Policy Council, Parent Leadership,
and Program Involvement

Skagit/Islands Head Start is funded to serve 445 children from 0-5 years of age and their families. 83 of these children are 0-3. We are located in 11 centers distributed over 3 counties (Skagit, Island and San Juan), including Burlington, Concrete, LaConner, Mount Vernon (4 sites), Oak Harbor (2 sites), San Juan, and Sedro-Woolley.

We administer services in a variety of models. We have full-day, full year services, extended day services for nine months and part-day services for nine months. We also have a home-based model for a large number of our 0-3 children and their families.

The families we serve are diverse. Approximations of the ethnic/racial diversity in our program is as follows: 47% are Caucasian; 38% of families are Hispanic (many with limited English skills), 8% are Native American, 4% are African-American, 3% Pacific Islander or other. The geography of the area we serve is varied, and impacts the curriculum as we work to reflect the cultures, lifestyles and livelihoods of the communities and families we serve. For example, Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island has a large military presence; many of our parents work in the service sector for the military retired military presence there. Friday Harbor center is located on San Juan Island, where there are a number of people who choose that location for the isolation and opportunity to live alternative lifestyles. Anacortes has a large blue-collar community affiliated with the oil refinery and maritime industries nearby.

Concrete serves many families who have been economically impacted by the downturns in the timber industry; many live in very rural and isolated poverty in this mountainous area. Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington have a strong agricultural and retail economy, with a large low-income Hispanic community representing several generations of residency in the Skagit Valley, as well as recent immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America, as well as Southwestern states in the United States. The Swinomish center is located on the Swinomish Indian Reservation; over half of the families served there are Native American.

Each center has a unique flavor that reflects the community it serves, the strengths of the staff at that center, the nature of collaborative relationships with local school districts and other community programs, and many other factors. The systems used at each center to deliver services to families and children, and to support community partnerships, are consistent throughout our program, but the personality of each center is reflected in their use of these systems.