State Senator Joe Uecker visited several schools in the area Monday morning. George Goddard, assistant division director for early care and education division for the Corporation For Ohio Appalachian Development, said there was a specific reason for Uecker to tour the facilities.
“We met with Senator Uecker in Columbus a while back and we were talking about Step Up to Quality, and what the race for quality means for programs,” Goddard said. “The senator expressed an interest in touring some child care programs while he was in Portsmouth, so today we have been visiting a few of the programs.”
The day began at Portsmouth West schools Head Start and public pre-school rooms. His next stop was Community Action of Scioto County’s Head Start program at the former Highland School in Portsmouth. The final stop is a One Star program.
“This is so he can kind of gauge the differences in quality, the differences in the types of programs, the ODE versus the ODJFS programs,” Goddard said.
Shortly after 11 a.m., Uecker visited with the children and officials at Heawd Start in Ports.
“I’m just impressed with the emotional involvement the teachers have and all the employees have with the job they’re doing here for the children,” Uecker told the Daily Times. “It’s really neat to see how they all just put everything into it for the kids.”
Uecker said he is visiting schools during the budget season to get a handle on the needs of the communities.
“We do have a lot of needs down here in this part of Ohio,” Uecker said. “It’s my job to make sure that story gets told back in Columbus and they’re doing a great job of helping me make that case.”
Goddard touted the work being done in this area.
“We know in Scioto County, in the programs we’re toured today, the folks are really focused on quality,” Goddard said. “Head Start, we know really supports children’s development.”
Head Start is a comprehensive child development program offering preschool children a program of education, medical, dental and nutrition services. Children and families are also offered social services though the program. All services are offered as a means to enhance the ability of low income children to successfully compete in the public school system.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.