$600,000 grant to help Head Start expand program

FARRELL, Pa. -- Mercer County's Head Start program will be able to reach out to more 3-to-5-year-olds, thanks to a state grant.
Terri Lengyel, Head Start director, said the program has been awarded a $600,000 expansion grant that will enable it to provide services to 32 additional children.
Two new classrooms will be added, one in Sharon and the other in Greenville, Lengyel said.
The grant also will enable Head Start to expand its day, lengthen its school year and hire some case managers to free teachers from performing double duty in the classroom and, as case managers that meet with families, do home visits and provide social services.
The program now runs 31/2 hours a day for 136 days a year.
The grant will provide money to expand that to six-hour days for 160 days, Lengyel said, noting the expansion will begin with the start of school Sept. 7.
Teachers have been performing double duties as both teacher and case manager, but the grant will pay for six case managers to handle the home visits and social services aspect of the program, Lengyel said.
The Farrell Area School District runs the Head Start program for the entire county and the Farrell Area School Board hired three case managers this week, Lengyel said. The other three positions are being filled from current staff, she said.

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