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The University of Alabama

Training by UA Professors Helps Head Start Program Win Recognition

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A Head Start program in Hale County that is the beneficiary of a grant to faculty at The University of Alabama has received recognition from a national organization.

At the 12th International PATHS Conference in Chicago, the Hale County Head Start center was recognized as a PATHS Model School. The Hale County Head Start is based in Sawyerville and overseen by Community Service Programs of West Alabama.

Several faculty members at UA received a grant from the Administration for Children and Families in the United States Health and Human Services Department that involved training Head Start preschool teachers in eight Alabama counties. The training prepared teachers to implement the Preschool PATHS Social Emotional Curriculum in Head Start classrooms for the past two years.

The UA faculty who lead this grant-funded project include Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, associate professor of psychiatry; Dr. Ansley Gilpin, assistant professor of psychology; and Dr. Jason DeCaro, associate professor of anthropology.

The PATHS curriculum promotes social and emotional competencies by reducing aggression and behavior problems in preschool through elementary school-aged children while enhancing the educational process in the classroom. This curriculum is designed for educators and counselors in a multiyear, universal prevention model. Although primarily focused on the school and classroom settings, information, materials and activities are also included for use with parents.

The PATHS model school recognition is an important international honor. It designates the Sawyerville Head Start center as one of a select number of locations that educators from the U.S. and other countries can visit to learn about the effective implementation of the curriculum.

“This recognition further enhances the partnership’s attainment of excellence in education for our children,” said Cynthia W. Burton, CSP executive director. “We are particularly proud that one of our Black Belt centers was the first Alabama Head Start program to achieve this national recognition.”

Community Service Programs of West Alabama Inc. is a private, nonprofit community action agency created by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The organization’s mission is to provide resources and services which resolve immediate needs and lead to long-term self-sufficiency for low-income and vulnerable populations. The agency uses public and private funding sources to develop and administer programs.  Collaborative participation with a diverse group  of organizations is a priority for the agency.


The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.