The Stark County Early Childhood Collaborative Initiative in Stark County, Ohio, focuses on using educational collaboration to engage young children as active learners and to more actively involve parents and families in their children's educational processes. The Initiative provides services and programs to children, ages three to eight, including disadvantaged children and children with special needs. The core of the initiative is seven cooperative early childhood education sites, each of which involves community-based services and agencies in planning and delivering programs to young children and families. Two major goals of the Stark County Program are to develop a collaborative planning process for Early Childhood Programs and to develop a primary model that includes transitioning, staff development, parent involvement, technology, appropriate assessment, and the utilization of community linkages. The program sites build upon the neighborhood resources within the community. The Stark County Programs include collaboration with 12 school districts, County Health Department, YMCA, private child care centers, local universities, libraries, Head Start and the Mental Health Board.
The Stark County Initiative is also inclusive of a larger county-wide effort that supports parent involvement and family literacy. Stark County Schools and Canton City Schools in cooperation with Head Start are designing organizational structures that support parent volunteers, community services, program and instructional technology, and transitional services to meet individual family needs. The primary building sites will develop wrap-around services that deliver a wide and community based range of services to young children and families. In addition to educational programs, Stark County is a pilot site for the Governor's Family and Children's First Initiative which is to develop a county plan that integrates the services of social service agencies and various educational programs.
Funding sources for the Stark County Initiative include Ohio Department of Education, Federal Entitlement monies, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, East Ohio Gas Company, the Environmental Protection Agency, and local in-kind contributions. The increased use of co-mingled funds allows for quality program expansion and services in the county school systems.
Posted on March 23, 1995