Harris County seeks public input as officials look to improve early childhood development

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at a State of the County address in November. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at a State of the County address in November. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at a State of the County address in November. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)

As Harris County officials embark on a new effort to improve access to early childhood development programs within the county, Judge Lina Hidalgo has announced the first of several "listening sessions" that will be used to gather input from residents.

In a Feb. 5 press release, Hidalgo's office announced the first session will take place from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Drive, Houston. The county also launched a new website where residents can learn about the initiative and how to contribute feedback.

"Right now, we’re in the early stages of planning this new initiative and would like to build the county’s vision alongside the families, practitioners and other stakeholders who think about early childhood development every day," Hidalgo said in a statement. "We urge anyone interested in shaping the future of Harris County to join us.”

Hidalgo first made public her plans to explore early childhood education at the annual State of the County address Nov. 15. At the time, she said she spent part of 2019 meeting with early childhood experts before deciding to make early childhood education a major focus for 2020.

Both during her State of the County address and in the Feb. 5 announcement, Hidalgo connected early childhood education to the likelihood of children succeeding later on in their education and career lives.


“If you think about the best public programs that a government could enact, you can’t look any farther than early childhood development," she said in her Nov. 15 address. "It’s just about the gold star of something a government can do for its community.”

In the recent announcement, Harris County cited the Perry Preschool Project, which started in 1962 and followed 123 preschool students over the course of 40 years. The study found students who had access to high-quality early childhood education had higher rates of graduation and employment as well as fewer interactions with the criminal justice system.

Details on what kinds of investments Harris County could make in the realm of early childhood education or what actions the county will support are to be determined. Residents can sign up online to receive updates on future listening sessions.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

ESD 11 officials said the Ford F-450 Extra Cab vehicles are built with the safety of patients and crew in mind. (Courtesy Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11)
Harris County's ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare receives first of 40 new ambulances

ESD 11 will continue to receive shipments of four to five new ambulances every week until all have been received.

Venterra Realty will be breaking ground on a new apartment complex in Cy-Fair. (Rendering courtesy Venterra Realty)
New apartment complex announced in Cypress

The project will feature an 8,600-square-foot clubhouse, a resort-style pool, an outdoor lounge, a fitness center and a yoga/spin room.

Wrestling Collector Shop is now open in Cy-Fair. (Courtesy Wrestling Collector Shop)
Wrestling Collector Shop now open in Cy-Fair

The wrestling shop sells new and limited-edition WWE action figures.

Menu items at Adriatic Cafe include pasta, pizzas, calzones, seafood and other Italian classics. Adriatic Cafe Italian Grill (Courtesy Adriatic Cafe)
Adriatic Cafe temporarily closes Jersey Village location after fire

The restaurant will be closed until further notice as renovations take place.

In July 2021, Montgomery County recorded 367 cases of COVID-19 in children under 12, the second-most in 2021 and over five times higher than the number in June (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County records increase in COVID-19 cases in children under 12

The county saw the second straight week of active cases increasing by over 1,000. COVID-19 hospitalization reached 12.4% of total hospital capacity.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Testing positivity rate continues to climb, surpassing 11%

Between July 26 and Aug. 1, an average of 11.5% of patients tested positive for COVID-19.

Bastion Martial Arts is set to open in late August. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Bastion Martial Arts coming soon to Cy-Fair

The martial arts academy offers programs for all ages and helps improve flexibility, physical strength, confidence and self-discipline.

Mahesh's Kitchen, an upscale Indian restaurant, is preparing to open in Sugar Land Town Square near the end of August. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Upscale Indian restaurant coming to Sugar Land; Freebirds Tex-Mex to open in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area, including that E-bikes will not be permitted on The Woodlands Township pathways.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

From 9 p.m. July 30 until 5 a.m. Aug. 1, traffic going northbound from Franklin St. to Hogan/Crockett St. will be diverted to I-10. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Section of I-45 to be closed this weekend due to bridge maintenance

From 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Sunday, traffic going northbound from Franklin St. to Hogan/Crockett St. will be diverted to I-10.

Construction in the new Dunham Pointe master-planned community is underway. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Development, vaccines and high-speed rail: These were the 8 most read Cy-Fair news stories in July

ICMYI: These were the most popular local news stories on our website this month.

Urban Bird Hot Chicken is coming soon to the Cy-Fair area. (Courtesy Urban Bird Hot Chicken)
Here are the top 5 Cy-Fair restaurant announcements from July

Several restaurant announcements were made throughout July in Cy-Fair.