PSB discusses day care growth

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GRANT FUNDING: Thomas, pictured on right, along with

listening in: A group of citizens attended the Picayune School District meeting Tuesday to learn about plans to expand day care access in the area. Photo by Ashley Collins.

The Picayune School Board met Tuesday to discuss upcoming plans to expand Early Head Start services in day care centers within the community.

Dr. Pamela Thomas, Picayune’s Early Head Start director, said they have 18 months to ensure the participating day care facilities meet state and federal regulations under the Child Care Development Partnership Grant, which will allow the program to expand its services to the McCarthy Learning Center, Pearl River Community College’s child care program, Annie’s Day Care and Linda’s Family Child Care.

“Right now, we’re making sure we have the facilities up to par before the 18 months are over,” Thomas said.

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Thomas also said the grant could fund services to participating facilities for up to five years. She was accompanied by Robin Katherine Jones, national startup planner for EHS and Audrey Battle, EHS CCP implementation planner, who are currently assisting Thomas to ensure all participating facilities meet regulations.

“So far, we’ve looked at three facilities and they’re not meeting the minimum that is required. A lot of the school equipment are suited for older children, not suited for infants and toddlers,” Jones said.

The board agreed to allow Picayune’s Early Head Start to advertise for bids to receive proper school supplies at each participating facility.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a revised kindergarten readiness screener and report card. The improved kindergarten readiness screener will gather information about a child’s overall development and address their readiness for kindergarten more efficiently than before, said Brent Harrell, assistant superintendent.

“The one we used before didn’t go far enough to identify a child’s readiness,” Harrell said.

Mary Williams, principal at Westside Elementary, said parents of kindergarten students can expect to receive a revised report card illustrating their child’s classroom performance more clearly.

“This new format will use numbers to explain to parents exactly how many words the child knows and how many letters they recognize,” Williams said.

The revision was made after parents expressed their confusion regarding the previous report card format, which used a plus or minus system to show their child’s performance.

Along with the report card, parents will receive an extra sheet that will break down their child’s performance in each subject area.

The next board meeting will be Sept. 8 at 5:30 p.m.