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whatwedo-boyHere at the South Carolina State Head Start Association, we work to help South Carolina children prepare for success in school–and in life. We focus in the earliest years in children’s lives, and strive to help their most important teachers–parents–and others who care for and teach them. The Association represents the 23 Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant and Indian Nation agencies in the state that provide services to over 13,000 low-income pre-school children from birth through five years old.

Our vision: Our vision is to be the voice for children and their families in South Carolina. We strive to build first-class learning opportunities that are developmentally and culturally relevant for all South Carolina children, so that each child will begin school with the fundamentals needed for success. Our mission: The SCSHSA is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families in South Carolina. We provide leadership, support and advocacy for the needs of children, families, and educators, and serve as the catalyst for Head Start programs across the state. Our goals:
  1. To serve as an advocate for the maintenance and improvement of Head Start Programs in South Carolina.
  2. To collaborate with state agencies in addressing actions that impact upon the operations of Head Start programs.
  3. Develop liaisons with other organizations where efforts are consistent with the purpose of the South Carolina State Head Start Association.
  4. Access training needs and provide training to ensure higher quality services to children and their families.
What we do:
  • We assist Head Start programs in meeting federal and state mandates in a cohesive and coordinated effort.
  • We collaborate with others and create new knowledge on children and families, disseminate this information, and serve as a single port of entry and melting pot for program information on Head Start.
  • We serve as a state forum through which Head Start staff, parents, friends and directors receive and act upon information to be used for professional, statiscal and technical assistance concerning child and family development.
  • We provide professional development & staff/parent scholarships and enhance training & technical assistance opportunities for local programs.
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What is Head Start?

Head Start is a free Federal program for preschool children from low-income families, from birth to age 5. It is operated by local non-profit organizations, and prepares children for school by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Children who attend Head Start participate in fun, educational activities. They also receive free medical and dental care, have healthy meals and snacks, and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting. Parents are actively encouraged to participate in all aspects of the program. They help make decisions, plan what children learn, and offer advice about services. Parents (and other community members) are also encouraged to volunteer in classrooms and other parts of the program.

History of Head Start

Head Start was created in 1965 as a catch-up summer school program that would prepare low-income children for elementary school. The program was expanded in 1981 and again in 2007. Over a million children are served by Head Start programs every year, including children in every U.S. state and territory and in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. Since 1965, nearly 30 million low-income children and their families have received these comprehensive services to increase their school readiness.

Our Organization

The South Carolina State Head Start Association, Inc. (SCSHSA) is a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is dedicated exclusively to meeting the needs of Head Start children and families in South Carolina. SCSHSA represents the 23 Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant, and Indian Nation agencies in the state of South Carolina that provides these services to over 13,000 low-income preschool children and their families, from birth through five years old. The SCSHSA includes several standing committees, and is governed by elected officers and an Executive Committee. The Association meets four times each year at our office in Columbia, SC. Please contact us for more information.

Meet our Team

Ms. Evelyn Patterson
Ms. Evelyn PattersonPresident

Evelyn Patterson serves as the Head Start Director for the Darlington County CAA and as President of the SC State Association. Born and raised in Rock Hill, Evelyn attended Head Start as a preschooler at Carolina Community Action Agency in Rock Hill, SC, and holds BS and MS degrees from SC State University.

Motto: Always do your best and the best will come back to you.

Sarah Simmons
Sarah SimmonsVice President
Shadie Hall
Shadie HallSecretary
Rene Blanton
Rene BlantonTreasurer
Jerome Thompson
Jerome ThompsonParliamentarian