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Winter Leadership Institute

About the Institute

Sequestration is over - but will it return after 2015? Will there be another shutdown? How will President Obama’s early learning vision and the Smart Start Act affect the future of Head Start?

More than 500 Head Start, Early Head Start, and other early learning professionals will gather in Washington for the January, 2014 NHSA Winter Leadership Institute. We will address these and other policy questions that are now emerging to make this one of the most challenging times since Head Start’s founding 49 years ago.

With numerous sessions focused on key Policy, OHS, and Federal developments, the Leadership Institute provides an unparalleled opportunity to hear it straight from the source, in Washington, D.C. Another key highlight of the Institute is Head Start on the Hill Day, in which you will have the chance to meet with your Members of Congress and explain first-hand the benefits that Head Start and Early Head Start provide.


Key Thought Leaders will lead sessions, panels, and discussions on the most important policy issues facing the Early Learning community, including:

  • New Perspective on Addressing Poverty
  • Child Care and Head start - Partnering to Support Children and Families
  • Poverty and the Developing Brain: From Science to Practice
  • Critical Success  Indicators and the Future of Monitoring
  • Head Start Standards Revision
  • Developing an Effective Workforce

OHS, and Federal Developments

Senior staff from the Obama Administration, the Office of Head Start and the Department of Health and Human Services will be present to discuss emerging developments.

  • Appropriations and Early Learning Legislation
  • The Next 50 Years of Head Start
  • Lessons Learned from DRS Rounds 1, 2, and 3
  • The Race to Pre-K: Federal and State Updates
  • Head Start in 2014: The View from the White House
  • Update from the Office of Head Start

Professional Development

We have engaged some of the finest trainers in the Early Learning arena - from WipFli, Feldesman, Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP, and Acelero-  to lead day-long pre-Institute sessions in key operational areas. :

  • Alternate Funding Sources and Related Contracting Issues
  • Leadership Strategies and To Do's
  • High Impact Approaches to Family Services


Hill Day is the highlight of the Winter Leadership Institute and is the best opportunity you will have to educate your Members of Congress about the importance of Head Start and Early Head Start. The day begins with Breakfast on the Hill, featuring Jack Shonkoff who will speak about the important work being done at Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. Hill visits follow breakfast and the day ends with a State of the Union Watch Party!