Partnership to bring all-day preschool to YSU
By Denise Dick
A partnership between Youngstown State University and Alta Head Start allows YSU students to gain real-world training while providing Mahoning County’s children with more access to full-day preschool.
Officials from YSU and Alta Head Start announced the arrangement Wednesday at the YSU Learning Center Model Classroom inside of Beeghly Hall on campus.
“This is a special day for us,” said Joseph Shorokey, executive director of Alta Care Group.
Alta will staff the facility, but it will allow YSU students to gain experience.
Joe Mosca, dean of YSU’s Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, said students in early childhood education, health, nutrition and dental health will be able to get experience in their fields.
Alta started operating Mahoning County’s Head Start and Early Head Start in August 2015.
Charles Howell, dean of YSU’s College of Education, said having a Head Start operating the facility means all teachers are licensed. The program also includes a component to involve parents in their preschooler’s education.
Shorokey said Alta Head Start includes wraparound services – vision, dental and mental health – for children in the program.
“It’s a win-win,” he said. “For the university, students will be able to get real-life training. It also exposes young children and their parents to the university.”
For Alta, it doesn’t pay rent to YSU, although it pays some utilities. It also provides access to YSU services. Those services will help Alta meet its Head Start requirement for in-kind services.
YSU President Jim Tressel said the partnership provides opportunity for young people and their families to access all-day preschool.
Services at the model classroom include health and nutrition services; hearing, speech/language and vision screenings, on-site social/emotional/behavioral support; and nursing services.
Head Start is licensed by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.