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Head Start grants will boost training, teacher recruitment

Erin Einhorn/Chalkbeat

An infusion of grants is coming at just the right time for four Head Start agencies in Detroit that this month must begin re-competing for federal cash they’re in danger of losing.

The Head Start Innovation Fund — operated by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan — on Tuesday announced the grants totaling $1.1 million.

In addition to helping provide professional development for the agencies that are in jeopardy, the money will also help improve teacher recruitment and retention for programs in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

The grants come as Head Start providers in the region have become more collaborative, thanks in part to efforts by the fund to improve the quality of the early childhood programs, Katie Brisson, the vice president of the Community Foundation, wrote in a blog post about the grants.

The fund was created by 10 foundations.

Nine grants were awarded. Of them, four are going to agencies that must submit applications this month to re-compete for their federal funding after an evaluation found three in the bottom 10 percent of all Head Start providers in the country. A fourth had several violations of program rules.

The grants to the four agencies will cover professional development that will help them improve their scores in the federal evaluation and address teacher retention and recruitment, according to a news release from the Community Foundation.

The four agencies and the amounts they’ll receive:

  • Matrix Human Services, $150,000
  • New St. Paul Tabernacle Head Start Agency, $150,000
  • Starfish Family Services, $150,000
  • Metropolitan Children and Youth, $150,000.

Here’s how the remaining money will be doled out:

  • Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, $100,000, to expand its LEAP to TEACH program, a recruitment program that helps candidates earn a child development associate’s degree.
  • The Guidance Center, $100,000, for a program that provides support to teachers from infant mental health experts.
  • Starfish-Western Wayne, $100,000, for efforts to provide rewards and recognition for employees, as well as efforts to mentor new staff.
  • Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, $100,000, to launch new teacher recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Macomb County, $100,000, to support teacher retention efforts.

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