HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — Enrollment in the Hidalgo County Head Start Program has declined nearly 15 percent in 2020.
Officials with the program believe that it’s because of the pandemic, but there is good news about the funding of the program.
The program serves families not just children, so in August they decided to reopen their doors.
“We found out that many of our families of course work or go to school, and needed child care services, and were having to pay for them.” Says Teresa Flores, Executive Director, HCHSP
When the program reopened their doors they were 500 students short of their 3,690 slots available in the program.
“Because when you look at the fact that school districts are still not open and if parents have older children, and they are keeping them at home, they intend to keep the 3 and 4 year olds at home too.” Says Flores
The program has built strong partnerships with 10 schools districts.
Schools are able to receive funding from the state and in exchange, they provide teachers and curriculum.
Because the curriculum comes from the districts students transition into schools after attending the program are helpful.
“We give them the information as to where the child is when he leaves head start into public schools, and the transition is made very smoothly. When we have data on that particular child, and they will be able to start on day one where wherever the need is, or wherever they left off with us.” Says Flores
Those partnerships have created a strong dual-language program, which has earned guaranteed federal funding through 2026 for all their 3,690 slots, regardless if they are filled.
“Based on our performance, we were given continued funding without having to compete with our funds for 5 more years.” Says Flores
Parents can choose between remote learning, in person, or a combination. Recruitment day was earlier this week, but the program has open enrollment year-round. If you would like more information about the program, you can click here.