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Head Start at Poupard Gets Another Look

The Grosse Pointe Public School Board will vote next month on whether to allow Head Start to operate a 20-student classroom at Poupard Elementary School. This is the second time the board will make such a decision.

Superintendent Tom Harwood is seeking to gain the school board's approval to add the Head Start program to for next school year. He detailed many reasons he believes the program would be beneficial not only to the individual students who would attend but also to the district as a whole Monday night during the board's monthly meeting.

Last year, in . The nay-sayers did not originally share much information about why they voted against the federally funded program that aims to prepare pre-school aged children for entry into kindergarten.

Later, after much public outrage and the benefits were gone by the end of first grade for students who participated.

Other nay-sayers, including current board member Joan Dindoffer, was concerned allowing such a program would violate the district's policies about allowing outside organizations in the buildings during the school day. She was the sole member who shared why she was voting against it at the time of the vote.

In Harwood's presentation Monday, he explained by having a Head Start program at Poupard, ulitimately it benefits the entire district because it will serve students from the district. These are children who will end up in the Grosse Pointe Schools, whether its first through Head Start or the first day of kindergarten. He would rather see the students being set up for success, as would Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Monique Beels, Harwood said.

Poupard's Principal, Penny Stocks, who worked with Head Start officials for more than six months last year to ensure the building and classroom space would meet federal requirements to ensure its eligibility with the program, also attended the meeting. The decision last year led to her swift exit from the board meeting.

The Director of the Wayne County Head Start Program Teresa Hutchinson also gave board members a presentation about how admission works, what curriculum is offered and the number of families currently being helped.

Should the program be approved for Poupard, it will be a classroom for 20 students, mainly 4-year-olds, Hutchinson said. There are already seven students enrolled in the Harper Woods Head Start program from the Grosse Pointe Public School District, she explained.

Last year, there were an additional 16 students who qualified, Harwood said. Both said the program would easily be filled with children from the Grosse Pointe district--another concern of one of last year's nay-sayers to the program.

Hutchinson explained the admission is based on each location, so students are admitted from the home district first and the remaining open spots, if any, are offered to students from other areas only after its been determined there are no others interested or who qualify for the program.

Currently in addition to the seven already enrolled in Harper Woods, there are nine additional students who qualify for next school year in Grosse Pointe, Hutchinson said. Finding four more students will not be hard, she said.

Dindoffer also offered some insight into research the policy committee has been doing since July as far as how to classify the Head Start program into an approved organization to be in the schools during the school day. She said the committee does not believe there needs to be an official change but an addition saying such a program can be determined by the superintendent as appropriate and furthuring to the district's educational goals for students.

Harwood detailed at least one study in Michigan that showed the longterm benefits of such a program and urged the board to approve the program, explaining he believes it will be a success.

In response to some question about funding and ensuring it remains separate by board member Tom Jakubiec, who was also one of the nay-sayers last year, Harwood explained the district actually had to spend some of its own money this school year to open another room of kindergarten and hire another teacher for students who would have otherwise been in the Head Start program this year.

The board will vote on the issue during its March meeting. Members were provided a packet of information and a list of detailed questions asked by member Lois Valente and answered by Harwood will be available on the district's website.

Near the end of the meeting, Board President Judy Gafa said she was encouraged by the progress in discussion about the Head Start program.

Monday's meeting was conducted in a more professional, congenial manner as compared to at each other after then board member Fred Minturn made a random motion to revert's the board's original decision. Minturn was absent from the day of the vote but had expressed his support beforehand. Eventually the group agreed to research ways it could possibly do something that would be beneficial district wide.

Harwood said early Tuesday that he, Beels and Stocks kept in close contact with Head Start officials since last year's failed attempt to get the program at Poupard, with the goal of re-introducing it this year. He said maintaining contact means Stocks will not have to go through inspection and the approval process as an appropriate site again, he said.

He said he is encouraged by the progress at the meeting and feels many of the questions that were posed last year were answered through the presentation, which should help elicit a different vote this year.

GDog Slim February 28, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Head Start - That would be a great way to help to ruin the school system. Are there that many troubled low income kids with one parent families in the GP system ? It is a socialist government program. Would HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. come in and talk to kids about comdoms and birth control? Sounds like Harwood et al.. want the Fed money to play with http://www.freep.com/article/20110625/NEWS01/106250430/Detroit-s-Head-Start-program-peril Head Start program abuses go unchecked for years The Detroit Human Services Department has mismanaged the childhood development program Head Start for years with few consequences from the agencies and officials responsible for oversight.
GP Mom February 29, 2012 at 02:50 AM
This is a great move that is all about helping kids and families! Thank you so much, Dr. Harwood! We should all support this because it is the right thing to do for children! Anyone who doesn't understand that low income single parent families are among us and attending our schools is quite uneducated themselves!
Brian Vosburg February 29, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Glad to hear that the school board has chosen a more rational and hopefully professional approach to adding Head Start to Poupard this time. Countless studies show the positive value of Head Start to any community. Hopefully the discussion this time around can be on how do we make Head Start work for the GP Schools and develop an agreement that works to the benefit of everyone, especially the kids. I agree with GP Mom that any GPer who thinks there aren't families and children in GP who struggle with academics and/or access to resources are kidding themselves. There's struggling families today and there's been struggling families for decades both in Harper Woods as well as the Pointes.
GDog Slim February 29, 2012 at 04:08 PM
There have always and always will be kids who struggle and aren't as advantaged as some others and the leftist utopian programs won't change that. Big Brother babysitting kids at working class expense is not the answer, all of these Great Society programs have failed and are far too expensive. " Lack of money is not the problem: to keep a child in Head Start full-time, year-round, costs about $22,600, as opposed to an average cost of $9,500 in a day care center. In 1998, Congress required the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct the first rigorous national evaluation of the program. The Clinton administration took this mandate seriously and initiated a 383-site randomized experiment involving about 4,600 children. Confirming previous research, the study found that the current program had little meaningful impact. " source http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/opinion/08besharov.html
Brian Vosburg February 29, 2012 at 05:36 PM
The original study that lead to the creation of Head Start, and the longest running study (and among the most repected studies) on Head Start, is carried out by the High Scope Institute in Ypsilanti, MI. Their study shows that a high-quality Head Start curriculum has long lasting benefits, even well into adulthood. http://www.highscope.org/content.asp?contentid=260 The Head Start being proposed for Poupard will be run by Wayne County Head Start which is completely separate from the City of Detroit Head Start. Wayne County Head Start uses the High Scope curriculum. Head Start is not day care.
Judy Gafa March 01, 2012 at 01:02 PM
GDog Slim, I would like to invite you to tour Poupard or the Head Start program in Harper Woods. I'd also invite you to meet with Dr. Harwood or myself to discuss any concerns you may have about the Wayne Metro Head Start Program. Rebecca Fannon and Dr. Harwood will be posting an FAQ on the district website that can be accessed at GPPSS. Org. Sincerely, Judy Gafa president of GP Board of Education
GDog Slim March 02, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Thanks for the invite, but I already know what Head Start is. Imagine a government program that wastes money, I cannot believe it ! - http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2010/05/head-start-scandal-on-par-with-acorns-antics "Head Start Scandal on Par With ACORN’s Antics" ""Head Start, a Great Society program created in 1965 for low-income children, received $9 billion — yes, billion — in appropriations and stimulus funding last year alone. Over the lifetime of the program, it has cost taxpayers more than $150 billion. There are more than 3,300 Head Start programs operating in America, according to the Department of Health and Human Services."" http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/14/long-overdue-head-start-evaluation-shows-no-lasting-benefit-for-children/ "Long Overdue Head Start Evaluation Shows No Lasting Benefit for Children" After some prodding, yesterday the Obama administration released the long-overdue first grade evaluation of the federal Head Start program. As expected, the results show that the $7 billion per year program provides little benefit to children – and great expense to taxpayers. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-733T?action=play Undercover Testing Finds Fraud and Abuse at Selected Head Start Centers he Head Start program, overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the Office of Head Start, provides child development services primarily to low-income families and their children.
Brian Vosburg March 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
GDog Slim, You are being deliberatly misleading with your selective verbiage with the GAO report. Here's the actual title of the GAO report: "Undercover Testing Finds Fraud and Abuse at SELECTED Head Start Centers" (emphasis mine). Furthermore in the very link you provide states this in the last sentence of the first paragraph: "Results of undercover tests and family interviews cannot be projected to the entire Head Start program.". The cited GAO report is an audit of alleged fraud at 15 centers out of thousands of centers across the country. Out of the 15 audited centers, 7 didn't do anything fraudulent. This report is not an audit of the whole program. What is your proposal for assisting children who are not academically and socially ready for school?
GDog Slim March 02, 2012 at 04:54 PM
I am just reporting facts. Please don't let them to get in the way of your argument. So do you agree that diverting an avg. of $7,600 (Wayne cty hhs) per pupil from taxpayers is a good use tax money? Are you are also saying that having the government become the nanny government funded babysitter for kids ?, because that is what is has become. Please tell me what benefits the U.S. taxpayers have received since 1965 by diverting 150 Billion dollars into this program.
Brian Vosburg March 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM
You are not reporting facts. You are reporting distortions. I'm not saying that every Head Start program works well. A larger number do. What I am saying is that the specifics of the Grosse Pointe proposal for a high quality Head Start program, which Wayne County's is, does make a difference. And the cost to our society of $7,600 per pupil per year far outpays for the negative externalities of not offering a Head Start type of program. I'll repeat my question: what is your alternative proposal for ensuring children who aren't ready for the classroom are ready if you don't like the Head Start program?
Interested Bystander September 10, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Please take what you read with a grain of salt. The Department of Human Services did not mismanage the Head Start Program. The City decided to give the grant back because it could not use grant funds to do whatever they pleased. Since they couldn't have their way, they shut it down after 47 years. Additionally, I understand that the Free Press writer of this and other bogus articles had since been fired for using unreliable/unconventional sources to sensationalize his articles.
Interested Bystander September 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM
GDog Slim, You are SO uninformed.
Brian Vosburg September 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Interested Bystander, I won't disagree with your concerns about the Freep writer. There were articles he wrote that were about an initiative I was working on and his journalism skills were questioned by our group after a few articles. There seem to have been some other issues going on with that reporter as well. As for the Dept. of Human Services, they did indeed mismanage the Head Start program and the Freep articles had nothing to do with the discovery of the mismanagment nor the return of the funds. Talk to anyone who was involved with the HS department: teachers, consultants, landlords renting space to HS, etc. and they will all give examples of gross incompetence and mismanagement. I'm not talking differences of professional opinion but outright incompentence and potential criminal intent.
GDog Slim September 10, 2012 at 03:54 PM
You are distorting the facts. You have no facts, only rhetoric Head Slow is just another wasteful government social program to give jobs to people who can't get real jobs.
Interested Bystander September 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Brian, I appreciate your response. However, I work for the Head Start program in the Department and can solidly attest that the issues stemmed from downtown. When the Feds came to have a "sit down" with those who process payments, contracts and the like from downtown, no one bothered to meet with them. Believe me, this is a very arrogant administration.
Interested Bystander September 10, 2012 at 04:03 PM
...and you know this how???
Interested Bystander September 10, 2012 at 04:08 PM
In a nutshell for GDog Slim: http://www.nhsa.org/files/static_page_files/399E0881-1D09-3519-AD56452FC44941C3/BenefitsofHSandEHS.pdf
Interested Bystander September 10, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Please read: http://www.nhsa.org/files/static_page_files/39A3801A-1D09-3519-ADC6BAF6529D3D65/MythoftheFadeoutEffect.pdf
GP For Life September 10, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Ms. Gafa: Your gross over familiarity Mr. GDog Slim is troubling. Nah, just kidding. I bet you never imagined you would be addressing a member of your constituency by the name "GDog Slim". All that said, I can live without the Head Start program.
GDog Slim September 14, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I'm sure the Teacher's Union don't care if the G.P. School system is destroyed in twenty years or less when the middle class moves out. They will have their pensions to count on

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