LACOE’s Head Start Program Hosts a Congressional Visit

Wed Aug 30 11:21:00 PDT 2023

Congresswomen Michelle Steel visited a LACOE Head Start school site.

On Wednesday, August 23, 2023, Congresswoman Michelle Steel visited the Head Start classroom at Hawaiian Elementary School in Hawaiian Gardens. LACOE and ABCUSD warmly welcomed the Congresswoman, as well as Hawaiian Gardens City Council Members Dandy De Paula and Ernie Vargas, for the opportunity to witness the Head Start program in action. This visit follows Congresswoman Steel’s support of LACOE’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Career Development Initiative celebration on August 9.

“It was a pleasure to join the Hawaiian Gardens City Council and ABC Unified School District Board to see the great work of the Head Start program is doing there,” said Rep. Steel.

“The skills and resources offered to children and their families through Head Start provide students with the chance to fulfill their potential through a successful education.”

Arriving during outdoor play time, Congresswoman Steel immediately connected with the three- and four-year-old students, chatting and playing with cars under the shade of a tree. After the children calmly lined up, counted off in English and Spanish and returned to the classroom, the Congresswoman led them in a rousing interactive reading of the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. 

“Head Start gives students such an advantage as they transition to school,” said ABCUSD Superintendent Dr. Gina Zietlow. “We’re so proud of the robust program we offer to our students and their families, and I’m thankful that Congresswoman Steel took time to visit our site at Hawaiian Elementary School.” 

As the children prepared for nap time, Congresswoman Steel met with members of the Hawaiian Gardens City Council, ABCUSD and LACOE to discuss the value of the Head Start program to the school and local community as a strategy to close the opportunity gap and set children and families on a trajectory of success. Also highlighted were the importance of providing on-site mental health supports, especially in the wake of the pandemic, and the need to expand efforts like the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Career Development Initiative to overcome the educator shortage, improve conditions and opportunities for the early education workforce and enable more children and families to participate in the Head Start program. 

“We’re very grateful to Congresswoman Steel and City Council Members De Paula and Vargas for taking the time out of their busy schedules to see our Head Start program in action, and to the ABCUSD and Hawaiian Elementary team for hosting such a wonderful event. We look forward to our continued partnership serving children and families in greatest need,” said LACOE’s Head Start director, Luis Bautista.

Head Start class poses with Congresswoman Steel, Head Start staff and teachers