Head Start, Monroe County

Ballard leads Early Head Start in start-up

Janet Ballard had only been at SCCAP for about 6 weeks, and her time has already become a whirlwind of training and planning.

Ballard was named the new Early Head Start Education Coordinator in January, and most of the start-up of the new program has fallen to her.

Luckily, she has a strong background in both working directly with and managing the 0-3 age group. A long time Bloomington resident, she worked with the First Steps Early Intervention Program for 17 years before taking this new position. In that role, she said she often worked with Head Start director Shirley Stumpner and knew of her strong managing abilities.

She said her current duties in the start-up involve finding a space, hiring a staff and working out times for the new staff to do 6 weeks of training.

“Shirley’s there to help and guide along the way, as well as other people,” she said. “But it’s me.”

Ballard has also spent about two weeks in training, including a mandatory week-long training in Washington, D.C. for recipients of Early Head Start grants to make sure they meet the high standards of health and performance.

Once the program gets started, Ballard said her primary duties will be overseeing teachers and home visitors and making sure everything runs smoothly.

The program will have 54 slots altogether, with 24 at a center and 33 home based. Like Head Start, the program will provide child care with a curriculum for low-income children, but the age group will be from 0-3.

Ballard said one difference is that the age group requires a little more contact and care. They will also be able to visit and provide care to pregnant mothers.

Even so, Ballard said, the mission remains the same. The program will strive to help foster bonds and education, creating a partnership with families.

Early Head Start is starting up soon, with new teachers starting training March 22.

Ballard said her goal once the program is up and running is to get grants and become a great program that can serve as a model for others.

For now, though, the goal is to find a space.

“I feel like once we find a space, everything will fall into place,” Ballard said.

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