Centerburg Achieves 5-Star Rating

Centerburg Head Start wins state’s highest, Five-Star Award for Excellence in early care and education

In recognition of its high-quality early care and education program and its ongoing commitment to children, Centerburg Head Start has received Knox County’s second Five-Star “Step Up To Quality” Award from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services – Bureau of Child Care and Development, the state agency responsible for licensing and promoting high standards of Ohio’s child care centers.



Centerburg Head Start began in 2001, operating out of a community church. The center later moved to the former Centerburg High School building. The center currently services 19 children and families at this location. Ellie (McGovern) Hughes is the center manager and lead teacher.



“We applaud Centerburg Head Start employees for their commitment to children. By going above and beyond Ohio’s minimum licensing standards, educators give young children the opportunity to grow and develop in a stimulating, nurturing environment,” said Peg Tazewell, executive director for KCHS.



Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is Ohio’s quality rating and improvement system for licensed learning and development programs. SUTQ recognizes learning and development programs that exceed licensing health and safety standards. Program standards are organized into four domains: learning and development, staff qualifications and professional development, administrative and leadership practices, and family and community partnerships. By 2020, Ohio intends that all children served with public funds will be served in high-quality classrooms or family child care homes, defined as those environments rated at a Star Three or higher. For more information, visit



KCHS’s other centers are also rated through the SUTQ system: With five stars is the Gambier Child Care Center and Fredericktown; with four stars are Danville, Mount Vernon’s New Hope Early Education Center and Northgate. All centers will be applying for a five-star rating at annual renewal. Experts say these benchmarks improve the growth and development potential of children. The rating system gives parents a useful tool for selecting quality early childhood programs.



“My experience with KCHS has been amazing. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Marleigh truly was in some of the best hands in Knox County. The staff at Centerburg has been very helpful with so much more than just Marleigh and her school work. Ms. Ellie has been helpful to me on a personal level, helping me when I would have problems in my everyday life,” said Centerburg parent Erika Kinney. “Marleigh is well prepared for kindergarten this fall and I am sure her Head Start will show throughout her education. She has developed into a young person ready and wanting to learn all she can.”



Celebrating 50 years locally and nationally, the comprehensive services of the Head Start program model are recognized as a key element to improving children’s lifelong learning and success. In President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he called for more focus and dedicated work to ensure vulnerable children and families have access to high-quality care and education in their earliest years. The President’s FY’16 budget includes a commitment to expanding and strengthening child care and early education programs, Head Start specifically. Governor Kasich’s FY’16 budget proposal also includes expanded early education funding.



From a recent article that appeared on “Nobel-prize winning economist James Heckman has suggested that the social-emotional development cultivated by programs that focus on more than simply academic skills may be the true contributor to long-term impacts of the program, and health benefits ranging from decreased child mortality to adult health behaviors also make a difference over a life-span. But the true motivator behind children’s success through elementary school and beyond very likely is their parents. By helping families who are struggling with poverty and other socio-economic challenges achieve their goals for education, employment and housing, Head Start and programs like it play a transformative role for two generations together.”



KCHS serves 500 children and families throughout Knox County, providing comprehensive services including educational activities supporting children’s readiness for kindergarten, and attention to children’s health, social-emotional, dental and nutritional needs, along with supports for parents in promoting family self-sufficiency. Services are provided to pregnant moms, infants, toddlers, preschool-aged children, and school-aged children, funded through the Department of Health and Human Services – Administration for Children and Families Federal Head Start grants, with additional support from the United Way of Knox County and The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County.



For more information visit, like Knox County Head Start, Inc. on Facebook or call (740) 397-1344. Centerburg Head Start also has its own Facebook page.