Acelero Learning Clark County has been awarded $10.7 million in funding over a five-year period in order to add 84 new Early Head Start students to the program. The Acelero Learning Clark County (ALCC) delegate program operates eleven Head Start centers in Las Vegas, NV and the surrounding area, bringing world-class early childhood programming to many of the highest need communities in the state of Nevada. As ALCC staff work with low income families in these communities, they experience daily that the need for high quality infant and toddler care is overwhelming. In comparison, the Clark County School District has recently launched a wide-reaching Pre-K program, and Acelero’s own Head Start serves 1,606 three- to five-year-olds. But among infants and toddlers, for all but 458 children who are enrolled with Clark County’s sole EHS grantee, parents of low income infants and toddlers only have access to child care subsidy – and child care subsidy does not provide enough funding to ensure services that are up to Early Head Start quality standards.
Early Head Start is a vibrant and effective program for infants and toddlers serving more than 150,000 young children across the nation. The program offers comprehensive services to children and families, including early education, family engagement initiatives, health, mental health, nutrition and oral health services. Acelero Learning considers it imperative to meet the growing demand for high-quality infant/toddler care in Clark County.
In order to support this grant, ALCC has partnered with community parents, leaders, and key partners to expand high-quality Early Head Start services in four locations in Clark County. Acelero Learning is a multi-state service provider and has a proven track record of providing high-quality services to infants and toddlers in other areas throughout the country. This grant will allow the program to build on its strong presence in Clark County and existing EHS expertise to expand high quality infant and toddler care in some of the highest-need areas in the county.
Local and national leaders agreed on the importance of Acelero Learning’s expansion to serve additional low-income children. “Acelero Learning exemplifies Head Start and Early Head Start's role as the nation's laboratory for early childhood innovation,” said Yasmina Vinci, National Head Start Association (NHSA) Executive Director. “They are problem solvers, they have generated tremendous child outcome gains, and they recognize the need to expand infant and toddler options for low income children. I am delighted that they will be serving more children through Early Head Start expansion."
The grant will be supplemented with $620,000 in one-time start-up funds to support the purchase of new classroom supplies, infant/toddler playground setup, and costs related to licensing and required background checks for staff. The program is expected to bring 25 new jobs to the area.
The grant was awarded under the leadership of Michael Mitchell, new Executive Director of the ALCC program. Mr. Mitchell assumed the Executive Director role in January of 2017, succeeding Dr. Rory Sipp, who transitioned to Senior Vice President of Head Start at Acelero Learning. Both leaders are thrilled to bring forward this new expansion of services to the community. Dr. Sipp stated, "the new funding opportunity through Region IX Regional Office and the Office of Head Start will be instrumental in assisting our program establish birth to 5 quality programming for children and families. We have actively pursued additional funding opportunities and have patiently awaited the day we could become a “one stop shop” for our parents who have needed and deserved quality programming for their children of varying age groups.” Mr. Mitchell agrees: “This grant will allow Acelero Learning to operate multiple birth to age 5 centers in Clark County, which allows for continuity in the learning environment for students. These program options support the needs of families and students, and will be a new resource to the community. Considering the high percentage of children not enrolled in early childhood education programs in Nevada, this is an exciting move forward for our community. Furthermore, the creation of more jobs in the community will allow our community impact to be felt even more broadly.”
Parents and community members are also looking forward to the expansion. Policy chair and Head Start parent Amy Rucker added, “Families will have the benefit of attending EHS and HS in one safe location. At these schools they will receive structure and consistency to develop and to meet goals. This will be huge for our community.” Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson has also released a statement in support of the new grant: "As a proud Nevadan and Assemblyman in District 17, I know firsthand the dire need for quality pre-k programming our children and families face each day. I'm glad to support the work of Acelero Learning Clark County and celebrate in their success for receiving [this award] to provide holistic Early Head Start services to close to 100 infants, toddlers and their families in various locations throughout the cities of North Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Henderson."
Acelero’s newly expanded program offers a powerful set of services to Early Head Start families, including a unique approach to family engagement that extends classroom learning into the home in fun and age-appropriate ways, as well as a content-rich curriculum specifically designed for infants and toddlers. Acelero Learning programs have been nationally recognized for innovation and excellence, and this expansion will allow the program to bring those services to an even wider network of children and families in the area.
For additional information about this expansion and the Acelero Learning program, please contact the Acelero Learning Clark County offices at (702) 387-0179, or Mr. Mitchell directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.