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Head Start receives grant to save four positions

IRONTON — The Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization’s Head Start Program received a much-needed financial shot in the arm Wednesday when it was awarded more than $223,000 in federal grant monies to save four teaching positions at its Early Childhood Academy.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-6) secured the expansion grant for Head Start. It was administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant will allow the CAO to save four teachers whose positions could have been eliminated without the grant. According to Sharon Daniels, Head Start Director, this addition in teaching staff will allow 32 more students to enroll at their Early Childhood Academy.

The grant will also expand Head Start’s home visit program, where teachers visit high-risk and developmentally disabled students at their homes in order to give some valuable personal attention to the children.

“I’m really excited by it,” said CAO Executive Director D.R. Gossett. “We have suffered in recent months with cutbacks in funding.”

The grant comes during a transition period for Head Start. After years of occupying Central School in Ironton, Head Start relocated last month to the Lawrence Street School on the city’s north side.

“The move has been excellent. It’s a tight fit, but the city schools have worked with us very well,” Gossett said.

The move came as the Ironton City School district announced plans during the summer to raze Central School and sell the property.

Head Start is a federally funded child development program that serves low-income students and their families. Since its inception in 1965, Head Start has helped prepare 25 million pre-school aged children for kindergarten through comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent-involvement services.

“Congratulations to the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO. Head Start is a great program helping a lot of families in Ohio’s Sixth District,” Wilson said. “Investing in our children’s education is one of the best ways to ensure long-term economic growth.”