WLV Head Start makes adjustments due to pandemic

WLV Head Start makes adjustments due to pandemic

From the Las Vegas Optic

West Las Vegas Schools will soon hire two new “co-teachers” for its federally-funded school readiness program Head Start. The Board of Education unanimously approved the hirings during its regular meeting last Thursday.

Head Start program managers are also working to train current teachers on the use of Google Meet, a teleconferencing program that will be used by teachers and students attending school remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

John Bustos, the Head Start program director, told the board that laptops have already been provided to Head Start teachers, and once the Google Meet training has concluded, teachers will begin using Google Classroom, a web-based service designed for schools that is already in use widely across the district.

Bustos said he has made in-person visits with Head Start teachers to train them on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for operating safely during the pandemic, and that staff have been working to convert current classroom lesson plans into “scaled-down versions” that parents can use at home.

“Twice a week, teachers are coming in, creating packets of activities, and taking them out to the parents in the community,” Bustos said.

The board also heard concerns from Head Start program managers about low enrollment, which continues to be a challenge for the district. Currently, the district needs 19 more enrolled students in order to meet funding requirements.

Program officials noted that Head Start enrollment is a problem nationwide, and that partners have offered assistance, including a possible reduction in the income requirements for enrollment.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and an update on the district’s COVID-19 efforts was scheduled to take place early in the meeting; however, while the Optic requested access to the teleconference meeting at 5:55 p.m., access was not granted until 6:15 p.m., well after the COVID-19 update was scheduled to be presented.

The board later tabled formal action of the approval of modifications to a policy advisory on student attendance policies for online student attendance during the coronavirus pandemic, pending further review of the policy.