P.E.A.C.E., Inc., Syracuse, NY
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS)
Head Start/Early Head Start seeks to develop self-reliance and social competence in children ages 0-5, and their families. We believe that by providing a comprehensive family-centered program which fosters optimum growth and development in a nurturing, supportive setting, we will be able to accomplish this goal. Our program is particularly designed to promote positive interactions between parents and their children. We promote and encourage the involvement of the entire family system and community to foster family success.
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. administers both Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
P.E.A.C.E., Inc.'s EHS/HS programs serve the refugee community by providing both center and home-based options for families:
Our intake department, with help from local refugee resettlement agencies, completes the intake process and determines eligibility. When completing intakes for our program, the resettlement agency provides a space for EHS/HS intake workers to complete the paperwork for enrollment in a setting already familiar to families. The resettlement program may also assist with interpreters to aid in the intake interview. Other assistance from the resettlement program can include making copies of forms and getting families to the interviews.
We partner with Catholic Charities of Onondaga County to allow refugee families to enroll 4-year-old students in the program for an extended-day option. This combination allows for a longer school day by combining two programs and providing transportation to and from each program. This option requires blending funding sources from each agency and helps meet families' scheduling needs.
Our home-based department visits families at home on a weekly basis and provides families with activities to engage both parent and child. This option has proven beneficial for refugee families that are more comfortable with a parent or close relative caring for children in the home.
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. HS/EHS program currently serves refugee families from Burma, Cuba, Nepal, and Somalia. All of our refugee families are referred to us by the Center for New Americans or Catholic Charities of Onondaga County.
Current enrollment is for 1,077 participants (863 from Head Start, and 214 from Early Head Start). Approximately 16% of the children in the program are English language learners or speak a language other than English at home.
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. HS/EHS performs program evaluation in numerous ways. Content area review includes, but is not limited to:
Follow-up is planned after monthly visits and may include work plans to document action steps and due dates. Further monitoring occurs annually, as we compare program services from year to year, in order to measure the quality and quantity of the services provided to children and families.
Secondly, we conduct an annual program self-assessment to measure compliance with the Head Start Act, HS Performance Standards, and internal policies and procedures. The assessment is a "big picture" approach, looking across the entire program with a broad perspective. It is a time for our program to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if our program is:
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. HS/EHS will utilize various tools to collect data, including a comprehensive tool recently obtained from the Western Kentucky University Training & Technical Assistance Services. Information from the self-assessment highlights program strengths and reveals areas of opportunity which drive program planning and improvement. The results are combined with other programmatic data from ongoing monitoring, child outcome reports, the Program Information Report, the Community Assessment, and formed into a program-wide improvement plan. Program staff members identify goals/objectives and strive to enhance the quality of our services and a greater attainment of school readiness.
Our 2010 Community Assessment identified the need for more opportunities for refugee students to become enrolled in our HS & EHS program. As a way to increase our applications / intakes, we decided to organize a community fair with resettlement and nonprofit agencies that support refugee families. The collaborative effort included transportation for non-English speaking families to one of our city sites where we then assisted families with their application and intake paperwork. The fair was a great success as we were able to assist approximately 30 non-English speaking families through our eligibility process.
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. has begun two new oral health programs. The first, Cavity Free Kids Oral Health Curriculum, strives to educate parents on the importance of caring for baby teeth. The second, Bright Smiles School Based Dental Program, is slightly less conventional, but extremely effective. The program is a mobile dental office, providing exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride varnishes, and treatment for children at EHS/HS sites. This enables children to receive dental care in a familiar setting. Children enrolled in home-based care are taken on a field trip to visit the dental clinic at an EHS/HS site.
P.E.A.C.E., Inc. Head Start began in 1970, and Early Head Start opened in 1995; as of 2012 both remain in operation.