Head Start Received Grant
Article by Sue Carpenter | KPC News | February 7, 2019
GARRETT — Garrett-Keyser-Butler Head Start recently was awarded an Early Learning Grant of $20,175 to improve its facilities and create eight more high-quality spaces for area families.
Tuesday, representatives from Early Learning Indiana visited the Garrett site for a check presentation and tour of the facility.
Lead teacher Katrina Thacker shared how she enjoys watching both the children and the work family grow within the program and looks forward to expansion to serve more children.
In-kind specialist Sheena Weller said the grant would allow more opportunities for students to go outside the classroom for field trips, such as a recent visit to a local veterinarian.
Weller, who works across the hall from the classroom, said she is blessed to be able to witness all the good things done in the classroom.
“That makes my job as in-kind specialist writing grants easier — it’s just great to watch these ladies work. It is so important and so amazing to see how they work through the day with great little kiddos who have some challenges,” Weller said.
Director Jonell Malcolm praised the staff for never complaining when working around problems. Plans are to begin repairs, hire new staff, expand hours, provide laptop computers to teachers and send staff to professional development conferences.
Maureen Weber, president and chief operating officer of Early Learning Indiana, heard the needs at the Garrett site, including remediation and repair of the main building with hope for the possible addition of a restroom in the classroom. She praised the staff for the little and big things they do under less-than-perfect circumstances to make it work.
“I am so delighted to have a chance, really with the support of the Lilly Endowment who have helped to fund our work, to expand what you do, all around the state,” said Weber.
“It’s the Miss Katrinas of the world who are making it go,” she said. “It is probably the most important ingredient of a quality early learning environment, and it’s the most challenging one to provide and making sure we that we have work force we need.”
Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community Head Start and Early Head Start serves all of DeKalb County, including four Head Start classes in Garrett, one at McKenney-Harrison Elementary School in Auburn, one at Waterloo, and two at Butler Elementary School. Early Head Start classes are held in Garrett and in Waterloo.
Head Start also provides Home Based Early Head Start services for prenatal through age 2 with weekly home visits. Malcolm said Head Start employs six managers and 50 office staff members.
For more information, people may call Head Start and Early Head Start at 357-3333.