Tester Secures $2.8 Million For Confederated Salish and Kootenai Head Start Programs

$2,824,832 grant will help fund early education initiatives for kids in Indian Country

U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced today that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will receive more than $2.8 million to fund their Head Start and Early Head Start Programs which will provide education, health, and nutrition services to low-income children.

Every child deserves a chance at success, and Head Start often makes the difference for Montana kids,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Early childhood development provides students with a leg up and puts them on the path towards success. We owe our kids every opportunity to grow, learn and thrive—that’s what Head Start does.

The $2,824,832 grant provides CSKT with tools to support early education initiatives that specifically cater to the needs of Native American children, and Tester secured the funding through the Children and Families’ American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Grants Program. Head Start provides Pre-K preparation, daily meals, and advanced health screenings to children ages three through kindergarten. Early Head Start provides similar services to children under the age of three, in addition to social services like GED prep for parents and classrooms that are open 19 hours per day, seven days a week to ensure parents who work all hours can access quality affordable childcare.

As a former teacher and school board member, Tester has consistently fought for education initiatives in Indian Country. He recently reintroduced his Native Educator Support and Training (NEST) Act to recruit more Native American teachers and retain qualified educators in Indian Country and was instrumental in negotiating a budget deal that brought millions to Native American education programs earlier this year.

Tester has also been a champion for Head Start programs in Montana. Through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, he has secured grants for Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Eastern Montana, Ravalli County, Central Montana, and Bozeman, Butte, Billings, and Helena this year.