Weather Forecast


Mahube Head Start gets grant for 17-month project

Dan Gartrell speaks to Mahube staff about having healthier, happier students.

The already excellent teachers at Mahube Head Start are getting even better, thanks to an Early Learning Mentoring Project grant.

"The main reason we applied for the grant," Head Start Director Margaret Aho said, "the teachers whose skill level is up, it's difficult to find resources to move up and excel."

With the help of a $225,000 grant from the Financial Assistance Award for the Head Start American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Mahube Head Start will participate in a 17-month project.

It started last week with Dan Gartrell, a retired early childhood and elementary education professor from Bemidji State University, coming to Mahube and talking with staff.

Aho said there is the standard way of doing things, but there aren't enough opportunities to build on those standards.

"We're not able to work with those ideas," she said.

With this grant, though, there will be assistance in implementing ideas.

In the abstract for the grant, Mahube Community Council proposed to use the grant and training to improve the development and early learning of Head Start and Early Head Start Children; improve instructional outcomes; for mentees to form a relationship with their mentor that will lead to on-going and sustainable professional, supportive relationships; teaching staff will receive training and support to become mentors working with new staff, leading to sustained efforts of continually improving teacher skills.

That mentor forming the bonds will be Robin Soyring.

"I've been in the classroom for 20 years and I'll be building on that experience," she said.

"The key is Robin going out and forming a mentorship with teachers," Gartrell added.

Gartrell began the process Friday, speaking to Head Start teachers about having happier, healthier students; giving them the physical activity they need to succeed; providing emotional support, especially for kids with stress; and language activities.

"For us to have access to Dan, that level of expertise is huge," Aho said.

Gartrell has provided early childhood training in Germany, Mexico and 17 states throughout the United States.