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Through an increased federal investment in quality for early childhood education, Council on Rural Services (CORS) is receiving an award of $915,794 for supplemental preschool grant. This is part of a $290 million nationwide expansion award announced by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (HHS).

Congress allocated the new funds as a down payment toward ensuring that nearly all preschool-age children in Head Start attend programs that operate full-time as announced in the new standards that must be fully met by 2021. These new Head Start standards place higher emphasis on a vision of evidence-based, data-driven and outcomes-focused services. These new standards are a significant and positive step forward for the future of Head Start and the success of the children and families later in life.

Within the new standards, all CORS Head Start funded centers must expand minimum teaching time to 1020 hours per year. The awarding of this grant enables Kids Learning Place to begin meeting this benchmark by converting the Head Start services in these most critical locations:

• Van Wert County will convert their existing part-day classrooms and now have two 6-hour full day Head Start classrooms with 40 child slots.
• Auglaize County in Wapakoneta will convert their existing part-day classrooms and now have two 6-hour full day Head Start classrooms with 40 child slots.
• Auglaize County in St. Mary’s will open two NEW 6-hour full day Head Start classrooms with 36 child slots.
• Logan County will re-open a Bellefontaine classroom and convert it to a full day Head Start classroom with 20 child slots.
• Darke County will increase the hours of their existing Union City classroom to include the full day standard of 1020 hours per year.

This grant includes funds to increase staff by approximately 22 positions and startup funds to fully equip the three new classrooms. All these full day classrooms will open in the fall of 2017.

All the above existing classrooms currently have awards for the highest recognition of “Five Stars” in Ohio’s “Step Up to Quality” program through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Dan Schwanitz, CEO at CORS said, “What CORS is most proud of is that for over 40 years we have been a leader in early childhood education in Ohio. We have a history of achieving outcomes for children both by supporting their health and learning and by enabling their families to achieve their own goals for education, employment, stability, and success. This additional funding will continue to expand these outcomes.” Kids Learning Place currently offers Head Start services to 1,364 children in their nine county service area through funds from HHS and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

“Last September we transitioned 589 children to kindergarten who are ready to learn, healthy, and developmentally on target,” said Liz Pfenning, Early Childhood Director. “They have self-help skills and can regulate their behaviors and feelings in-group settings. As important, their parents are involved in their schooling; they have the leadership skills and confidence to advocate for their child’s needs and to participate on parent committees. We here at CORS build lifelong learners in children and parents who set and achieve goals.”

For more information about the changes call our toll free number 1-866-627-4557 and talk with Liz Pfenning. Also, check our Web site at or “like” our Facebook page at

Council on Rural Services provides education and support through Kids Learning Place™, Head Start, Early Head Start, Gateway Youth Programs, and Achievement Center for Educational Success (ACES), in their nine county service area