United Fund money goes toward iPads; Units to be used to track students' progress

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

By Melonie Roberts

Cassville Democrat

The Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation Head Start centers in Barry and Lawrence counties were recently awarded $5,200 from the Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund to purchase new iPad's to document children's work and to facilitate school readiness.

"These funds are critical, since Head Start requires OACAC to seek and obtain a minimum of 20 percent of the total funding from local sources," said Kimberly Shinn-Brown, OACAC Head Start Director. "These iPads will help teachers identify levels of functioning and open up new ways of learning that are hands on."

Centers to benefit from this award include two facilities in Monett, two in Aurora, and facilities in Butterfield, Cassville, Mt. Vernon and Shell Knob.

OACAC Head Start student Ashley Espinoza recently demonstrated making photos larger for her instructor, Ana Rosada, on an iPad recently obtained through a donation from the United Fund. The tablets will be used to help document student achievement, record when goals are accomplished and explore the world of science. Melonie Roberts/Cassville Democrat

"We're excited to have the iPad," said Bonnie Davidson, director of the Monett 1 Head Start on 15th Street. "We have gold standards to meet, and the iPad will help us track program observations, accomplishments, and help with documentation of those goals."

This grant will assist OACAC Head Start to reach two key goals.

The first goal is to increase the depth, breadth, accuracy and timeliness of documentation by giving teachers iPads to use in the classroom for real-time data collection while they interact with and

teach children.

The second goal is to use iPad technology to extend and expand learning taking place in classrooms.

Activities such as using Google Earth to help children make connections regarding geography, learning about the environment, using the iPad camera to take pictures on nature walks which can later be explored to help them recall their experiences, plus recording nature sounds to encourage children to attend and engage, solve problems, recall and make connections are possible using the device.

In addition, teachers plan to use the iPads to bring the school readiness experience to families by taking video of activities and sharing with families who do not have the opportunity to visit the classroom.

OACAC Head Start is an early childhood program for children from income-eligible families. The program is designed to provide high-quality educational experiences, health services, social service support and other opportunities for children and their families.

The Head Start program works closely with parents to help children gain the social competence, school readiness skills and confidence necessary to succeed in their preschool environment and later in school and life.

The ongoing partnership between OACAC Head Start and the Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund is a component in providing education for both children and parents.

For more information about this or other Head Start related initiatives, people may call OACAC's central office at 417-864-3430 or visit OAC.ac

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