New plans are in the works for Toledo Public Schools and the Head Start program: TPS wants a citywide preschool program.
TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant is known as being "TPS Proud." During a press conference Wednesday morning, he stressed that fact, and emphasized that TPS, along with several nonprofit organizations, should have oversight of the Lucas County Head Start program.
On Wednesday morning, the school board signed a resolution authorizing Durant to work with local agencies to submit a comprehensive proposal to the administration to request funding to run the program.
The Head Start program was operated by the Economic Opportunity Planning Association for the past 40 years. After losing its grant back in July, a company based out of Denver took control with a one-year contract.
Now TPS officials want to take charge of the program, as a way to instill qualities in a child from an early age. EOPA officials have joined the effort as a way to stay attached to the kids in the community.
EOPA Board Chairman Rev. Dr. Donald Perryman says during the time they ran Head Start, their focus was to close the achievement gap among minorities. Although he feels they were successful then, he thinks this collaboration will be more effective. Perryman acknowledges to make this program a success, it took a unified application, and believes their decades of experiences will be beneficial.
"We have a history of educating poor and children of color. We have a history of dealing with vulnerable families. So, that's what we're bringing to the table," explained Perryman.
Durant says the achievement gap can be identified at 9 months, and if they can get kids at that age, it will make things easier once they reach kindergarten.
"The best intervention is prevention, and the more you can make that happen on the front end, the better off you are when we get to a K-12 process," said Durant.
He believes getting this program will benefit more than just the district.
"We're talking about having a community impact, in regards to impacting all students in the community. Whether they end up in TPS, a charter school, public school or private, that we know that when a child goes through this process, that they are prepared and ready starting their educational endeavors," said Durant.
Despite what some may think about TPS' report cards from the state, Durant does not feel it will affect their chances, because the highest grades were identified in categories which targeted students with special needs.
According to Durant, TPS plans to have the grant written by the third week of November. The deadline is Dec. 2.