Orange County Head Start Provides a Lasting Legacy of Impact for Children and Families
Tracy Guervil believes she would not be completing her final year of law school if it were not for Orange County Head Start. She credits the early-childhood education program with providing a safe, nurturing space for her children and allowing her to pursue her professional goals.
“Studying for the bar exam requires 12 hours of study, seven days a week, and with two small children that would be impossible if I didn’t have Head Start in my life,” asserted Guervil, who plans to graduate from FAMU Law School in the Spring of 2023. “In Head Start, I know my kids are well taken care of, and I see their growth as human beings every day.”
October is Head Start Awareness Month, and across the nation, the organization is celebrating the program’s historical roots, current impact and lasting legacy. Each year, more than 1,500 children enroll in Orange County’s 22 Head Start centers. Overseen by the County’s Community and Family Services Department, Orange County Head Start is consistently recognized by the Florida Head Start Association as one of Florida’s best early-childhood education programs.
Orange County Head Start consistently exceeds state and national developmental benchmarks, which include logic and reasoning, physical health and language literacy. More than 95 percent of Orange County Head Start students are designated as “Kindergarten Ready” upon completing the program, exceeding the national Head Start average of 85 percent.
With an eye continuously towards innovation, Orange County Head Start debuted Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-focused classrooms and purchased a series of electronic chalkboards – also known as Smartboards – earlier this year. In addition, the County provided nearly 200 new computers for its 22 centers.
In addition to top-notch educational programs, Orange County Head Start provides local children with a range of other resources and services. More than 70 percent of students received a medical exam and over half were given a dental exam in the last year.
“Caring, creativity and innovation are the hallmarks of a Head Start education,” said Sonya Hill, director of Orange County Head Start since 2016. “We will go above and beyond the call of duty for the children, parents and communities we serve. We strive for that every day.”
For more on Orange County Head Start, go to Early Education.