What is Head Start?
Head Start is a federally funded child development program designed to provide comprehensive services to preschool children from low-income families.
Located at 1600 Rigsbee Drive, Plano ISD Head Start houses eight (8) developmentally appropriate Head Start classrooms. The program is governed by the Plano Independent School District and the Head Start Policy Council. The federal government provides funding. The District provides cash and in-kind services, including the facility maintenance and utilities. Federal law mandates that 20% of total funding must be received through in-kind donations from the school district and community.
To qualify for the program, families must meet income guidelines established yearly by the federal government. Current funding provides 146 places for children per year. At least 10% of the enrollment opportunities are reserved for children with disabilities. Children must be three years old on or before September 1st of the school year to enroll in the center-based program; however, the Plano ISD Head Start program’s priority is to enroll four-year-olds.
The Plano ISD Head Start program uses the High/Scope approach to implement the PISD Early Childhood Curriculum and the Head Start Child Outcomes. In addition to classroom responsibilities, Head Start education staff must adhere to Federal Performance Standards, which include scheduling at least two home visits and two parent conferences per year.
Head Start began nationwide as a summer program in 1965, with the Plano program opening that same year. The program’s ongoing goal is to be an exemplary Head Start program in Texas as well as nationwide. During the May, 2008 federal triennial review Plano ISD Head Start was awarded a gold certificate for 100% compliance of the federal performance standards.
Children and families in Head Start receive comprehensive services that include health, dental, nutrition, family wellness, education, disabilities, and family services as a part of the federal guidelines. These services are managed by Head Start staff managers who support parents in their independent pursuit of goals and objectives.
Through nurturing, encouraging and empowering experiences and opportunities, Plano ISD Head Start will provide students and families a quality education, health services, and skills to improve their quality of life.
Welcome families & community members to Plano ISD Head Start! My name is Dr. Denise Lohmiller. It is my pleasure to serve as your new principal and director for this outstanding organization. The long-standing history of Head Start in Plano ISD is what drives my motivation and commitment to you as I work to promote a safe, nurturing, and language rich learning environment for your children.
My professional background includes teaching in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, coaching teachers in early literacy primarily in pre-k through second grade. I have served as a literacy coach, reading specialist, and interned at Texas A& M, Commerce helping teach a Master’s course in early literacy. In addition, I worked as an elementary district literacy coordinator supporting the implementation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Most recently, I have served as an elementary assistant principal, gaining a wealth of experience in supporting the social emotional health of children and families.
After receiving my Bachelor’s degree from Texas Woman’s University, I pursued my Master’s in reading from The University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. I went on to obtain my administrator certification from Lamar University, alongside securing a Doctorate of Education from Texas A & M, Commerce in the Supervision of Curriculum and Assessment with another emphasis in reading.
It is my ultimate goal to support the staff in preparing your children for entry into kindergarten. It is my core belief that every decision made at Head Start centers around what is best for children and our school. Waking up every morning is a blessing knowing that I get to come to a place where we love serving, set our expectations high, and never lose sight of what really matters...the children of our future!
Please join us on our journey as we create empowering experiences for our students and families. You can follow us on social media: