Helping Families Ensure Their Children Enter School Ready to Learn

New Head Start Center Opens In Southwest Alachua County Providing Quality Early Learning Services to Residents


JACKSONVILLE, Fla., August 30, 2022 – The newest Episcopal Children’s Services Head Start Child Care Partner (CCP) center opened their doors yesterday to the residents of Newberry, Florida. I Rise Performing Kids Academy is now enrolling for Head Start services for children and families in Southwest Alachua County.

I Rise Performing Kids Academy held an open house on Friday, August 26 to allow families to tour the center, learn about the program and enroll their children for class. A parent attending the open house was eager to get her son enrolled at the center as the location of I Rise Performing Kids Academy is closer to home and better for her daily activities. “I live in Newberry, so when they told me they were opening a center in here, I said ‘good!’ I’ll transfer. It’s smaller and more engaged than other programs I’ve tried. Before this program, I was afraid he wasn’t getting what he needed so I’m glad this resource is available,” Kara Oyarvide commented.

“Every child deserves a strong start in life and expanding our services throughout Alachua County allows us to continue serve the children and families who are most vulnerable and in need of our programs,” said Chief Executive Officer Connie Stophel. “Our ongoing expansion of our services is a result of our ability to continually meet and exceed the rigorous Head Start Performance Standards for program design, development and delivery.”

For the past 25 years, ECS has provided high-quality, comprehensive Head Start and Early Head Start services to children, birth to five, pregnant women and their families. The Head Start program is designed to meet the needs of three and four-year olds in a classroom setting through the whole child approach helping children grown intellectually, emotionally and socially.

I Rise Performing Kids Academy is located at 24621 Doc Karelas Drive in Newberry, Florida. The center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and led by center manager, Jasmine Moore. Call 352-660-2013 for more information or log on to View additional photos from the first day and open house here.

About Episcopal Children’s Services

Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS) serves more than 53,000 children and their families in 14 counties in Florida. ECS offers School Readiness, Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Marion, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lake, Levy, Citrus and Alachua counties.

ECS uses research and best practices to help families ensure their children enter school ready to learn. Talented, dedicated teachers and staff work proactively with children from birth to age five and their families to build a strong educational foundation.