Each 10-hour session is staffed with 3 teachers who stagger their hours (one teacher may work from 7:30-3:30, another from 8:30-4:40, and yet another from 9:30-5:30) in order to provide coverage whenever it is needed. In addition, WCOP employs a "floating teacher" to provide breaks. The 8-hour sessions employ two teachers and usually have a volunteer who "covers" during break times. Most centers also have a "floater" on staff to fill in wherever necessary. The component staff regularly switch their hours from a.m. to p.m., to insure availability for early as well as late arriving and departing parents.
When the program first began, one of the most daunting challenges to providing full-day services was developing a method to treat all staff fairly vis a vis salary and benefits. Now, all staff employed by WCOP, both Head Start and non-Head Start, are paid according to one scale. All teachers also are provided the same training; and only teachers paid by the school districts have higher salaries. This does not appear to pose a problem, as school-based teachers are hired almost exclusively from Head Start programs. The successful and more experienced Head Start teachers have come to view these school-based positions as promotion possibilities.
The Head Start director feels that a lot of the success of her program can be attributed to the high quality of the staff. Unlike many communities, WCOP is able to attract many well educated, professionally trained staff who are willing and able to accept the low wages typically paid to early childhood workers.
Home visits are done in the evenings or on weekends, and teachers are provided compensatory time for these extra hours. Scheduling home visits continues to be a difficult issue for the grantee, however.