Georgia Sheriff, director of Head Start at Drake University, recently received continuation funding for the program’s work.
Head Start is a comprehensive child development program, which serves children from birth to age five and their families. The program is child-centered and focuses on increasing school readiness of young children in low-income families.
To receive federal funding for the program, Head Start must write a continuation grant each year showing the government that the program has fulfilled the goals they set and that they have completed the requirements. They must also create a budget and submit it for approval.
According to Sheriff, Drake’s Head Start has a few foci for the upcoming year.
“There are new national requirements so we’re working very hard to make sure we achieve them,” she says. “One of our goals is to develop our cultural competence. We are making sure our staff is confident and comfortable working with a diverse group of children and their families.”
Drake University Head Start is federally funded to support 926 children and their families in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. In Polk County, Early Head Start programs serve 88 children up to three years old and their families. The Head Start programs are offered in a six-county area including Polk, Boone, Story (Ames only), Jasper, Marion, and Warren counties and serve 838 children and families.
“My favorite part of the Head Start program is seeing the children develop,” Sheriff says. “We have an incredible program thanks to our staff. We’re one of fewer than 50 universities in the country who have a Head Start program, so that brings a dimension to us that others do not have. We have the opportunity to work side-by-side with people who are top in their field and can give us so much information on what’s current [in education].”