Joy Trejo is being honored as a Champion of Change for her commitment to delivering on the promise of Head Start in her community, helping to educate and care for our youngest, most vulnerable children.
As a Head Start Champion of Change, I am privileged to represent The Campagna Center, a non-profit organization in Alexandria, Virginia that has been involved with Head Start for over 45 years. Over those many years, the organization has endeavored to always meet the Head Start goal of helping young children living in poverty develop the skills needed to succeed in school and life. What makes Head Start unique amongst early childhood education and development programs is its comprehensive focus. Head Start has always recognized the importance of working with parents to address the needs of their children.
Our program is committed to not only meeting the educational needs of children, but making certain that attention to health, nutrition, social services, and mental health are included, and that these services are responsive to each family’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage. Campagna is proud of the many long-standing and strong partnerships that we have developed with entities such as the City of Alexandria, Alexandria City Public Schools, and other non-profit agencies in the area to help provide the resources and referrals so needed by our families to better their lives. These supports include parenting classes, English as Second Language classes, and job training, to name a few.
The 2007 reauthorization of Head Start included several provisions to strengthen the quality of Head Start programs that serve over one million children every year across the country and in US territories. I am keenly aware of how much the quality of early childhood education influences outcomes for each child. That’s why we embraced these changes to Head Start in the 2007 reauthorization of Head Start.
The Campagna Center has reaffirmed its commitment to providing the highest quality services possible to the families that we serve. As the Director, I aim to consistently go beyond meeting the requirements outlined in the program standards to enhance our program’s quality. For example, at Campagna we maintain the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s accreditation in our Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms; participate in the State of Virginia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS); provide rich professional development experiences to our staff, some of whom have been Head Start teachers with our program for more than 35 years; and demonstrate progress toward school readiness goals that not only align with state early learning standards but truly reflect what our locality expects from our children when entering Kindergarten.
We continue to measure our success by the progress our children make toward their goals throughout each year they are with us and also, by whether our families believe the work we are doing with them and their children is helping everyone progress toward a better life.
Joy Trejo is the Executive Director of the Campagna Center