Cherokee Nation unveils $40M plan to replace Head Start facilities | Education


Cherokee Nation unveils $40M plan to replace Head Start facilities

TAHLEQUAH – Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. on Sept. 14 announced “a major, historic investment” of $40 million into early childhood education.

“It commits $40 million to replacing our Head Start facilities,” Hoskin said. “The facilities are full of the best staff around. They administer a curriculum that is first class. The programming is regarded as among the best in the country. What we lack is first-class facilities to provide this instruction in.”

Hoskin signed the Verna D. Thompson Early Childhood Education Act of 2021 near current Head Start buildings just west of Sequoyah High School. As part of the act, the CN would also review, on a biennial basis, child care and early childhood education efforts.

“We’re going to look to the Council to consider this legislation and give us any further feedback,” Hoskin said. “We hope to see it approved on the (September) 26th at committee and full Council in October, and then we’ll get down to the business of designing and constructing the best facilities.”

The tribe’s seven aging Head Start buildings in Tahlequah are clustered together along a circular street near SHS.

“They began being used for Head Start purposes in 1991,” Hoskin said. “By then, they had already been serving as dorms for faculty for Sequoyah High School. We have gotten more than your normal use out of these buildings. They’re still functional buildings, but they don’t suit modern ways of educating students. We just need to upgrade and bring ourselves into modern times.”