After delay, Head Start facilities will open

Published 5:22 pm Friday, November 15, 2019

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Head Start will reopen facilities in Stanly, Montgomery and Moore counties the first week of December following a long delay.

Early Head Start for babies and toddlers will begin in January, with the older Head Start children returning in December, according to an email from Khari Garvin shared Tuesday with The Stanly News & Press. Garvin is the Head Start executive director for Save the Children, which took over Head Start earlier this year.

Save the Children is able to offer services to the three counties thanks to a roughly $4 million grant from the Office of Head Start, which is under the umbrella of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Garvin said.

Head Start students will go to the Davis Street location in Albemarle and to Norwood Elementary. Two locations each in Montgomery and Moore counties will also open, though according to The Pilot (Southern Pines), Moore previously had four Head Start locations.

“We are looking forward to our partnership (with Save the Children) and hope Stanly County children benefit from this national program,” Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said.

Only returning students will be accepted initially, according to the email.

“Program enrollment priority will be given to children and families who are returning from the previous program year,” the email states. “Remaining slots for PY 2019-20 will be extended to new families based on need.”

The delay in opening Head Start locations left families looking for other options.

“There was (some difficulty) at the beginning of the year, but most of those families were placed at other locations, so we were able to serve them,” Trina Plowman, an NC Pre-K Program support assistant with the Stanly County Partnership for Children, said Thursday. “It wasn’t many, and some families wanted to wait until Head Start reopened. They’ve been communicating with this information from the Save the Children organization.”

Save the Children acknowledged the frustrations in Tuesday’s email.

“We recognize that this has been a challenging period for children and families across the South Piedmont/Sandhills regions of North Carolina,” it said. “We thank you all for your patience and support during this transition. We have been able to hire an awesome group of early childhood education and family engagement practitioners who are excited about this opportunity to resume services for children and families.”

In an interview, Garvin said the start time, which was initially to be in November, was delayed because Save the Children had to renovate the Norwood facility. He said the organization also had to dissolve the lease agreement the city of Albemarle had with Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, the previous Head Start program. The new lease agreement between the city and Save the Children was signed Nov. 7, Garvin said. Save the Children is still waiting for facility licenses to operate both Stanly locations, but Garvin said it should be taken care of come December.

“The clouds are clearing away now and we will be in a much better place come the first week in December,” Garvin said.

He thanked James and the school system along with Albemarle city officials “for all they have done to help us get to this point to support our transition.”

Save the Children announced in August it was taking over the Head Start programs in Stanly, Montgomery and Moore counties. At that time, it planned to have spots for 324 children, with 220 for those ages 3 to 5 and 104 spots for infants and toddlers.

Save the Children took over the Head Start program from Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, which had run the program in all three counties for more than 25 years, according to the release.

“In consultation with Head Start, a decision was made that Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency (SRCAA) could better meet its mission of providing quality Head Start and Early Head Start services by refocusing its programming in Davidson and Rowan counties,” Rocky Cabagnot, executive director of SRCAA, said in the August release. “While that decision means that SRCAA is removing its operations from Stanly, Montgomery and Moore counties, we believe that these communities are in good hands with Save the Children. SRCAA is forever grateful for the opportunity to serve the children and families of Stanly, Montgomery and Moore Counties for all these years.”

The number listed for both the Albemarle and Norwood facilities on the Head Start locator rings until a message says the voice mailbox is full.

Families with questions regarding enrollment can call 704-207-5598 or email

Imari Scarbrough is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News and Press. Reporter Chris Miller contributed to this report.