The Paducah Head Start program received $71,330 as part of a $4.3 million provision in the Coronavirus Relief and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to Kentucky entities to provide necessary child care and learning services during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Head Start program is a part of the Paducah Independent School District.
Paducah Head Start Director Kristy Lewis said the district received the funding on April 1 and it will last through March 31, 2023.
“We are using that funding to provide summer programming in person in collaboration with some local child care centers so that we can continue enrichment services for our preschoolers,” she said. “We will be serving a total of about 85 preschoolers with those funds. That $71,330 goes into materials, resources and staff salaries to continue the learning for students during the month of June.”
Lewis said Paducah Head Start applied for more funding that should be received in September through the American Rescue Plan.
“We’ve got two years to use those funds,” she said. “We are looking at our data to see what the need of our community is and to see what the needs of our children and families are so that we can use that funding to the best extent possible.”
Lewis said she was excited about receiving the funding, which will help to enrich the summer learning.
“We are using the funding to target children going to kindergarten,” she said. “We’re using those funds to help prepare them for kindergarten, maybe provide them extra support as they’re here at school — not necessarily items that they’ve missed but items that we can continue to strengthen support within them.
“…We’ve had the great privilege and opportunity to be able to apply for these fundings, because without the fundings, our children would not have the services this summer. For some of those students, they truly needed that extra boost in language, literacy and math skills and, most importantly, the mental health services and support and interventions they’ve been able to provide.”
Paducah Head Start was one of 27 Kentucky entities that received funding for child care and learning services. Other entities in western Kentucky that received funding were Audubon Area Community Services ($601,939), Breckenridge County Board of Education ($34,611), Breckenridge-Grayson Programs ($62,000), Community Action of Southern Kentucky ($176,669), Murray Board of Education ($160,116) and Western Kentucky University ($53,573).