top of page

About us


Our Mission

To provide comprehensive, integrated, strength based support services that promote a culturally relevant approach that will empower families to become competent and self sufficient, in order to help their children become socially responsible and academically ready to successfully meet the challenges of school and work.

What is Head Start?


Head Start was founded in 1965 as a pilot Summer Camp initiative for disadvantaged

economic populations.  Over fifty four years later, Head Start remains committed to

serving culturally diverse and linguistic population of students. As a result, Head Start is the model pre-school program across the nation.

Union Baptist Harvey Johnson Head Start was founded in 1968, under the leadership of

Rev. Vernon N. Dobson. We currently serve 214, three, four, and five year old children in

the Upton Community. ​The staff works as a team and we operate our program with the belief in something greater than ourselves. As one of the pioneering programs in Baltimore City, we continue to strive for excellence in our holistic approach to child development, family involvement, and community partnerships, and were recently recognized for our visionary work and strategic planning by Head Start Body Start.

The Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start is accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education and is a nationally recognized, federally funded program which provides a comprehensive range of early childhood development services for pre-school children and full wrap around services for families. Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start primarily services children from low-income families and children with disabilities and has been in operation in the Upton Community since the summer of 1966.  In 1970, the program was expanded from a summer to a full year program. During Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start’s fifty-three (53) years of service, it has served 11,000 children.

Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start is privileged to be under the auspices of the Union Baptist Church whose congregation, under the leadership of Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, raised over two million dollars ($ 2,000,000) in the mid 90’s to build a state of the art facility for pre-school children and their families.  It is the first church in the city to undertake such a task.

Program Design


Enrollment of 175 children

There are 10 classrooms.

The average class size is 17.

Classes are mixed ages 3-4 yr olds

Academic Advantages of a Union Baptist Head Start Education

∞ #1 among Baltimore City Head Starts in getting children “Fully Ready”for kindergarten.

∞ Individualized instruction and small class sizes

∞ Each child has an individual plan tailored just for them and it is updated 4 times a year.

∞ Classrooms have an average ratio of 8:1, with every classroom having 2-4 adults.

Qualified and Experienced Child and Family Development Staff


Family Service Coordinators with degree in Human Services.

Education Coordinator -degreed in Early Childhood Education with nearly 35 years of combined classroom experience.

Developmentally appropriate mix of LEARNING with a rest period necessary for proper growth and development of the pre-school age mind and body.

Our children grow in the areas of:

∞ critical thinking 

∞ pre-reading skills ​

∞ number recognition and beginning math concepts

∞ scientific observation 

∞ dramatic play ​

∞ self-help, independence and conflict resolution

∞ sight words   

∞ music 

∞ name recognition and letter writing

∞ gross &fine motor development

∞ social skills – sharing, cooperation, communication and leadership


Volunteer participation varies from parents/guardians, students, collaborative partners, service providers, businesses, community organization, and community leaders.


A Few Community Partnerships

Breathmobile – mobile allergy and asthma clinic that visits monthly and services our children, educate parents and participate on our Health Services Advisory Committee

Maryland Therapy Network – provides on-site speech and language evaluations and therapy to those who are not served by Baltimore City Public Schools

Promise Heights – Promise Neighborhoods initiative and collaborative of community agencies to improve the quality of life, outcomes, and services to residents of Upton

Read For Health – literacy and nutrition education curriculum and food exposure

Ready at Five – VIOLETS initiative to develop pre-reading skills and increase vocabulary; provides materials, technical assistance, evaluation and feedback to staff

STEAM InVentures – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics program for parents and children and staff education and technical assistance lead by an OSI Fellow

University of Maryland Baltimore County – placement site for student teacher interns

University of Maryland School of Nursing – clinical site for students 2 semesters annually who provide education for children, parents, case management for families, health advocacy, medical services to children, technical expertise and support to Health Coordinator on identified projects to ensure program compliance, and participate on Health Services Advisory Committee

WIC – nutrition services for mothers and children

Recent Accomplishments of Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start:

  1. The first established Head Start Program in Baltimore City

  2. Served over 11,000 families;

  3. National recognition by Head Start Body Start for strategic planning and vision;

  4. Recognition for innovation in community-academic partnerships from the American Society of Public Administration;

  5. Research in partnerships with Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy and the Kellogg Post- Doctoral Fellows Program;

  6. Accreditation in early childhood education from the Maryland State Department of Education;

  7. In 2012, the highest percentage of children “fully ready” for kindergarten of all Baltimore City Head Start children

  8. Four consecutive years of increasing school readiness results;

  9. Featured in August 2013 New York Times for work in reducing childhood obesity.

  10. The first Head Start program int the metropolitan area of Baltimore city to reach 5-star quality rating through Maryland Excels



Union Baptist-Harvey Johnson Head Start Children – Where Are They Now…


Social worker for Baltimore City

Harvard graduate and attorney for DC law firm

IT manager for a leading management consulting firm

Actress in leading theater production roles residing in NYC

Cell Biology researcher at University of Virginia

Class valedictorian of Coppin Academy

High honor roll student at local independent schools

Granville T. Woods Scholarship recipients at Baltimore City Community College

Non-profit executive director

Master’s degree student in IT at Morgan State University

and so much more



bottom of page