Opp Head Start opens doors at new facility

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Opp Head Start officially opened the doors of its new facility this week.

The new facility – the former South Highlands Elementary School building – is no stranger to education in Opp.

Center Director Lisha Jackson said there was talk about Head Start utilizing the building since discussions began on a new Opp Elementary School building, which was completed in 2009.

“It’s much larger and nicer in comparison to what we had,” Jackson said, speaking of the former location on Hardin Street. “It’s definitely an improvement for the children.”

Jackson said with the new facility, they are licensed for more children; however, they are not federally funded for more children.

“We hope to get more funding in the future,” she said. “We are so excited and think this is a change for the better.”

There are 77 children currently enrolled in the Head Start program, Jackson said. There are four classes and each class has a teacher and an assistant, with about 12 people employed in all.

Jackson said that one change is that they now have two buildings – the former fourth grade hall for instruction and the cafeteria.

“It’s a lot of trial and error,” she said. “We welcome volunteers at all times since we are limited in funding.”

Head Start is a federally funded program for 3- to 5-year-old children from low-income families. The Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission operates the program.

Jackson said the children who attend Head Start receive free medical and dental care, have healthy meals and snacks and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting, while participating in a variety of educational activities.

In light of recent vandalism at the South Highlands Elementary School property, Jackson is encouraging residents to keep their eyes peeled.

“I’m thankful for the new facilities, but in light of recent vandalism, we ask the public to look for vandals and report anything suspicious to the Opp Police Department,” she said.

For more photos from Opp Head Start, click here.

Kailey and Daylan enjoy playing in the sand. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News