Zsa Zsa Heard, CEO of the City of LaGrange Housing Authority, visited the Hogansville City Council Monday night to discuss her application for a Head Start program.
Head Start programs promote school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families across the country.
“We found it fitting to bring it back and put Head Start in Troup County, not just LaGrange but Hogansville and West Point too,” Heard said. “We should be in line with the school system. We should be in line for when our children leave Head Start and go right into our school system, and they perform and do well.”
Heard said she has been asked why the housing authority is applying for the program to come back to the area. Her answer was why shouldn’t they?
“We are already doing great things,” Heard said. “We have an after-school program, where we are tutoring students, and thanks to LaGrange College we are able to do that. We want to run a Head Start program and be efficient in that.”
Going further, the housing authority plans to hire certified teachers to help run the program.
In its application for the program, Heard said they are now looking for innovation.
“They’re no longer looking for the ABCs, 123s, but for things that are innovative to keep it so that we are recognizing talent early,” Heard said.
Recently, the housing authority was designated as a hub for an EnVision Center that provides services to support economic, educational, health and character advancement.
“We already provide transportation and created our own transportation system, where we provide transportation throughout the community, not just for the housing authority,” Heard said.>
“Now, we can transport our Head Start residents in West Point, Hogansville and in LaGrange.”
The mayors from each city of Troup County recently met to discuss the logistics of the program with the housing authority.
“We discussed with them how important is to find a location at home [in each city] and where would a building or good school site be that we could actually host the students on site,” Heard said. “We want them at home so they don’t have to travel [far].”
Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said during the meeting all the mayors saw the tremendous need for the program.
“We all see the desperate need to have early childhood education,” Stankiewicz said.
“It is the biggest determining factor on how well that child succeeds. Not what happens in kindergarten but what happens way before then.”