Porter-Leath Recognized as a Program of Excellence by the National Head Start Association
Non Profits | November 27, 2023
Early Head Start Program Celebrates Five-year Accreditation

Early Head Start at Porter-Leath was one of 13 programs — out of 1,600 Head Start grantees nationally — designated as a 2023 Program of Excellence by the National Head Start Association. For the designation, Porter-Leath met 41 Indicators of Excellence, reflecting the organization’s commitment to provide quality services that respond to both the aspirations and needs of local children and families.

“We are honored to receive this five-year, national designation earned only by those Head Start and Early Head Start programs that consistently demonstrate excellence in program management and service performance. Undoubtedly, the hard work and commitment of our staff has enabled us to provide the best available early learning and comprehensive services to the youngest children of Memphis and their families,” said Porter-Leath’s Early Head Start Director and Tennessee Head Start Association President Sheronda Smith.

Porter-Leath has been a federal grantee of Early Head Start in Shelby County since 1999. Early Head Start at Porter-Leath serves 367 local children ages six weeks to three years through its center-based, home-based and prenatal services. The program fosters children's healthy development through early learning and social-emotional support, as well as providing health and nutrition services. Porter-Leath also partners with enrolled families through wrap-around services which offer caregivers the opportunity to set and meet goals for the betterment of their families through Early Head Start’s two generational model.

Porter-Leath has made more than $40M in improvements to early childhood facilities since 2016, including Early Head Start, to provide the safest learning environments for all children regardless of ZIP code or income level. In addition, the Shelby County Government provides vital matching funding to the federal grant which helps us ensure services are maximized so families and children are better prepared for school and life success.

Porter-Leath’s Early Head Start program quality is enhanced through our innovations and valued partnerships. Innovations like LENA and stacked services through Porter-Leath’s Books from Birth program have elevated early childhood literacy outcomes. Partnerships with child care operators have enhanced services to Head Start standards, providing higher levels of care for more children in Shelby County.

Porter-Leath is committed to workforce development by hiring, retaining and developing a professional, well-trained and well-compensated workforce. Our Teacher Excellence Program provides practice-based coaching to ensure each staff member receives data-informed coaching tailored to their individual needs. We offer Child Development Association (CDA) certification for entry level teachers and were recently awarded an AmeriCorps Seniors grant for training those 55+ for a second career in early childhood education. Through these partnerships Porter-Leath is able to broaden the pipeline for highly qualified early childhood educators of all ages. We offer all full-time employees a $15 minimum wage, professional development, peer-led social-emotional support, paid parental leave, tuition reimbursement and many other benefits.

About National Head Start Association
The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 840,000 children and families from systemically underserved populations, 250,000 staff, and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients.
About Porter-Leath
For over 170 years, Porter-Leath has been a primary resource for Memphis children and families. For more information about Early Head Start at Porter-Leath visit porterleath.org/early-head-start or call at 901-577-2500.


JustMy is about supporting LOCALS, check out these LOCAL area businesses and organizations! Everything you want to know about them is here! Like and Share TODAY! If you are a local business and would like a free listing with us, create your Digital Business Card today and we will share it with the community!