History

1987–1989

A small group of Brattleboro community members were concerned about children who were not prepared for kindergarten. Their kitchen table discussions led to the creation of the beginning of Early Education Services (EES), an arm of the Brattleboro Town School District, which offered a home visiting program using the “Parents As Teachers” curriculum model for 45 children ages 0–5, under the leadership of Superintendent Ray McNulty and Executive Director Judy Jerald. Brattleboro Town funds to support the agency demonstrated the community’s commitment to families and children. EES is well received in the community and quickly becomes successful.

EES applies for and receives significant federal Child Care Development Program Even Start funds, and state funds to open its first infant toddler classroom (“ITC”) for eight children at Brattleboro Union High School, primarily serving teen parent families, and expand home visiting, bringing the total number of EES families to 120.

1994–1995

EES becomes designated as one of 17 Vermont Parent-Child Centers. Federal Welfare Reform Act mandates that parents seek employment or work toward attaining employment in order to receive VT “Reach-Up” Transitional Assistance benefits. Our designation as a Vermont PCC provides the opportunity to receive state Reach-Up funds to case manage teen parent families and provide a literacy program, Healthy Babies funds to promote children’s physical and emotional well-being and state funds for our Family Education Program and Families In Recovery for young mothers in recovery from substance abuse. EES becomes a federally funded Early Head Start Demonstration/Research site, in partnership with Harvard University. This expansion gives us the ability to serve 130 children and their families in centers and home visiting slots.

1997–1998

EES becomes an Interim Head Start Grantee and broadens services for preschoolers with Head Start centers at Esteyville School in Brattleboro and on Buck Drive in Westminster. EES receives Early Head Start expansion funds and opens a second full-day, full-year infant-toddler site with classrooms at 130 Birge St. in Brattleboro. There is increased county-wide town support for the expansion of our Parent-Child Center playgroups, Welcome Baby Program, Teddy Bear Teas and home visiting services.

Additional Early Head Start and funding from surrounding towns develops the opportunity to increase services to more Early Head Start children and all families in Windham County, serving a total of 270 families. EES participates in the development of childcare networks and partnerships in our communities.

1999–2007

EES becomes a permanent Head Start Grantee and accesses state childcare funds to renovate our Birge St. site and offer two full-day, full-year classrooms for children ages 3–5 and a third Early Head Start classroom. We partner with family childcare providers and community childcare centers to expand our early care and education capacity through our “Linking Families” program.

Head Start Brattleboro classrooms move from Esteyville (Elementary) School to Canal St. (Elementary); Canal Street School becomes an exclusive early education site.

Head Start opens a new classroom for 15 preschoolers at Putney Central Elementary School.

EES launches several new initiatives:

  • The Rockinghorse Project to support mothers in recovery
  • Dedicated Dads to support men who wish to become involved in their child(ren)’s lives as role model fathers
  • Tooth Tutor Project to provide an onsite dental hygienist to work with children and their families around dental assessments and needs
  • Federal Healthy Marriage (“Family Matters”) Initiative to promote increased communication and relationship building skills for families

The Infant-Child Guidance Clinic, funded by state mental health grants (Children’s Upstream Services) joins EES to provide onsite mental health services for young children and their families, and within two years this we are recognized for excellence in Vermont for this program.

EES hosts a community wide Mental Health Consortium to explore the mental health needs and resources for young children and their families with the goal of increased collaboration and communication amongst agencies
Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms become National Association for the Education of Young Children Accredited and Vermont 5 STAR rated.

EES opens Estey Dental Clinic in partnership with Dr. Yossri Karlis, in order to address the need for Medicaid patients who need dental care.

EES consults with Community Action of Brattleboro Area Inc. for the creation of an evening childcare program which opens in 2005.
EES now serves over 400 families.

2007–2017

EES experiences significant restructuring due to federal and state funding shifts and downsizing. Now serving approximately 300 families, we continue to focus on quality services for families in response to our ever challenging demographics and the needs of our families:

  • EES Executive Director and Child Development Manager are trained at the Brazelton Institute at Harvard Medical School to become Touchpoints certified trainers, and provided training for nearly 100 EES and community members
  • A fourth Early Head Start full-day, full-year classroom opens at 130 Birge St.
  • EES partners with Dr. Jared Rediske to offer monthly Saturday Dental Clinics for young children, offered at our Birge St. site
  • EES participates in the development of our local Building Bright Futures and Children’s Integrated Services Organizations
  • With funds from the National Fatherhood Institute, we host a community wide Fatherhood Summit for over 40 community members to highlight the importance of support for all fathers
  • We purchase and renovate facilities at 54 and 78 Buck Drive, Westminster to operate our Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms
  • 2013 Federal Sequestration cuts lead to the elimination of a Head Start partnership with family childcare providers and community based centers for a loss of 15 Head Start slots and 12 Early Head Start home-based slots, and five staff positions including one management position
  • 15 Early Head Start home-based slots are converted to 16 classroom-based full-day, full-year slots for two new infant-toddler classrooms in Westminster at 78 Buck Drive and a new EHS classroom at our Canal St. site
  • VT Agency of Education Act 166 funds are used to upgrade teacher salaries to better align with public schools’ teacher wages
  • EES provides college courses for teachers and other staff members
  • Behavior Support Specialists join EES, supported by Vermont’s Strengthening Families funds
  • Each Head Start classroom enrollment is reduced to 12 children with three teachers in order to better serve the rising number of children dealing with significant stress
  • Parent-Child Center Coordinator position is created in order to expand outreach services and increase EES visibility in all communities, especially the more remote towns in our service area
  • EES partners with Oak Grove Elementary to open a Pre–K Head Start classroom for 15 four year olds