Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Something You DON'T Want to Miss!

Sylvia Bougacha, HIPPY National Trainer

HIPPY provides parents with an opportunity for daily educational activities to do with their preschool children, to prepare them for success in school. While school readiness is our mission, we've also found that the experience of reading and playing together daily also strengthens the bonds between parents and their young children. As Sylvia tells us "it's something that you don't want to miss!". 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Spotlight Corpus Christi

The ESC Region 2 HIPPY Team and one proud state director in the middle :)

Nueces County (Corpus Christi) is one of our new communities this year, funded through MIECHV. This is our first program hosted by an Education Service Center (Region 2) and we're really excited about the resources, network, and visibility that comes with working with a Service Center. This first year they are serving 60 children, primarily within Corpus Christi, but also a few families in outlying areas. I had the wonderful opportunity to visit their site in January and was so impressed with how HIPPY fits into their early childhood education initiatives. One really neat thing they have going on is the Early Scholars Academy. It's a state of the art, hands on learning center, much like a high quality children's museum, that provides students with learning opportunities in topics such as oceans, community and living things. While most children experience the Academy through a school field trip our lucky HIPPY families will have the opportunity to have a parent and child field trip to this wonderful venue. I can't wait to see pictures!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


After 25 years of working in HIPPY I did something completely new to me! Our partners over at TexProtects invited the members of the Home Visiting Coalition to testify to the Texas Senate Finance Committee - yikes! Basically they wanted the Committee to hear what we do and the impact we have. I only had three minutes which was hard because I can get talky!!! So, here's what I came up with:

"Today you are hearing from several of us. You may be asking yourself, why home visiting? why so many different programs? As we all know, our early influences have a lifelong effect on us. Each of our home visiting programs fills a different need in the communities we serve. By working with parents, in their home, we can have an even greater impact than in a clinical or classroom setting. By doing home visits we meet parents where they are. Home visits allow us to serve the most difficult to reach and isolated parents. Home visits allow us to tailor services to the unique situation of the family. 

I am here to tell you about our program, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters. Our program focuses on school readiness and parent involvement. We serve 3, 4, and 5 year olds. In an early survey on our families, they owned on average ONE CHILDREN'S BOOK in their home. That means that most had no books, and a few had several books. Using our curriculum, children's books and common household materials, our participating parents learn how to read daily with their children, how to play educational games, and how to set up their home as a learning environment. 

Our home visitors are alumni from our program - they have worked with their own children and are now teaching other parents. Using a 30 week curriculum, parents are taught simple activities that will get their children ready for school. As a result, 91% of our children are ready for Kindergarten according to the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, and 95% are ready according to their Kindergarten teachers. We have tracked our children through high school. We find that early on, for example in 3rd grade, our native Spanish speaking students were able to successfully pass standardized tests in English at he same rate as native English speakers. By 9th grade, the grade with the highest drop out rate in Texas, our students stayed in school and later graduate from high school at a higher rate than students were had not been in the program. Throughout school, our students showed higher attendance rates than the average. All these factors, not only reflect their success in school, they reflect the lifelong influence that that early start has. 

Every parent can be taught the skills needed to prepare their own child for school. Every child deserves to walk into their k classroom ready to succeed. That's what we do."

So - if you really want to geek out - you can watch the entire testimony, including an adorable little boy from ECI who stole the show :). It's on this link, scroll down to January 31, 2013, my part starts at 4:38, but you need to see the little boy, he's way cuter!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Funding Partnership - HHSC

Carla Mowell (L), Texas HIPPY Director, with Mary Riggs (R), Manager of the Texas Home Visiting Program, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

We've been so fortunate in Texas to have received a substantial federal grant from Health and Human Services - for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, or MIECHV. And, it's been great to make new connections and friends at Texas Health and Human Services, such as Mary! MIECHV funding has brought more home visiting (and HIPPY!) into Dallas, Ector, Potter, Cherokee, Gregg, Nueces and Willacy/Hidalgo Counties. 2012-13 was a start up year with staff hired and trained and families recruited over the summer. Full operations began in August and programs are now well underway. It's been really interesting to see HIPPY implemented in a variety of different communities and organizational settings. Several of the new sites are being implemented by organizations that have focused primarily on families with special needs or mental health needs (Potter, Cherokee, Gregg, Willacy/Hidalgo). We also have an Education Service Center (Nueces) as well as a Head Start organization (Ector), and an expansion of an existing school district program (Dallas). Thanks to MIECHV funding, over 450 additional children will be served in Texas this school year!