Merced County Office of Education is an educational leader in the central valley of California and a trusted community partner.
Each year more than 1,157 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are enrolled in one of four service options: part-day preschool (3.5 hours), school-day preschool (6.5 hours), full-day programs (10 hours), family childcare and home-based services and in partnerships with childcare centers. Their program provides the highest level of service to children and families. They have created a dynamic and cohesive environment that fosters commitment and supports continuous improvement.
In 2016, Merced County Office of Education Head Start program transitioned to using Frog Street’s Pre-K 2013 curriculum. As they learned the curriculum and increased their curriculum fidelity, they saw a positive impact on the child outcomes. Their Head Start children were advancing in all developmental levels and excelling with school readiness. In 2019 they saw an increase in the number of three-year-old children enrolled in their classroom. As they assessed the data, they saw a need to focus on adaptations and individualization for the mixed-age groups in their classroom. As a program, they identified that the three your old children were progressing at a lower rate than the four-year-old children. Their program needed a change to support the younger learners, mixed-age groups, and teachers.
"Our program takes pride in getting children ready to succeed in kindergarten. Head Start has 1,157 students from 0 to 5 years of age and a site in nearly every community across Merced County. As early childhood educators, we take great pride in the impact that we have on our children, families, and the community.“ - Educator
The education team went to the planning table to identify what changes would impact their child’s outcomes the most. The team identified that they needed an evidence-based curriculum that started in their Early Head Start program and would transition into their Head Start program. This was the perfect opportunity for their program to purchase a new curriculum. In July 2019, they purchased Frog Street Love & Learn for their Early Head Start Home-Based programs. The following year in July of 2021, they purchased Frog Street Infant, Toddler, and Threes curricula for their Early Head Start program. In July 2022, they transitioned their Head Start classroom to the Frog Street 2020 Dual Language curriculum.
Their program also placed emphasis on professional staff development to support the transition of a new curriculum. It was essential that staff were supported, empowered, and encouraged to embrace the transition. Staff are surveyed on what areas they need support, and large and small group training are developed based on the teacher’s needs.
- In the Spring, in all three domains, 55-69% were at or above age expectations.
- In the Spring, relative to the benchmarks, the area of Mathematics was the lowest domain.
- Relative to benchmarks, the area of Mathematics experienced the highest growth. In the Fall, we were below the benchmark and in the Spring, we were near the top benchmark.