Read the latest information in FHSA February 2022 Newsletter

February 2022 | The Monthly Newsletter of the Florida Head Start Association                                                                                                                          


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CDC is recommending everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.

Click here for the most current updated from the CDC. 


Find a COVID-19 testing center near you. 


FHSA Top 3 @ 3

Letter from the Executive Director

We are in the final planning phase of the FHSA 2022 annual conference & expo in Orlando on March 2-4. We hope you have already made plans to join your colleagues and us for a few days of networking, learning, and inspiration. I am beyond excited about the line-up of educational opportunities offered at this year's conference. Our Professional Development and Education Committee have outdone themselves this year. If you have not taken the time to check out the complete schedule, I implore you to do so. I think you will agree this year's event will be one of the best.  

If you still have not decided about attending because you are hesitant due to COVID, let me tell you a bit about the safety measures we are putting into place. FHSA is doing everything possible to protect our attendees, exhibitors, presenters, and staff. To this extent, we have been working closely with the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando and following the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and local health department guidelines regarding masks, social distancing practices, and sanitation to reduce the spread of Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19. We encourage everyone attending the event to wear a mask at all times except while actively eating and drinking. We are beyond thrilled to have WellAir Solutions as a Corporate Partner & Sponsor at this year's event providing filtered air purification systems throughout the meeting space, including breakout rooms and the main general session area. 

I would also like to give a huge shout-out to all our corporate partnerships, conference sponsors, and exhibitors who have taken the time to invest in FHSA and Florida's Head Start community. Please visit this link to view a complete listing of supporters, and don't forget to thank them for their support. Putting together an event like this would be impossible without them.    

The only other update I have is that we do not anticipate the Office of Head Start to release any additional guidance on Head Start Interim Final Rule with Comments (IFC) regarding the mask and vaccination mandate. Since Florida is involved in the pending litigation, there cannot be an appeal by HHS/OHS until the courts provide their final ruling. If something changes, I will let you know. 

Stay well, 

Wanda Minick, Executive Director


Don't Miss #FHSA2022 Head Start is Heart Work!

FHSA 2022 Annual Conference Logo

Don't miss this year's Head Start is Heart Work conference & expo March 2-4, 2022, in Orlando.  FHSA is excited to bring back our annual event in person featuring a wide array of exceptional presenters that will leave you inspired, motivated and teach you a new skill or two so you can take back to your program and continue the vital work you do in supporting Florida's most at-risk children and families.

If you have not already, take a peek at our keynote speakers featured below to learn more about the expertise they will share with you.  Also, don't forget to view the complete schedule of breakout sessions we have in store for you by visiting this link.  

Don't let this training pass you by. REGISTRATION CLOSES FEBRUARY 22! 


Hotel Accommodations

DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando

5780 Major Boulevard | Orlando, FL 32819

FHSA room block is open and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The room block cut-off is Thursday, February 11, 2022, or until it reaches capacity.

The Group Discounted Rate is from $152 /per night++. To book your room, you can call Hilton Reservations at 1-800-222-8733 using the unique rate code (HSA) or use the "Book your room" button below.

If booking multiple rooms under one reservation, please call Hilton Reservation at 1-800-222-8733 using the unique rate code (FE2).

Parking: Overnight and event day self-parking rate is discounted to $11+ tax a night. Valet services are $29.00+ tax a night.

Only 6 Days Left to Pre-Order your Head Start is Heart Work T-Shirt!

Pre-order to guarantee your shirt style and size. There are three styles to choose from.  

 Here's how to order:

  1. You can place an order during conference registration or 

  2. Use the separate order form provided on the conference registration page.



What's Happening Around the State

Want your program to be featured here? Then tell us about all the great things you are doing. Send us an email at [email protected]

Children First Staff Member and Key Supporters
Honored at Good Hero Philanthropic Awards

Sarasota, FL (December 17, 2021) – Children First staff member Bonnie Eskell and the agency’s entire Diamond Circle were honored for their incredible contributions to our community 

at the SRQ Good Hero Philanthropic Awards.

As a long-time employee, Bonnie serves as an Early Learning Inclusion Coordinator on the agency’s Comprehensive Services team, working to provide support to every child enrolled in the program with a diagnosed disability. Disabilities can include, but are not limited to, developmental delays, autism, or sensory processing disorder. She previously served as site Manager of Children First’s main campus, the Dr. Elaine Marieb Center in Sarasota, where she helped lead more than 40 staff in serving nearly 150 children and their families across 11 classrooms.

Click here to read press release in its entirety. 


Legislatively Speaking

One of FHSA's benefits is communicating what's happening legislatively to our members.  Below is information to links providing a summary of early childhood policy advancing through the Florida House and Senate along with news articles. 

Florida's Legislative week 4 bill tracking courtesy of The Florida Alliance of Children's Councils & Trusts (FACCT).

 FL lawmakers work to fix childcare worker shortage, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, there are worker shortages in nearly every state in the country. WPEC , February 4, 2022

Thousands of Floridians with Young Children Risk Losing Out on the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, Florida Policy Institute, February 1, 2022

FHSA members convened in Tallahassee January 31- February 1 for Children's Week. This yearly event celebrates and honors Florida's commitment to children, youth, and advocates. The festivities kicked off with an Advocacy dinner and awards ceremony honoring two award recipients for their tireless dedication to improving young lives across the state. This year's award recipients were William Douglas Sessions Jr., President and CEO of The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, Chiles Advocacy Award Winner, and Lauren Page, founder of the Page by Page Book Drive Program, Youth Advocate Award Winner. 

On Tuesday, February 1, FHSA members met with their local legislators to discuss the benefits and services Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide in their local communities. Overall, the meetings were a huge success, and we were able to get legislators and staff excited about visiting their local Head Start/Early Head Start programs. FHSA is a proud sponsor of this event. Below are just a few photos taken during hill visits. 

Hanging of the Hands artwork
Orange County Head Start/Early Head Start with Rep. Anna Eskamani
Orange County Head Start/Early Head Start with Rep. Thompson
FHSA board member with Rep. Patricia Williams

NHSA Accepting Abstracts for Upcoming Conference

NHSA is accepting proposals to present at their 49th annual National Head Start Conference through February 11, 2022.  This annual event will be held May 2 - 5, 2022 in Baltimore, MD.  NHSA is looking for people to share their expertise in a variety of Communities of Practice to help make their conference a rich experience. To learn more, click here. 


Contact Info:

Florida Head Start Association

111 N. Gadsden Street, Suite 200 | Tallahassee, FL 32301

(850) 694-6477

[email protected] 

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