The Ionia County Great Start Collaborative, EIGHTCAP, Inc. and the Ionia Intermediate School District have joined together and released the 2014-2015 preschool application for Head Start and the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP). The application is a multi-county application which includes residents of the Belding, Ionia, Lakewood, Portland, Palo and Saranac school districts. The application should be completed by any parent who wants to be considered for a free or low cost preschool program for their child.
Head Start and GSRP are income-based preschool programs and one application allows you to be considered for both. Children who will be 4 on or before October 1 would be age eligible for the Great Start Readiness Program and Head Start although Head Start will also consider placing children who are 3 by this date. The applications are available at all the elementary school districts in the county, the EIGHTCAP, Inc. office downtown Ionia, the Ionia ISD and online as well at ioniaisd.org or eightcap.net greatstartioniacounty.org. All applications are sent to EIGHTCAP Inc. first for consideration in Head Start; those that are not eligible for Head Start are forwarded to the Ionia ISD for processing for the GSRP program.
The application requests information about family size and income range. This is one of the first pieces of information that are considered for eligibility. If you are determined to be income-eligible based upon what you put on the application you will be asked to provide proof of income (ie. W2 forms or paystubs) for the enrollment process. Being as accurate as possible on this first step helps to assure that you will be given consideration for the opportunity. With respect to the Great Start Readiness Program the legislature often makes adjustments in the eligibility criteria every year which is typically not completed until July. For some families we will be able to clearly communicate that you are eligible, for others we may have to wait until we receive the final legislation before we can indicate whether or not you are able to participate in the program.
Securing the opportunity for your child to attend preschool is very important to get your child off to a great start in kindergarten. Currently there are GSRP programs available in every local district and Head Start programs available for children in 3 of the districts. Class lists are often not finalized until August, and the GSRP program does not typically start until the third week in September. For more information about enrolling in preschool within the Ionia County Intermediate School District you can call or email Denise Boyce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the EIGHT CAP, Inc. office at 616-754-9315 Ext. 3369.