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CAO Head Start in South Point honored

The Ironton-Lawrence County/CAO South Point Head Start has been given a gold star, of sorts.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has awarded the program a One-Star Step Up to Quality award.

“South Point Child Care provides a higher standard of care that exceeds Ohio’s licensing standards,” explained Terrie Hare, the chief of Ohio Bureau of Child Care and Development adding that it translates to more teachers, a greater commitment to in-service training and a more nurturing environment for children to grow and develop. “This outstanding commitment to children and early learning is why South Point Child Care has earned our One-Star award.”

The South Point Child Care site administrator Melanie Vanderhoof said she and the staff are proud to One-Star program.

“We know that learning begins the moment babies open their eyes,” she said. “Because of that, we are committed to high-quality care and education.”

Step Up To Quality is a voluntary rating system for early childcare and education programs. Participating programs can earn one, two or three-star ratings by meeting a list of quality benchmarks, including ratio of teachers to students, teachers getting at least five hours of child development training above licensing requirement per year, a reduction of staff turnover with benefits, and teachers being familiar with Ohio’s Early Learning Content Standards and being trained to prepare children for kindergarten.

The state believes the benchmarks are crucial for children’s futures since children enrolled in high quality early learning programs are more likely to stay in school, attend college and be employed in high-skilled jobs than their peers.