Please read this email and share it with others in your network. It contains an NHSA Update, a Legislative Update, a Call to Action, and some Additional Resources.
Final Countdown: 16 Days until NHSA's 37th Annual Head Start Conference! May 3-May 8, 2010!
We could not be more excited to head down to Dallas, Texas for this year's Head Start Conference, Reaching Higher! Check with your fellow Head Start friends and staff members to see what sessions they are attending and make sure you sign up today as spots are filling up fast! You don’t want to miss the over 200 educational sessions that will give you great ideas and practical tips for improving your classroom and your program. Additionally, make sure you sign up for one of the pre-conference Special Tracks! These two-day intensive sessions put you and your program on the fast track to success and give you the opportunity to hear interactive and engaging presentations from some exceptional presenters. We look forward to seeing you in Dallas for a week of fantastic informational sessions, innovative presentations, and a chance to celebrate all that makes Head Start great!
Annual Training Conference Policy and Research Events
We will be holding a number of policy and research events at our upcoming annual training conference "Reaching Higher" on May 3-8, 2010 in Dallas, TX. These events include:
Policy Luncheon: Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has been invited to speak. The Policy Luncheon will be from Noon to 2 pm on Friday, May 7.
Research Luncheon: Noted public policy expert, Dr. Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago will be discussing "What Do We Know about Head Start's Impacts on Children?" The Research Luncheon will be from Noon - 2 pm on Wednesday, May 5.
Daily Focus Forums: The Daily Focus Forums are unique opportunities to hear and share innovative perspectives on topics that matter most to you, including:
New Early Head Start Grantee Issues. Presenters: Lillian Sugarman, Director of the Early Head Start National Resource Center, ZERO TO THREE Edward (Ted) Waters, Esq., Managing Partner, Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP
Head Start and Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Presenters: Mary Baskett, Executive Director, Kansas Head Start Association Linda Broyles, Director, SEK-CAP Head Start Dr. Robert Morton, Superintendent, Kaw Valley School District, St. Mary's Kansas Jim McDaniel Superintendent, Coffeyville School District, Coffeyville, Kansas
Moderator: Dennis DeMers, Executive Director, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. and Chairman of the NHSA Government Affairs Committee
Head Start, State Pre-K, and Child Care Perspectives on State Advisory Councils. Presenters: Suzanne Burnette, New Jersey Head Start State Collaboration Director, New Jersey Head Start State Collaboration Office Lauri Morrison Fritchl, Executive Director, Illinois Head Start Association Richard Gonzalez, Senior Advisor for State Advisory Councils, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Stephanie Rubin, Esq., Senior Officer, Campaigns, Pew Center on the States Moderator: Ben Allen, Ph.D., Public Policy and Research Director, NHSA
Monitoring and Re-competition Issues Facing Head Start and Early Head Start Directors. Presenter: Zoe Beckerman, Esq., Partner, Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP Moderator: Ben Allen, Ph.D., Public Policy and Research Director, NHSA
Home Visiting Programs. Presenters: C. Robin Britt, Executive Director, Guilford Child Development Peggy Hill, Chief Strategic Relations Officer, Nurse Family Partnership Hazel Mallory, Program Director, SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start John Schlitt, Pew Center on the States (Invited) Susan Stepleton, Ph.D President and CEO, National Center for Parents as Teachers
Moderator: Ben Allen, Ph. D, Public Policy and Research Director, NHSA
Rural Issues. Presenters: Linda Broyles, Director, SEK-CAP Head Start Cindy Huey, Director of Children's Services, DAEOC Lois Butler, President, Nebraska Head Start Association (Invited)
For one of the seminars, Accountability Matters: Discussing Data to Improve Programs and Communicate Outcomes, at our upcoming conference, please complete a survey to gauge pre-conference perceptions regarding this topic and session. This informal, online survey will help us gather anonymous information about the challenges collecting, communicating, and using meaningful data the Head Start Community must face. These responses will springboard group discussions related to various accountability challenges. To complete this survey, please click here.
Head Start Alumni Needed for a High Profile Initiative
Are you or someone you know a Head Start graduate with a success story to tell? NHSA is looking for stellar Head Start Alums to feature in an upcoming project! Please take a minute to nominate yourself or someone you know who was made ready for life through Head Start by contacting Hannah Griffin at NHSA at email@example.com.
NHSA Submits Letter to NGA/CCSSO
The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers jointly held a meeting last month with the National Head Start Association and about 30 plus other stakeholder organizations in the early childhood community to discuss the joint development of these standards by the NGA and CCSSO and to explore the implications of these standards for the learning and development of young children, from birth through third grade. National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers requested public comments on the development of their K-12 Common Core Standards. NHSA submitted comments to the NGA and CCSSO. Click here to view NHSA’s comments.
Region I Conference
Yasmina Vinci and Ben Allen with the National Head Start Association made presentations at the New England Head Start Association Training Conference last week. Yasmina and Janis Santos, NHSA Board Vice Chair, provided a Policy Update. Subsequently, Yasmina spoke about how to improve communications and messaging about Head Start. Ben Allen updated attendees about the recent Head Start Impact Study findings as well as the favorable child and parent outcomes found in the Early Head Start Impact Study.
Region I Presents Award to Senator Reed
Yasmina Vinci and Janis Santos presented a National Champion of Head Start Parents Award to Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) at the New England Head Start Association Training Conference. Senator Reed said that he was committed to ensure that Head Start receives the $989 million increase as proposed in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Senator Reed has been a strong voice in favor of parental decisionmaking power on the Head Start Policy Councils and Committees. To view photos of this event, please visit NHSA’s Facebook page at www.nhsa.org.
As you know, Congress returned to its work in Washington this week following the April district work period (known as “recess”). There are a number of items on the agenda for the current seven week work period ending Memorial Day weekend. Please see below for a snapshot update of some the various items working their way around the Hill:
What: April 15 is Congress’s deadline for finishing next year’s budget. With no draft up for consideration in either the House or the Senate, it is almost certain the nonbinding date will be missed. In the House, steps are being taken to create a budget which currently includes plans for a contentious Iraq and Afghanistan supplementary spending bill, and the discretionary spending freeze proposed by President Obama back in January. In the Senate, we don’t yet know what items will be included, merely that the budget is on the list of items for the current work period. It is possible however, that a step will be skipped and a proper budget will not be passed. Instead, the Appropriations Committees may just determine amounts of funding for programs this year. Stay tuned!
Why it Matters to Head Start: The funding climate this year is difficult and it is more important now than ever to contact your representatives and tell them why we need to increase Head Start funding (see our Call to Action below).
What: Tomorrow, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) will introduce the Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010. This legislation will create a $23 billon Education Jobs Fund to prevent states and school districts from making additional budget cuts and having to lay off thousands of teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors who work in elementary and secondary schools. In the coming weeks, the House will move towards jobs legislation, a current top priority of President Obama. Representatives are poised to introduce a series of bills designed to decrease the unemployment rate through small business tax incentives and loans. As you might recall, Representatives did pass a $600 million summer jobs program as well as several other initiatives, but those legislative items are still pending in the Senate. Meanwhile, the Senate is currently under pressure to pass an extension of unemployment benefits, which appears to be headed toward final passage this week, but several Senators are still trying to fight the bill because it is unfunded.
Why it Matters to Head Start: Head Start family members may be having challenges finding and retaining jobs or may be currently unemployed.
What: President Obama proposed a $1 billion increase for child nutrition programs that help improve health, obesity rates, and child development and school readiness.
Why this Matters to Head Start: These programs are vital to Early Head Start and Head Start’s mission to develop the whole healthy child who is ready for success in all aspects of life.
Stay tuned as the Congressional agenda gets further defined in the coming weeks. And know that NHSA will continue to fight for additional funding for our Head Start community and need your help to make sure that every child is given an opportunity to succeed regardless of circumstances.
CALL TO ACTION
Now that Senators and Representatives are back on the Hill following the April Recess, it is time to renew our focus for increased funding for Head Start and Early Head Start (collectively “programs funded under the Head Start Act.”) Recently, Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) began circulating a “Dear Colleague” Letter requesting a $1 billion increase for Head Start and a $1 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (“CCDBG”) in the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill, as was in the President’s Budget. The deadline for your Senators to sign the letter is this Thursday, April 15, 2010.
This funding is vital for the children and families we serve through our Head Start community. Now is the time to contact your Senators to urge them to sign on to the Dodd/Snowe letter and to thank them for their support of Head Start programs.
To contact your Senators and Representatives, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or if you'd like to email them, go to: www.senate.gov and click on your Senator's website or www.house.gov and click on your Representative's website. On each website, there is a contact or feedback form which will allow you to email him/her directly.
RESOURCES FOR YOU
Coming Soon! SparkAction—A New Web Site for Advocates
Connect for Kids, the Youth Policy Action Center, the National Youth Development Information Center, and Child Advocacy 360 have joined forces to form a new web site called SparkAction, to be launched soon. The goal of SparkAction is to serve as a one-stop gateway for people wanting to engage in advocacy on behalf of children. Leaders from the early childhood community, including our very own Ben Allen, were videotaped for a piece about early care and learning to be featured on the SparkAction web site. Check out the video on YouTube.
Head Start Legal Advisory Service Webinar: The Scoop on Non-Federal Share
As many of you know, Head Start programs are required to provide a 20% match of non-federal funds for the operation of their programs. This match (or "non-federal share") applies to regular Head Start and Early Head Start funds, as well as those received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. On Thursday, May 13 at 3pm eastern time, Ted Waters of the Legal Advisory Service will tell you the scoop on non-federal share. During this webinar, we'll talk about:
What items and services your program can count as match;
How to document matching share;
Why showing "overmatch" makes sense; and
Common and not-so-common pitfalls to avoid.
Sign up today to learn about NHSA member discount pricing for both this webinar and the one below by clicking here. Then click on "Read More/Register" under "For Head Start Organizations."
Head Start Legal Advisory Service Webinar: Head Start Eligibility
The Head Start rules for determining eligibility can be confusing and difficult to follow. Is your staff ready to handle family questions about program eligibility? Are you contemplating allowing children up to 130% of the federal poverty level into your program? Do you know about prioritizing homeless children? Join Ted Waters on this webinar Wednesday, May 26 at 3pm eastern time to discuss:
What the Head Start eligibility rules are (and, which are mandatory or optional);
Where the pitfalls lie for your program in determining eligibility ;
Tips for best practices; and
How to ensure your program is in compliance with the requirements of the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act and the Head Start Policy Clarifications.
Don't miss out! Please click on the link above to register.
Give to Dollar Per Child
NHSA would like to give a big thanks to all of the programs who have donated to the Dollar per Child Campaign ("DPC") in March!
Clarksville Head Start, Red River County Head Start
Rancho Del Cielo
This is a special reminder for your program to send in its DPC funds in time for our Annual Conference beginning May 3, 2010 – remember, this is when public presentations will be made to the NHSA Campaign. Make sure your State’s contributions are at the top of the list!
As you know, the funds from Dollars per Child help NHSA pay for all of our legislative efforts, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Head Start Appropriations, Early Learning Challenge Fund, and other legislative efforts. Your support of the DPC Campaign is vital to NHSA's advocacy efforts on behalf of the Head Start Community. We cannot do our work without your support!
Our work is far from done. With an ever-challenging budget situation in Washington, the struggle to preserve the gains of the ARRA will undoubtedly be even more strenuous in the coming years. So don't wait!!! Please send your contributions, whatever amount you can afford, whether it is $1 per child, $5 per child, or $10 per child. You can even easily donate online on our website: https://www.nhsa.org/get_involved/donate.
Dollar per Child funds will ensure that NHSA can continue to lead the way in all of the future advocacy efforts coming up - from regulatory issues with the Office of Head Start, to additional fiscal year appropriations, to the next Head Start Act reauthorization, which is not far off. Remember, raise your hand! Use your words! Together we can make a difference.
Please know that NHSA continues to work for you and with you on your behalf on matters of importance to the Head Start community.
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