HCS Head Start and NHSA: Lift the order or transfer the child to another center
  • Petitioned Staff

This petition was delivered to:

NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation
Staff
Executive Director
Yasmina Vinci
HCS Head Start Attorney, Kathleen Moore-Kocot
HCS Head Start
Staff
(ECLKC)
Executive Director
Janis Santos
Massachusetts Governor
President of the United States
Massachusetts State Senate
Massachusetts State House
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
Massachusetts-054
State Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera
Massachusetts-050
State Rep. Michael Finn
Massachusetts-055
State Rep. Benjamin Swan
Massachusetts-052
State Rep. Joseph Wagner
Massachusetts-005
State Sen. Donald Humason
Massachusetts-02
Rep. Jim McGovern

HCS Head Start and NHSA: Lift the order or transfer the child to another center

    1. Marcella Jayne
    2. Petition by

      Marcella Jayne

      holyoke, MA

For the past two years I have struggled to improve the educational quality of my daughter’s Head Start program. After numerous meetings that ultimately did not result in any tangible changes, I decided to make a Change.org petition. I was so frustrated with my daughter continually coming home with drawings on which her teachers had misspelled basic, one or two syllable words. On 10/23/12 while dropping off my daughter I noticed a sign on the classroom door that said "Oct 29 is pajama day. Please have your child wear their pajama on this day". I took a pen out of my pocket and partially corrected the sign. I added an "s" and wrote below it in parenthesis "plural". I should have also changed “their” to “his/her”.

When I returned to pick her up I noticed my correction was gone. The notice had been reprinted and posted but without any correction. Because on the bottom of the notice it read “Slate Room Teachers Carmen, Lisa, Minerva & Hilda” I assumed one of her teachers wrote it. The next morning when I went to drop off my daughter Yvette Collazo-Rodriguez, the “educational mentor” who had written the sign, confronted me about my correction. She was very aggressive. She insisted that her grammar was correct. I tried to explain her error by using the analogy of "pant" versus "pants" and I tried to explain that “pajama” is correctly used as an adjective, as in “pajama top”, “pajama party” and even “pajama day”, but that “pajamas” are the correct form of the noun. She would not listen. She told me it was rude to have written on her notice and rude to have talked to the teachers about it (though their names were written on the notice). I told her I understood how that could offend her, but asked her to consider my perspective. She then replied "Well what I put up is none of your business." I realized she was too angry to listen and the situation was too charged to have a productive conversation. I asked her if she would be willing to discuss the issue with some sort of facilitation by another Head Start employee. She said there was no need to do that and refused to meet with me. I felt very threatened and I am extremely uncomfortable having her around my daughter. When I asked the (current) site director, Leslie Barnish how to file a complaint, she said she did not know how and gave me a number for the main office.

Finally, I decided I had to start writing personal emails and letters to every elected official in the region in Western MA where HCS operates and there was a response. People cared. Elected officials were writing me back, meetings were being planned. I filed a complaint with the agency that accredits HCS Head Start. Things were picking up steam when I heard Yvette Collarzo-Rodriguez call me and my daughter dirty in Spanish. I filed a complaint.


Somehow this complaint resulted in me being “trespassed” from the premises. On 12/10/12 three women who I had never met and who introduced themselves by first name only, ambushed me while I was picking up my daughter. They told me that I was wrong and that I did not see Ivette say that and that one of my daughter’s teachers, Hilda Rivera had been monitoring my facebook and felt threatened by posts I had made about my frustrations with the program, so I would no longer be allowed on the premises and would have to find alternative ways of getting her to and from school. They know I am a single parent and the sole custodial guardian of my daughter. This is obviously retaliation for the “trouble” I have been giving them to improve the quality of their program and also a de facto termination without due process. They also gave me no written documentation of this “trespass” or the reasons for it. I asked what the appeals process is and they said there was none. As I was crying they had another staff member bring my daughter to me and even had the gall to try and make small talk with her. Worst of all when I called the next day to get the names of these women and their titles I was refused.

Their lawyer, as well as the HCS staff have refused to even give me the names of these three women or their job titles or any written statment explaing the legal implications and/or justifications for the "trespass". Furthemore when I went to the police station to check and see if indeed there was any sort of stay away order filed against me, I discovered there was not. The police advised me that I could continue to drop her off and pick her up. However, given the toxic nature of the program I do not feel it is a safe place for my daughter. HCS has refused to let us tranfer to another Head Start program provided by a different agency.

 

To:
Staff, NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation
Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director
HCS Head Start, HCS Head Start Attorney, Kathleen Moore-Kocot
(ECLKC), Staff
Janis Santos, Executive Director
Massachusetts Governor
President of the United States
Massachusetts State Senate
Massachusetts State House
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
State Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, Massachusetts-054
State Rep. Michael Finn, Massachusetts-050
State Rep. Benjamin Swan, Massachusetts-055
State Rep. Joseph Wagner, Massachusetts-052
State Sen. Donald Humason, Massachusetts-005
Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts-02
Lift the order or transfer the child to another center

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. President considers defunded head start in favor of universal preschools

      Marcella Jayne
      Petition Organizer
      The Road Forward: White House Assessing Major Preschool Plan

      Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama's education secretary, has a slogan that summarizes his tenure and the view of his mission that he shares with his boss. "Education is the civil rights issue of our generation," Duncan says.

    2. Pssible end of head Start in favor of universal preschool

      Marcella Jayne
      Petition Organizer
      The Road Forward: White House Assessing Major Preschool Plan

      Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama's education secretary, has a slogan that summarizes his tenure and the view of his mission that he shares with his boss. "Education is the civil rights issue of our generation," Duncan says.

    3. Decision-maker Benjamin Swan responds:

      Benjamin Swan

      Allow Ms. Jayne to have unrestricted access to the center in which her daughter is served, or allow her to transfer her daughter to another center.
      I have difficulty believing that Janis Santos is aware of this problem without correctin...


    4. Reached 100 signatures
    5. Daughter cries and begs not to go to school without her mom

      Marcella Jayne
      Petition Organizer

      Today my mom dropped Carmelina off at school. She didn't want to go she said "No. No. They were mean to my mommy. I want my mommy". These people are callous. Even if there was a legitimate reason to ban a parent from the center they should have done it in a way that would have mitigated the trauma for the child. Instead after yelling at me in a locked private room, another staff brought my daughter to me. She noticed I was crying and feeling horribly powerless and unsafe. To make matters worse I couldn't afford to keep her mom. I have finals this week.

    6. Reached 50 signatures
    7. Mission and Reality Disconnect

      Marcella Jayne
      Petition Organizer
      Head Start History

      Created for the 45th anniversary celebration of the National Head Start Association, this video documents the history of the Head Start program from it's inception to 2010. From Wikipedia: The Head Start Program is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.

    8. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Annie Sellers DILLON, SC
      • 8 months ago

      I worked at Whittaker Head Start in Little Rock SC and they are under PDCA Project Head Start in Florence SC I quit my job after a manager told me that I was not dressing professioanlly enough. I work there for 19 years and have a clean record where no complaint were every file in my personnel folder. They did not even try to find out what happened. I did not every have a exit interview or anything else. They have people in positions who are unprofessional and they do not even have degrees and trying to supervise others. I feel as if they need to change that and take a more active role in there centers and see if they are reasons why so many staff are leaving the jobs. They even had the nerve to the other employee that they could not talk to me which was okay with me. After all my years of service, they did not even care about what was happening on the center level. They just took the word of a center manager and believed her. I felt as though all my services to this job was in vain. They pretend that they care but at the end of the day they are not the type of people you want to oversee your children. I remember when they said that there was a mandate that all teachers would have to have a Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree by 2013, but PDCAA still have staff who do not have this and are still working for the agency. I feel that center mangers should also have some type of degree also but not in this agency. This agency is not doing what the federal government demands for a high quality program and it needs to be looked into by parents who are concern about the quality of services they are getting. After all these are the people who you entrust your children with

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Robert Underwood SPRINGFIELD, MA
      • over 1 year ago

      If I can learn Spanish, she can learn English

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • michaelann bewsee SPRINGFIELD, MA
      • over 1 year ago

      Why are poor people always made to feel like beggers abnd as if we do not have the right to quality services for ourselves and out children?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Marcella Jayne HOLYOKE, MA
      • over 1 year ago

      This is important because HCS is funded by both federal and state taxes. They have an obligation to serve the community they are funded to serve in a way that is both consistent with the law and Head Starts policies and principals.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • christian READER HOLYOKE, MA
      • over 1 year ago

      Transparency. Accountability.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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