom, sharing a special talent, recipe or activity. Parents from each class make up the centers Parent Leadership Committee. Parent Leadership Committee members elect Policy Council members to serve on the City of San Antonio & Bexar County Policy Council.
If there are any questions regarding information above,
please contact your HEAD START Site Manager at your earliest convenience.