When Tristan’s parents brought him to Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action Commission for Head Start pre-school classes he was three years old and the staff was unable to understand one word that he tried to speak. He was administered the National Reporting System (NRS) Assessment Test, which is a standardized assessment for Head Start students instituted by the federal government to demonstrate a child’s understanding of certain words, to identify letters, recognize geometric shapes and solve simple addition and subtraction problems. Tristan failed the picture naming test because the staff could not understand him. Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland had him tested and he qualified for speech therapy. Together, the speech therapist and Head Start staff would prepare Tristan for kindergarten.

Tristan’s speech therapy began right away and by the middle of his first year, the staff began to understand him and realized he was an intelligent little guy. He continued with his speech therapy for that school year and the next school year. At that time he was age-eligible for kindergarten, but his parents decided to send him to Head Start for one more year.

Tristan excelled in his third year of Head Start, learning every letter and their sounds and counting to 100. He was ready to move on to kindergarten. After the first parent-teacher conference, Tristan’s mom came back to tell the Head Start staff what his teacher had said. The teacher had told her that in all her years of teaching, she had never had a student so well prepared to start kindergarten. She also said that he was at the top of his class in all subjects and was reading at a very high level. Tristan’s mom told the teacher that it was thanks to his Head Start teachers at Kno-Ho-Co-Ashland Community Action Commission.

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