Greetings! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more than last year. While I’m not the most prolific, when I do post, please know it comes from the heart. And, there’s nothing I’m more passionate about than Head Start and its mission to support young children and families through a program of comprehensive services that can move mountains for our most vulnerable young children.
When I was a National Head Start Fellow, I got to know the then staff serving at the Head Start Bureau (now the Office of Head Start, or OHS) in DC. I found out OHS was filled with dedicated child advocates who shared my lifelong passion to ensure all young children have the opportunities to thrive and succeed in this wonderful yet challenging world. It's a world that is undeniably more challenging for some more than others, especially young children starting life in poverty. While the staff may have changed a bit, the commitment from OHS to give young children the best “head start” in life continues.
We applaud OHS for its recent request for information, proposing changes and asking for feedback and fresh ideas on how to redesign and strengthen the Designation Renewal System (DRS) to improve transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness. I’m pleased to share our comments (attached) submitted to OHS on the proposed changes to the use of CLASS in Head Start monitoring and in the DRS.
Some key recommendations in our comments:
Please review our comments and share your thoughts/questions with me. I look forward to hearing from you.
On a hot summer day in July 2016, I had the good fortune of being the one not on vacation on our small policy and research team. Instead, I went to DC to serve as Teachstone’s representative for a convening of policymakers, researchers, and ECE practitioners. They were gathering to discuss if and how exemplary Head Start grantees might be identified for Leading by Exemplar, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Bellwether Education Partners.
Decades of evidence indicate that high-quality early childhood education positively affects children. Yet studies reveal that too few programs implement high-quality programming. To date, improvement efforts have primarily focused on what occurs within the classroom. The Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce), in partnership with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research (UChicago Consortium), strives to broaden the focus of improvement efforts beyond the classroom to organizational conditions that support teachers and the relationships among staff, children, and families.
If you’ve been following the news lately, a lot is going on in North Carolina for young children and families! Leaders across the state—from businesses to state government to county municipalities—are leveraging partnerships that use research-based assessment and professional development models (like CLASS) to guarantee more of the state’s youngest residents have access to the high quality care they need and deserve.