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History of our Agency

Head Start Nationally

The overall goal of Head Start is to promote the "social competence" of children and serve the neediest of the needy children and families in our communities. Social Competence means everyday effectiveness in dealing with both the present environment and later responsibilities in school and life.

Head Start, a comprehensive early childhood program for low-income children and their families, was funded in 1965 as a part of the War on Poverty. It grew out of the effort to break the cycle of poverty that existed at that time. The program began as a summer program, but soon, the experts evolved the programming to full year, part day. In 1970, parents expressed their strong desire to be meaningfully realized that the way to help young children to increase their competency, the program was expanded involved in the important decision of the program that affected their children. 

Head Start programs are guided to have quality programming as set forth by the Performance Standards as well as other policies that have emerged over its 57-year history. These standards and policies specify that Head Start programs must deliver a wide range of services to ensure comprehensive care including health, education, parent involvement, social services, and disability services. Additions to the governing regulations are found as part of the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, December 12, 2007.  The latest revisions of the Performance Standards were made in 2016.

Partnering - Staff and Families

The program is designed to maximize the strengths and unique experiences of each child and family. Parents are seen as the principle influence on their children's development and are direct participants and decision-makers in the program. Head Start staff, including the Director, the component coordinators and supervisors, the teaching staff, the home visitors, the family service workers, the health and disabilities staff, the secretaries, the kitchen aides and the bus drivers are expected to work together to support the spirit and philosophy of the Head Start program which is based on mutual respect, self-worth, and the provision of supportive and nurturing relationships.

Then and Now

Northern Panhandle Head Start Incorporated began services in 1967 and the grantee was a Community Action Agency. This grantee ceased to exist and the program was picked up by the state of West Virginia. Finally, on January 24, 1979, a single purpose Board of Director's was formed and the corporation of Northern Panhandle Head Start, Inc. began to receive the Head Start grants from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, and Region III as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
Our program’s strengths are many. Our staff of professionals from the early childhood educators, health care and social services staff, state certified bus drivers and management team, work together to provide quality services for children and their family members. The Board of Directors actively participates in program governance oversight. Partnerships are forged with local education and birth to three agencies for seamless transition of children.   Enhanced mental health services are provided for children and families by the The Village Network. Staff is engaged in advocacy efforts through participation on numerous community networking committees.   Parents are engaged in all aspects of programming and encouraged to assist with its design.  NPHS has served as a pilot program for several state and national Head Start initiatives.
NPHS Inc. received approval in 1999 to begin serving pregnant women and families with children ages birth to 3.  Home base groups were the first to be available in Brooke, Marshall and Wetzel Counties offering 48 enrollment slots.  In 2009, under the ARRA grants available, an additional 48 EHS enrollment slots became available for 24 children in center base services in Ohio County inclusive of a partnership with the YWCA Family Violence Prevention Program, 8 children in Hancock County through a home base option operated out of the Pipinos Head Start Center, 8 children of incarcerated parents who were incarcerated at the Northern Regional Jail Correctional Facility located in Marshall County - with services to include a 50 mile radius in the existing 5 county service area and 8 children in the southernmost part of Wetzel County in a home base capacity.  With the services for 96 in place, in early 2012, 20 more slots were available as a direct result of a Head Start conversion plan to Early Head Start.  Two home base groups were opened:  one in Ohio County to serve 10 and one additional home base in the Wetzel County in the southern most part to serve 10; thus, bringing the total funded enrollment to 116 and the Head Start enrollment from 513 to 486.  In December 2012, an additional conversion of Head Start slots to Early Head Start took place bringing the total EHS funded enrollment to 132 by adding 16 center base slots available to families in Marshall County for children ages 1-3 yrs old.  This conversion brought the Head Start funded enrollment from 486 to 452.  Refer to the current service area map for more details of locations and services available within the northern panhandle.

Volunteer Opportunities

Many opportunities are available in the Head Start program for an individual to enhance the lives of children. Professional, homemakers, grandparents, students of colleges or universities and Head Start parents support our programming by offering their expertise in learning to our children and their families.

Community Partnerships

We welcome individuals, professionals, civic groups, businesses, local organizations or others who may be interested in supporting the mission of our agency and enhance the lives of children and families we serve.