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40th Annual Head Start Conference

In addition to the hundreds of educational sessions and special tracks at the 40th Annual Head Start Conference, there are many opportunities for networking, dining, and celebrating! Here are just a few:

Monday, April 29th

Exhibit Hall Opening Reception (7-9 p.m.)

Join us on Monday evening for a fun evening of good food, music and great deals.Tour over 100 commercial exhibits, meet suppliers and product representatives, to learn about resources for your program. 

Tuesday, April 30th

Head Start Gala and National Awards and Scholarships Dinner (6-9 p.m.)

An exciting evening to celebrate great individuals and organizations from around the country! This year we will also be celebrating the achievements of our venerable Board Chairman, Ron Herndon. After 20 years of tireless leadership, Ron will be handing the gavel over! Join us for a full evening of fun and celebration. This is a ticketed event.

Wednesday, May 1st

Living Our Legacy Luncheon (12-2 p.m.)

Head Start and Early Head Start have extensive histories of great work in thousands of communities around this country. Join your colleagues who are 40-year veterans and 4-year emerging leaders. Celebrate Head Start’s transformational Legacy! This is a ticketed event.

New Agency/New Director Round Table (2-4 p.m.)

Hear the "hidden" history of Head Start! Find out about successful mentoring strategies used by seasoned directors. Share your challenges with Head Start "old hands."

Chat Zones/Resource Displays 

During your time in Washington, take a few moments to participate in our Chat Zones and Resource Displays. The Chat Zones will be organized by content areas – Education, Health, Social Services, Family Engagement and Administration. Bring your annual reports, program questions, success stories and business cards – The Chat Zones area is designed to help you to connect to colleagues in your content area.

Thursday, May 2nd

Excellence Breakfast (7:30 - 9:00 a.m.)

NHSA is committed to celebrating high performing organizations around the country. From the Office of Head Start’s Centers of Excellence to NHSA’s Quality Initiative programs of Achievement and Programs of Excellence, our Head Start and Early Head Start communities are dedicated to performance excellence. During this session, NHSA will introduce our updated Quality Initiative and hear from leading voices in the area of performance management. This is a ticketed event.


Affiliate Leadership Institute (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)

The Second Annual Affiliate Leadership Institute presents an opportunity for State/Regional Head Start Association Leadership to network, learn, and share how to be more effective advocates in their states.  The track is specifically designed for state/regional association board members, presidents, executive directors, and other association staff.  Starting with a broad look at the challenges and opportunities nationally, the institute will also explore state policy challenges and opportunities as well as provide attendees with specific ways to improve their communication skills and grow their advocacy networks.

  • 9-10 National Policy Perspective
  • 10-11 State-Federal Policy Alignment
  • 11-12 State System Building - Quality/Data/Program Braiding
  • 1 -3 Effective Communications and Public Relations
  • 3-5 Creating and Engaging Business Advocates

Sponsor: Scholastic


Head Start Research Symposium (9 a.m.- 5 p.m.)

This Symposium brings together leading researchers with a wide variety of perspectives on Head Start. Four sessions will address the impact of school quality on Head Start gains; teachers’ contributions to social-emotional development; outcomes for Head Start students; and more. 


Research Luncheon (12 p.m. - 2 p.m.)

Forty years of research in classrooms for young children, have led to insights about what works best for children from poor families to facilitate their development. While having a curriculum is important, which specific one a teacher uses may be less so. More important are general aspects of how teachers and children behave in classrooms, behaviors that can be linked to a variety of curricular approaches. During this Luncheon, hear from Dr. Dale Farren of Vanderbilt University about the lessons she’s drawn about what is most critical for children’s success. This is a ticketed event sponsored by Acelero. 

NHSA's Annual Conference Zumba Party 

Open to all conference attendees
Where: Potomac Foyer in Convention Center
When: Wednesday, May 1st and Thursday, May 2nd, from 7:00am - 8:00am

NHSA's Annual Conference Zumba Party (Picture)If you’re planning to attend the NHSA's 40th Annual Conference this April, please join us for early morning Zumba Workouts to get a jump start into a fun and full day of learning and inspiration. All NHSA conference attendees are welcome to learn the groovy basics of Zumba from an experienced instructor that will guide us into an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness party that’s moving millions of people toward a joyful and healthy lifestyle (No previous experience is required). Time to pull out those nice sweat suits, see you there!



Meet-Ups are scheduled on Thursday, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. A number of groups are planning meet-ups – Family Development Credential, Opening Doors Volunteer Network, Head Start Fellows, Cooking Matters and Home Visiting Leadership Network … just to name a few!

Friday, May 3rd

Inside Washington Breakfast (7:30 – 9:00 a.m.)

This “Washington Insider” breakfast will feature a number of individuals and organizations committed to advocating for children and family services on Capitol Hill. Come hear the latest information on budget discussions, legislative initiatives and emerging policy at the federal level. Hosted by NHSA’s Government Relations Team, this is a ticketed event.