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Washington, D.C.
2019 Winter Leadership Institute
January 28 - 31, 2019

2019 Winter Leadership Institute Schedule

Monday, January 28th

9:30 - 10:00 AM

Institute Orientation

Before the Institute begins, NHSA staff will be offering an orientation session to provide insights on what to expect, what value each session and each speaker brings, and how to make the most out of your Institute experience. Whether this is your first time at a Leadership Institute or you are a seasoned veteran, be sure to join us for this discussion about our goals, expectations, and the inside scoop for the upcoming week.

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Opening Session: New Year, New Congress: Growing Head Start's Appeal in the 116th Congress

A new Congress will head to Washington in January 2019, bringing new opportunities, new priorities, and new leadership. Kick off the Institute with keynotes both from those who are new to the game of politics and seasoned pros.

12:30 - 2:00 PM

Lunch (on your own)


2:00 - 3:00 PM

Let's Talk About It: How to Communicate the Head Start Advantage in an Elevator Pitch

State and local early care and education programs seem to be popping up, shifting, and expanding in communities around the country. While everyone agrees that early care and education expansion is a good thing overall, this can hinder collaboration and create unhealthy competition over children and families as these nascent programs often share characteristics and even target similar populations as Head Start. This session will explore the somewhat murky path forward, specifically focusing how to educate and inform parents and policymakers on the uniqueness of Head Start and the critical role Head Start plays in any early care and education system.

3:15 - 4:15pm

Breakout 1A: Just the Facts: Immigration in Today's Policitcal Environment

Join us for a conversation on immigration policy and its impact on Head Start children, families, and programs. Featuring policy experts with extensive administrative and congressional backgrounds, this session will explore the key elements of immigration policy that impact Head Start, the changes that have occurred under President Trump’s administration, and the possible path forward during the 116th Congress.

Breakout 1B: Moving into the Digital Age: Harnessing the Power of Social Media

In this digital age, it is necessary to invest in your program’s social media presence. Social media can help increase your standing in your community and help you reach more people, more effectively. This session will provide an overview of how social media tools can help staff, parents, and communities communicate and advocate for their program. Join to bust myths about social media, understand the dos and don'ts, then learn to use social media to improve communication within your organization and generate support externally.

Breakout 1C: Fulfilling the Potential of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships offer many opportunities for partners to work together to combine funds, resources, and services to serve more children and better meet families' needs. This session will provide an overview of the lessons learned, the long-term outcomes for children and families, and implications for the Head Start community.

4:30 - 5: 30 PM

Hill-arious Visits: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

What are the secrets to successful visits with members of Congress and their staff? Have you ever wondered how other people's visits go? What's the best possible outcome and the silliest snafoo? Come hear the real stories--the good and the bad--of visits past. Then, get the inside scoop on our plan to ensure that Congress hears Head Start's needs loud and clear. Practice your pitch and zero in on your "ask."

5:30 - 6:30 PM



Tuesday, January 29th

8:30 - 10:00 AM

Poverty Programs: Past, Present, and Vision for the Future

Day two of the Leadership Institute will begin with a discussion led by Robert Doar from American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as he takes us back to the conception of the War on Poverty before fast forwarding to conversation on how safety net programs work (and can do better) today. Panelists will delve into how those programs will fair in today’s partisan environment.

10:15 - 11:15 AM

Breakout 2A: Valuable Head Start-State Partnerships: Connecting through Preschool Development Grants

While Head Start's federal-to-local structure is ideal for serving at-risk children and families, state leaders can enhance this work through collaborative policies, funding, and practices. The recently awarded birth-to-five Preschool Development Grants offer such opportunities for helpful partnerships both in planning and implementation. This session will highlight state and national perspectives on how the PDG processes are demonstrating how Head Start and states can mutually benefit each other.

Breakout 2B: Head Start's Role in Addressing Childhood Trauma

The academic understanding of childhood trauma has increased substantially over the last decade, but what does that mean in practice? How has an understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) informed policy that can support early childhood providers, and what more can be done? As our country faces increasing challenges stemming from violence and addiction, how can Head Start adapt to ensure children are able to reach their fullest potential? What opportunities will help us get there?

Breakout 2C: Workforce: Where to from Here?

Teaching and caring for young children is challenging work that requires unique skills. Yet current conditions in the workforce are not conducive to a supported and succesful profession. Power to the Profession is a two year collaborative initiative that aims to establish the shared framework of knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards of practice, and compensation for all early childhood educators. Join this session to understand how Power to the Profession is achieving these goals, how it will impact the Head Start community, and to provide feedback on how Head Start can steer the path forward.

11:30 - 12:30 PM

Breakout 3A: Generations X, Y, Z and Beyond: Work and Life in the 21st Century

Where has the American Dream gone, and how can we bridge the divide between generations that face very different challenges and maintain different values? Changes to the American family and the American workplace over the past 50 years are well documented, but what changes are ahead in the next 50 years? What might life look like for future Head Start parents, and how can Head Start equip future generations with the tools and skills needed to be successful in a rapidly changing society? Join this panel of experts to explore these questions and more.

Breakout 3B: A Unifiying Head Start Language Playbook

Now more than ever, it is important that we are using “words that work” and will resonate with the broadest possible audience. NHSA is engaging in a multi-year campaign to increase public understanding of Head Start’s effectiveness in driving successful outcomes for America’s most vulnerable children and families. The new Head Start Language Playbook is intended to help you and other Head Start staff have better, more effective conversations about our mission with the public. In this session, you will learn how to use the tips in the Playbook better communicate the power of Head Start: who we are, what we do, and why it matters. You will also learn how to tailor your message to specific audiences, including elected officials/policymakers, k-12 school administrators, and average people who are skeptical about Head Start.

Breakout 3C: A CQI Recipe for Sucess

Head Start programs are expected to consistently meet high standards and provide high-quality services, and it is important to understand how Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) methods can help to best serve children and families in your program. This brief one-hour workshop will introduce CQI theory, tools, and resources to learn more about how to use CQI to ultimately improve outcomes for children and families.

12:30 - 2:00 PM

Lunch (on your own)


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Looking Under the Hood: Understanding (and Counteracting) Under-Enrollment in Head Start

If your program is struggling with under-enrollment, you are certainly not alone. While some programs struggle with long waitlists, many other struggle to fill slots. Join us for this plenary session to "look under the hood" of under-enrollment--we'll tackle the issue with a continuous quality improvement lens to help you get to the bottom of your enrollment struggles and identify opportunities to improve.

3:15 - 4:15 PM

Breakout 4A: Opportunity Zones: A New Tool in Head Start's Facilities Toolbox

Created as part of the tax reform law of 2017, Opportunity Zones are "eonomically-distressed communities where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment," according to the IRS. In other words, Opportunity Zones are a new tool that Head Start programs, in specifically designated communities, can tap into in order to finance new facilities. Like many other financing mechanisms, Opportunity Zones are complex, but this session is your chance to learn about the new program and how you might be able to utilize it to your benefit.

Breakout 4B: Double the Child Care Funding, Double the Opportunities

Congress doubled federal child care funding in the past two years. With states turning to Head Start and Early Head Start to improve child care quality and expand services, what will these new child care funds mean for the reach of Head Start? Join national and state leaders for a concrete and wide-ranging discussion of how young children's lives will be impacted.

Breakout 4C: Head Start in the (State) House

State legislatures are impactful leaders in establishing new policies and funding for early childhood initiatives, including preschool, child care, family support, and home visiting. The laws and funding that are decided in state legislatures often have significant implications for Head Start. Learn about the variety of ways state lawmakers can strengthen Head Start through supplemental appropriations, coordinating state early learning policies with Head Start, and other related innovative approaches. How can you influence your state legislators to bring more success to Head Start?

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

NHSA's 6th Annual Town Hall

Back by popular demand, day two of the Institute will conclude with the NHSA's 6th annual Town Hall. This session will be your chance to ask NHSA's Executive Director and Senior Director for Government Affairs those burning questions you have on your mind--be it strategy, policy thoughts, or whatever else!

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

DRS Meet-Up

The DRS recompetition process can be stressful and difficult, but a community of support can make all the difference. Come meet up and connect with other Head Start program directors and leaders to discuss unique experiences and learn from one another about best ways to navigate the process. After providing a government affairs update, NHSA will facilitate discussion in small groups to guide effective conversation on how we can improve this process together.

Wednesday, January 30th

9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Hill Breakfast--Canon Caucus Room

10:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Hill Visits (On Your Own)

Office Hours on the Hill

Thursday, January 31st

8:30 - 9:30 AM

The World Around Us: Connecting Head Start and Public Schools

The success of Head Start and of the children who attend Head Start depends on effective coordination and collaboration with public schools. These relationships can be trying or rewarding (or both!), and there is plenty that Head Start programs can do to ensure our efforts are worthwhile and result in partnering on critical issues, such as professional development, parent meetings, teacher communication, child records, and data. This session will explore how agreements with local education agencies, often facilitated by state officials, are strengthening children's access to quality early learning and transitions.

9:45 - 11:30 AM

Updates from the Office of Head Start

Per tradition, we'll wrap up the Leadership Institute by spending the morning with the Office of Head Start (OHS). Join the Office of Head Start's Director Dr. Debbie Bergeron and her OHS senior staff team for updates on the key OHS priorities, answers to your questions, and a discussion to help you understand the administration's vision for the future of Head Start.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Closing General Session

12:30 - 5:00 PM

Utilizing Continuous Quality Improvement Methods In Your Program

This special session is being offered post-Institute for anyone interested in bringing CQI to their program. This session requires an added registration fee.

With the Head Start Program Performance Standards requiring programs to use continuous improvement to achieve program goals, now more than ever, programs need to understand how to utilize tools and frameworks effectively to improve services for children and families.

That's why NHSA has designed this unique workshop, which will introduce you to the world of improvement science, with a strong emphasis on tools and practices you can use to re-calibrate your use of data and decision processes. You will get hands-on practice with important CQI frameworks and tools that you can bring back to use in your own programs and implement your own quality improvement practices.