A memorandum of understanding between the city of Tucumcari and Eastern Plains C.A.A. Inc. Head Start program will ensure a continuity of services for local youths.
A program like this is a large help to the youth of the community, by giving them an early start on their educational development, said Doug Powers, city manager.
The memorandum allows the Head Start program to continue to operate out of the city's building located at 210 West Center Street, said Susan Zamora, Interim Head Start director.
Zamora said at the Center Street location there are 51 pre-school age children enrolled in the nine-month program, which teaches a developmentally approved curriculum. She said the staff that work with the children must meet degree and certification qualification before they are allowed to work with the children.
Zamora said along with educational development the children are provided with nutritious meals . She said the Head Start program serves five counties — Quay Guadalupe, DeBaca, Curry and Roosevelt — with a total of 429 children enrolled in the programs.
The children who have attended the Head Start program enter kindergarten having learned social skills, and the ability to recognize basic color, shapes, numbers and letters, said Tonya Hodges, Tucumcari Elementary Principal.
Hodges said there are students enrolled in pre-kindergarten class at the elementary and attend the Head Start Program. She said the developmental skills they learn at Head Start give the children a boost going in to kindergarten.
Hodges said in the past when a student attended kindergarten they were just learning social skills shapes and colors. She said now the students are coming in to kindergarten with reading and writing skills, and some of them able to write their own name.