UAMS Head Start Director Recognized at National Conference
Aug. 5, 2008 | University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Head Start/Early Head Start Program director Mary Kaye McKinney has earned some high praise for the program’s partnership with the Little Rock School District on behalf of economically disadvantaged children.
McKinney, along with Glenda Nugent of the Little Rock School District, was honored with an invitation to speak at the Yale University School of the 21st Century Conference on July 15 about collaboration between the UAMS Head Start Program and the Little Rock public schools, as well as other school districts in Pulaski County.
McKinney’s and Nugent’s presentation highlighted the ways in which the UAMS program cooperates with the Little Rock School District to ensure that preschool age children in need receive a variety of health care and child care services. Their work has earned the Head Start and school district programs the designation as a School of the 21st Century, which is an initiative of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University. Zigler is widely referred to as the father of the Head Start program, which was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
Zigler attended the presentation, asked several questions of McKinney and Nugent and was complimentary of their work.
UAMS operates all 22 Head Start/Early Head Start school sites in Pulaski County, serving 1,090 children ages 3-5 and 40 infants and toddlers. A grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation supports the partnership between the UAMS Head Start/Early Head Start and the Little Rock School District, which has 28 preschool sites and 1,350 4-year-old students.
“The whole purpose of the School of the 21st Century is helping schools learn how to be a community resource, promoting the optimum growth and development of children beginning at birth.” McKinney said. “And we are providing the children with wrap-around services like mental health, full health care, and helping with vision and hearing screenings.”
McKinney’s and Nugent’s presentation emphasized the keys to successful collaboration, such as good communication, unity and dedication on behalf of the children they serve.