Montebello Unified Awarded Five-Year Grant to Administer Head Start Program
After a rigorous and competitive application process, the Montebello Unified School District is among the first in Los Angeles County to obtain a five-year grant to administer its own Head Start/Early Learning Program.
The California Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded Montebello Unified with the $7.2 million grant, which became effective July 1.
Typically operated by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), the District will now have the opportunity to work directly with the Office of Head Start to provide comprehensive developmental services for low-income children who are pre-elementary school age.
“This is a major accomplishment for our District and it shows our commitment to offering a high-quality early education program that truly impacts the children of this community,” said Superintendent Cleve Pell. “It is our priority to give our students the best possible start in life by preparing them for success in elementary school and beyond.”
In previous years, LACOE had exclusively run Head Start Programs as a grantee, with grants lasting for indefinite periods of time. However, due to new federal regulations, potential providers, including MUSD, were able to compete with existing grantees for continued federal funding for their Head Start Programs.
In order to attain grantee status, MUSD underwent a rigorous application process and demonstrated a strong program plan to best serve its community. There will be 12 Head Start grantees throughout Los Angeles County, with MUSD being one of the first to assume that role.
“Being able to have control over how we provide these early learning programs to our young children will be critical to the success they have when they enroll in our schools,” Montebello Unified Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “We couldn’t be more pleased about this grant and we will use these funds to continue nurturing and supporting the intellectual and emotional growth of these young minds for years to come.”
The MUSD Head Start Program has 39 classes at 11 school sites in Bell Gardens, East Los Angeles, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Monterey Park.
“As a recipient of this grant, MUSD will work directly with the Office of Head Start so that we can continue providing a wide-range of exceptional services to the children and families in the MUSD Head Start Program,” said Aida Ramos, Assistant Director of the District’s Head Start/Early Learning Program.
It is offered at no cost for low-income families who either receive CalWorks or meet federal low-income guidelines. Children must also live in the Montebello Unified School District’s attendance area.