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Head Start Program Receives Top Ratings

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Sonora, CA – At Tuesday’s board meeting, the Tuolumne County supervisors heard from Mother Lode Head Start leaders that its local program recently earned some of the highest ratings in the nation.

The initial tidings came from Shelley Hance, the executive director of the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA), which oversees Head Start. Noting that ATCAA has administered Head Start for 3 to 5-year-olds since 1984, Hance described the government-led program as the most rigorous of any of ATCAA’s offerings with regard to fiscal and program monitoring. While ATCAA has received high ratings in the past during monitoring periods that come from the national level every three years, Hance announced for 2014, the latest rating period, some of ATCAA’s program components received ratings that effectively place it among the best of the nation.

Head Start Director Marcia Williams reported to the board that ATCAA’s classroom scores in particular, placed in the top ten percent. Although the scores are gratifying and important, Williams said, the take away is that the children are clearly doing better. “Good teaching leads to good outcomes [which] lead to children who are ready for kindergarten and ready for success,” Williams happily stated.

According to Williams’ data, approximately 200 Tuolumne County children take part in the Head Start program; 140 at six preschool centers; 20 in early Head Start; and 40 home-based.