Free early learning, health and family well-being support services are available for more than 400 preschool students and their families who qualify for the LCPS Head Start program for the 2018-19 school year. Registration for the program will take place at 12 elementary schools that offer the program from 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, said Dr. Christina Freeman, LCPS Head Start director. All Head Start students must be accepted into the program prior to registering for classes.
“Registration is only for families who have been approved by the Head Start program,” Freeman said. “To get pre-approved, parents need to come to the Head Start office as soon as possible since preschool classes begin on August 15.”
Head Start is an optional early childhood program funded by the federal government that provides services to children and families who fall within federal poverty guidelines. It is for three- and four-year-olds who must be of age by August 31, Freeman said.
The Head Start program is available at the following 12 LCPS elementary schools: Booker T. Washington, César E. Chávez, Columbia, Conlee, Doña Ana, Hermosa Heights, Loma Heights, MacArthur, Mesilla Park, Tombaugh, University Hills and Valley View.
“The Head Start program promotes school readiness by enhancing student’s social, emotional, language, cognitive, and physical development,” Freeman said. “The program also works collaboratively with families to offer additional support services and resources.”
To apply for the program, parents or guardians need to bring their child’s original birth certificate, their 2017 tax return and any other income received by the family (such as child support, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, financial aid, etc.) at the time the application is submitted, to the Head Start Office, located in Portable 126 at Booker T. Washington Elementary, 755 E. Chestnut Ave.
Freeman said the Head Start program is required to reserve 10 percent of its program enrollment for children with disabilities. Parents of children with disabilities are required to submit an application and go through the same process as all other parents.
Head Start is funded for 413 students in Las Cruces. Students enrolled in the program are able to participate in either part-day or full-day sessions and instruction is provided Tuesday through Friday. Part-day sessions last 3.5 hours each day and full-day sessions last 7 hours each day. Both programs operate on a nine-month basis and follow the school district’s calendar.
Freeman said all 413 students receive services in center-based programs that include: educational instruction, health and nutrition services, disability services, counseling, parent engagement services and activities. School breakfast, lunch and snack services are provided to Head Start students by the school district, she added.
— Damien Willis, LCPS Director of Communications, 575-527-5811, firstname.lastname@example.org