HCHRA Head Start Posts Exceptional Gains in Literacy for 2017-2018

As three- and four-year-old students begin to return to Head Start classrooms for the new school year, HCHRA teachers are beaming with pride from last year’s results. According to newly released HCHRA data from the 2017-18 Head Start school year, HCHRA students showed a 19% gain in Star Literacy test scores.

Star Literacy scores represent how well a student understands concepts and possesses specific skills that are important in the development of reading. These scores represent a snapshot of where the student currently stands as it relates to literacy.

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, data showed that HCHRA had an average student score of 400.  A score of 300-487 places a child as an Early Emergent Reader.  Students in this category are beginning to understand that reading involves printed words and sentences, and that print flows from left to right and from top to bottom of the page. They are also beginning to identify colors, shapes, numbers and letters.

To ensure that each student was ready for kindergarten, HCHRA’s Head Start Program developed the “Early Literacy Race to 500” campaign. The goal of “Race to 500” was to ensure that HCHRA students transition from Early Emergent Reader to Late Emergent Reader.  Late Emergent Readers score 488-674. Students in this category identify most of the letters of the alphabet and can match most of the letters to their sounds. Students are also beginning to read picture books and familiar words around the home.

By the end of the school year, test results showed that HCHRA reached an average score of 476 among all four-year-old students tested.  “While short of our goal, I am proud to say that our Head Start staff delivered high-quality instruction and provided an excellent learning environment to ensure we saw exceptional gains in our students,” says Kenn Cockrell, president and CEO of HCHRA.  “We had multiple centers to surpass the 500 mark, and a few students even scored over 800 – a remarkable accomplishment.”

The gains came a year after HCHRA made curriculum changes and implemented evaluations that were better aligned with their curriculum. HCHRA also recognizes parents as the child’s first and best teacher.  To reinforce the learning that takes place in the classroom, HCHRA provides parents with at-home activities they can practice with their children to help them strengthen literacy skills until they return to the classroom.

Just last year, all Head Start programs across the state were wrongfully categorized as not having positive results in early literacy.  “When you group all students together, without considering income or opportunity, data is not properly analyzed, inaccurate generalizations are espoused, and programs are not fairly evaluated apart from the others,” said Cockrell.

Cockrell went on to explain that the teachers and staff at HCHRA are held to a high standard of accountability, which often surpasses federal requirements.  “In addition to ensuring that our education tools and methods produce results, we utilize measurement systems that ensure accountability and clearly communicate results to funders, community members and leaders throughout Hinds County.”

HCHRA operates 16 Head Start centers and satellite locations throughout Hinds County and has successfully run the Head Start program for more than 41 years.

Head Start Centers Closed Wednesday, January 17. Central Office and Neighborhood Services Centers Open at 10 a.m.

Due to the severe weather conditions in our area, all Hinds County Human Resource Agency Head Start Centers will be closed on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.  The centers will reopen on Thursday, and children may report to school at their usual time.

Central Office and all HCHRA Neighborhood Service Centers will open at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Should severe weather conditions persist throughout the day, HCHRA will post any updates or changes to Agency operations here on our website.  If no additional updates are posted, HCHRA offices will be open on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

All HCHRA Offices Closed Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Due to dangerous winter weather and road conditions, all HCHRA offices will be closed on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  Head Start Centers and HCHRA offices are scheduled to resume normal operations on Wednesday, January 17th.

If you had an appointment for assistance, we will make every effort to reschedule you within the next few days.  Please call 601.923.3950 to reschedule your appointment.

Conditions are favorable for ice formation on roads and bridges.  Authorities are encouraging everyone to stay off of the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary.

Head Start Centers Closed Tuesday, January 16. Central Office and Neighborhood Services Centers Open at 10 a.m.

Due to the threat of severe weather conditions in our area, all Hinds County Human Resource Agency Head Start Centers will be closed on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  The centers will reopen on Wednesday, and children may report to school at their usual time.

Central Office and all HCHRA Neighborhood Service Centers will open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Should severe weather conditions persist throughout the day, HCHRA will post any updates or changes to Agency operations here on our website.  If no additional updates are posted, HCHRA offices will be open on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

Willowood Developmental Center Head Start Classrooms Will Open on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Willowood Developmental Center Head Start classrooms will reopen on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  The center will remain closed until that time in anticipation of water pressure being restored to safe operating conditions.  The health and safety of our students and staff is very important to us, and we thank you for your patience as we have had to make adjustments during this challenging time.

As a reminder, don’t forget to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on Monday, January 15, 2018.  The King Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America.  On this day, we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence.  It is also a day of service all across the nation to help build the beloved community of King’s dream.


Still Doing Our Part

Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Head Start In-Service Training held on October 9, 2017 at the Jackson Convention Complex, led to another informative and engaging learning source for the staff of HCHRA. Professionalism, Accountability, Responsibility and Teamwork is what the acronym stands for in the theme “Together: Let’s Do Our PART”.

Workshop sessions included subjects on School Readiness, Digging Deeper: Looking Beyond Behaviors to Discover Meaning, Fair Labor Standards Act, and A Comprehensive Overview of the 2017 OHS Monitoring Protocol Process. Family and Community Services shared topics on An Overview of Community Action, Virtual ROMA, and Doing What Works – Performance Targeting. Early Head Start offered topics on Routines and Environment, Emotional Support & Self-Regulation, Facilitated Exploration and Exploration & Language Modeling.  There was also a session on CPR and Standard First Aid and Safety Training.







Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Quality Assurance Specialists, Kynetta Shinard and Verlillian Williams attended the In-Service workshops and gained valuable insight and knowledge they say they can readily apply during their monitoring assessments for each of the Head Start centers. Shinard was impressed with knowledge she acquired in the Family and Community Service session.   “I  learned what Community Action Agencies are, I received a better understanding of the utilization of virtual ROMA and I developed a better understanding of CSBG (Community Service Block Grant)”, said Ms. Shinard.

Ms. Williams added, “The teacher sensitivity portion of the Emotional Support & Self-Regulation session really engaged me. We learned how to recognize and use natural instincts to provide comfort and support to babies, and gained a greater understanding of how infants and toddlers communicate at a very early age.” Ms. Williams also learned a new acronym from the Emotional Support & Self-Regulation session concerning teacher sensitivity and it is “H.E.L.L.O.”

is to have a conversation

E  is to extend into thick questions

L  is to listen and ask questions

is to listen and expand

O  is to (always) offer new words

In-Service learning sessions continued on November 20, 2017 as HCHRA staff once again convened at the Convention Center.  Various topics in the November training from Children’s Services included Classroom Management for Head Start Classrooms, Breaking the CLASS Ceiling: Maximizing Outcomes in Instructional Support, Fun with Phonics, and FY 2018 Head Start Monitoring Protocols.  Facilities and Field Services sessions focused on Basic Hand Tools, Environmental Health and Safety Practices, and Maintaining a Clean and Safe Environment.  Family and Community Services encompassed COPA Training – Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment and Attendance Procedures (ERSEA), Family Goal Setting and Planning, and Virtual ROMA.  Nutrition Services offered sessions on Foodborne Illnesses, Cross Contamination, and Civil Rights.  Transportation Services workshops included topics on Defensive Driving, How Transportation Staff Promotes School Readiness through Effective Communication, and Bridging the Gap in Transportation Safety in Schools.  CPR and Standard First Aid and Safety Training was again offered as part of the In-Service workshop sessions.

In addition to training offered each month, Hinds County Human Resource Agency offers a minimum of one pre-service and four in-service training session for Head Start staff each school year.  This is part of the Agency’s ongoing commitment to ensure that staff is properly trained, and equipped with the knowledge and tools to provide the best possible environment for children and families who are a part of the Head Start program with HCHRA.


HCHRA Hosts Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recertification for Seniors and Citizens with Disabilities on March 24, 2016

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) will host its 2016 LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) Awareness Day for Seniors and Citizens with Disabilities on Thursday, March 24, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Jackson Medical Mall Community Meeting Room located at 350 Woodrow Wilson in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households with paying their home energy bills with special provisions made to serve homebound, elderly and citizens with disabilities.  LIHEAP helps to keep families safe and healthy by reducing the risk of problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices. In addition to bill payment assistance, the program also provides energy crisis assistance, weatherization and minor energy-related home repairs.

During the March 24th LIHEAP event, HCHRA case managers will be on-site to help Hinds County seniors and citizens with disabilities certify for LIHEAP assistance and learn more about the program and its benefits.  “Though HCHRA provides LIHEAP assistance to any household that meets the eligibility requirements, we created LIHEAP Awareness Day specifically for seniors and citizens with disabilities as a way to streamline the application process and improve delivery of services,” said HCHRA President and CEO Kenn Cockrell.  “HCHRA is very sensitive to the challenges of our aging populations and of those with limited mobility that may prevent them from visiting our central office,” said Cockrell.  “HCHRA organized this community outreach effort to make it more convenient for them to apply and become certified to receive services.”

Energy companies Entergy and Atmos will be in attendance to provide energy-saving tips, information about their services, and information on how to remain safe when trying to keep homes warm or cool in extreme temperatures.  Refreshments will be served.

Any senior and any citizen with a disability who lives in Hinds County and receives SSI, Social Security, or VA benefits from the government is encouraged to attend the 2016 LIHEAP Awareness Day.  All other Hinds County residents, including heads of households who have a senior or person with a disability living in their household, should contact HCHRA at 601-923-3950 to schedule an appointment at the Agency for case management.

Clients who were served by HCHRA in 2015 will need to bring their 2016 award letter from the government (or printout from Social Security Administration), proof of sources of income, and current copies of their energy-related utility bills (i.e., lights and gas).   Persons who have never been to HCHRA will need their 2016 award letter, proof of sources of income, current utility bills, as well as their birth certificate, Social Security card (or printout from Social Security Administration), and a government issued picture ID.

LIHEAP funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Division of Community Services, Mississippi Department of Human Services.  To qualify, applicants must meet income guidelines set by the state and federal government for LIHEAP assistance.  For additional information about the 2016 LIHEAP Awareness Day for Seniors and Citizens with Disabilities in Hinds County, or other community programs and services offered by HCHRA, call 601-923-3950.

Head Start School Closures Due to Hurricane Isaac

Hinds County Human Resource Agency is working in partnership with the Hinds County Department of Emergency Management to track our weather and keep you informed of the latest developments.

If the weather should become severe, be sure to check our website for up-to-date information on Hinds County Human Resource Agency office hours, access to our community programs and services, and Head Start Center closings.  You should also tune in to your local news stations for updates.

Make sure you are prepared for the threat of severe weather.  Check out helpful emergency preparedness tips provided by the Hinds County Department of Emergency Management.  The City of Jackson also encourages you to sign up for Code Red severe weather alerts on the City of Jackson’s website, and to call 311 to report and track any problems.

All Hinds County Project Head Start and Early Head Start Centers will be open on Friday, August 31, 2012, except Willowood Developmental Center Satellite Head Start Classroom. 

Preparations Underway For 2012 Annual Gala

HCHRA’s 18th Annual Gala to be Held on Friday, September 21, 2012

Hinds County Human Resource Agency (HCHRA) will host its 18th Annual Awards & Recognition Gala on Friday, September 21, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at the Jackson Marriott Hotel in downtown Jackson.  This year’s speaker is Dr. Jerry Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church.  Entertainment will be provided by “Amos B” – Saxophonist Extraordinaire.

This year marks a signficant milestone for HCHRA as we celebrate 35 years of providing quality education and community programs that have positively impacted the lives of thousands.  The Gala will help provide critical matching funds for several of our programs and gives us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals who have defied the odds and overcome challenging life circumstances.  We also recognize our community partners that work with us throughout the year to help eradicate poverty and provide a better life for more than 52,000 low-income citizens in Hinds County.  Tickets for this event are $50.00 per person. General donations are also welcome. For information on tickets or advertising, call (601) 923-1838.

At Hinds County Human Resource Agency, our goal is to help families and strengthen communities.  We have built a solid reputation in eradicating poverty by empowering disadvantaged Hinds County citizens to become self-reliant and realize their full potential.