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NEWS RELEASES 2007-08 :: FEBRUARY 13, 2008
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A team of practitioners representing England's national childcare program, called SureStart, will spend a week visiting Head Start programs across North Carolina in February. This historic cooperative exchange between two national comprehensive early childhood programs was orchestrated by the NC Head Start-State Collaboration Office (NC HSSCO) in conjunction with the NC Head Start Association (NCHSA). "We are honored to be working with our UK counterparts and look forward to escorting their delegation on visits to high quality Head Start centers in North Carolina, as well as learning about the SureStart program," said NC HSSCO Director Khari Garvin.

The team's focus is to gain greater understanding of best practices in early care and education as they relate to health and education services for children, partnership-building with families, serving children with special needs, and innovative strategies to blend funds from multiple streams of revenue. "The information sharing and relationship building that will take place is certain to strengthen both Head Start and SureStart," said NCHSA President Lacy Bell, Jr.

On Feb. 18, the SureStart team will begin a week-long itinerary of site visits to seven "Programs of Excellence" in five counties to include: Cabarrus County BOE Head Start, Community Action Opportunities Head Start, Four County Head Start, Kannapolis City Schools Head Start, Mountain Area Child and Family Center (Early Head Start), Tribal Child Care Head Start, and Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Inc. Head Start and Migrant Head Start. The featured sites are a cross-section of Head Start programs, serving diverse populations with an array of services and program models.

SureStart was created in the late 1990s by the British government and was modeled after the United States' Head Start program, which was created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" initiative. Head Start administers education, health, nutrition, and social services to low-income preschool children ages 3 to 5 and their families. Similarly, the Early Head Start program was later created to administer these same services to expectant mothers and very young children from birth to age 3.

"It is thrilling to see the seeds that were planted in the US over four decades ago now blossoming in the UK," said NCHSA Executive Director Michele Bare. "The development of the SureStart program is a true reflection of the success and quality of Head Start and its far reaching impact."

The HSSCO is part of the Office of School Readiness in the NC Department of Public Instruction and seeks to promote the coordination of Head Start services with other early childhood partners in the state's early care and education system. NCHSA is a non-profit organization that advocates on the state and national levels in support of early childhood and social issues that directly affect Head Start programs and the families they serve.

For more information about this event, please contact the NCDPI Communications division, 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.