Oco News

OCO Head Start Receives Continuation Grant; Prepares for In-Person Classes in September

OCO’s Head Start Pre-K Program recently received a continuation grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Head Start. The grant ensures that OCO will continue to provide pre-K children with comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services.

“We are pleased to be receiving this continuation grant,” said OCO Head Start Health and Family Coordinator Toni Ross. “Head Start has prepared thousands of children to successfully begin Kindergarten. Thanks to this Office of Head Start grant we will be able to continue our school readiness curriculum and teach children how much fun learning can be, how to work together as a team, and the importance of responsibility.”

This fall Head Start will return to all in-person classes. For the safety of the children, all New York State COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.

Head Start Pre-K classrooms have a teacher with either a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree in education, a teaching assistant, and a classroom aide to provide a small teacher-child ratio. Children enjoy a variety of hands-on learning experiences that include the concepts of math, science, and literacy combined with active play and nutritious meals that assist children in developing academically, socially, and emotionally. Head Start helps children not only succeed in school but in life beyond as well.

OCO’s Head Start Pre-K Program focuses primarily on families experiencing low incomes, and is offered at no cost to qualifying families. The program is currently accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year for all of its classrooms, including  Oswego, Fulton (multiple locations), Phoenix (Discovery Learning Center), Williamstown and West Monroe.

“Families are encouraged to apply at their earliest convenience as class size is limited, and with the return to in-person classes, we anticipate an increase in applications,” added Ross.

Children must be three years old on or before December 1, 2021 and families must meet income guidelines. Apply online at www.oco.org/education-services/head-start-upk; message the head Start Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/headstartupk  or via phone by calling 315-598-4711.  An OCO Family Specialist will contact you to complete the application.

The Office of Head Start (OHS) administers grant funding and oversight to the 1,600 agencies that provide Head Start services in communities across the country. OHS also provides federal policy direction and a training and technical assistance (TTA) system to help grantees in providing comprehensive services to eligible young children and their families.

Did you know that OCO is celebrating its 55th Anniversary? Fifty Five years ago, OCO was officially incorporated as the county’s “Economic Opportunity” agency (now referred to as Community Action Agency). The agency was “born” as a result of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and while the words have changed slightly over time, OCO’s mission has stayed true to empowering people, supporting the community and changing lives…particularly for those who lack resources to thrive.

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