July 2023 | The Monthly Newsletter of the Florida Head Start Association 

Letter from the Executive Director  

Hopefully, everyone had a Happy 4th of July holiday and was able to spend some quality time with your family and friends. Here at FHSA, we are wrapping up two big projects. We can't wait to unveil the Wage Study and the Florida Head Start Dashboard to our members. These items will be released very soon. We are also working on dates for our Leadership Training & Annual Awards Luncheon and the 2024 Annual Conference and Expo. The FHSA board of directors will meet on July 18 to make those final decisions. Stay tuned for more updates.  

If you have ever considered serving on the FHSA board of directors, this might be your chance. We will be seeking to fill two (2) director's seats, one in each Central and Northwest region of Florida, and one (1) Director-At-Large seat, which a staff, parent, or is a member of FHSA under the Individual or Corporate Friends level. Check your inbox in the next few weeks for our call for nominations.  

Last month, FHSA released a new member benefit, Family Enrollment, and Staff Recruitment toolkits, to assist programs with recruiting staff and finding qualified children and families. I hope you have downloaded these tools and found them to be useful. Below under the Office of Head Start Updates, there are also additional resources curated by ECLKC to enhance your family recruitment efforts.  

While you are enjoying your summer and taking time to recharge and relax, I trust you are indulging in some YOU time and making time for the things you love. I love to cook, so I experiment with making different summer salads since it's too hot to cut the oven on. I want to share a recipe for a salad I made over the July 4th holidays; everyone loved it, and I hope you do too.  The link is below, enjoy! Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumbers, Lemon, Dill, & Feta, Two Peas and their Pod 

In Fellowship, 

Wanda Minick
Executive Director 

Office of Head Start Updates

Removal of the Vaccine Requirements for Head Start Programs

On June 26, 2023, the Federal register noticed the final rule around removing the vaccine and testing requirements included in the November 2021 Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC), Vaccine and Mask Requirements to Mitigate the Spread of COVID–19 in Head Start Programs. Specifically, this rescission removes the requirement from the HSPPS that all Head Start staff, contractors whose activities involve contact with or providing direct services to children and families, and volunteers working in classrooms or directly with children are fully vaccinated for COVID–19. The associated HSPPS requirement that staff who are exempt from the vaccination requirement have “at least weekly” COVID–19 testing is also removed. Click here for a copy of the final rule. 


Head Start  Programs Recruitment, Eligibility, & Enrollment Strategies

Achieving and maintaining full enrollment is the primary goal of ERSEA services. Full enrollment requires targeted strategies for identifying and addressing the needs of current and future children, families, and communities. Explore these resources through the ECLKC that can help programs enroll children and families with the greatest need in a timely manner. 

Recruitment Resources: 

Eligibility Resources: 

Enrollment Resources: 


What's Happening Around the State

Orange County opens enrollment for Head Start early learning program, ClickOrlando.com July 16, 2023 

An Orange County early learning program is seeking to register 650 children between 3 and 5 years old for the upcoming school year.

The Head Start program offers free early education to students at 22 locations in the county, according to a news release. The program opened enrollment Friday for the upcoming academic year, which begins Aug. 10. 

Immokalee organization granted $16 million to build a new child development center, Naples Daily News, June 9, 2023

Redlands Christian Migrant Association and Lipman Family Farms are partnering to build a $16.4 million campus that will feature two child development centers, a community center, charter school and two soccer fields. Click here to read the article in its entirety. 

FHSA Welcomes Our Newest Member, CELEBRATEsel

Celebratesel image

The One Goal Summer Conference: Building the Future Together 

This year the Conference “Putting Families and Children First” will celebrate 36 years of providing motivational and educational experiences for early education and care providers is being held on July 19-21 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown Hotel. 

The Opening General Session keynote speaker, Patrick Mitchell, is an entertaining and engaging speaker who will positively impact achieving a work-life balance. Dr. Pamela Phelps is a passionate and inspirational speaker who will kindle a new awareness of your strength and value and close out the Conference leaving you energized and with a renewed sense of self-worth! 

The event will include 80 concurrent presentations providing information on developmentally appropriate activities and teaching skills that can be used daily to work with children. Commercial and educational exhibits will showcase the latest in early childhood materials, books, training, and educational aids. 

  • Early registration fee is only $125 per person, if received by July 13.  
  • Click here to register to attend this event.
  • Hotel reservations link can be found here. 

For any questions or assistance regarding this event, please call the Conference office at (850) 893-6270.


NHSA Appropriations Update

Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed into law the “Fiscal Responsibility Act,” an agreement to lift the federal debt ceiling until 2025 in exchange for capping federal spending programs at fiscal year (FY) 2023 levels in FY2024 and allowing only 1% increase in spending in FY2025. Overall, discretionary spending will stay flat from FY23 to FY24. Defense funding will be allowed to increase by approximately 3%, while non-defense will be cut by about 5%. Flat funding does not allow for COLA, which sets our programs back when inflation is factored in. The agreement also caps FY25 spending, which begins October 1, 2024, at a 1% increase over FY24. There is a trigger in the bill which requires Congress to pass each appropriations bill, either individually or in an omnibus, by December 31, 2023 – if not, each appropriations bill will be cut by 1%.

NHSA Fall Leadership Institute
September 18-21, 2023 | Crystal City, VA

Nothing matters more to members of Congress than their constituents! This is a critical time to show Congress the importance of Head Start and how many children and families depend on it.  To learn more about this event, click here. 

Click the link below to see what legislation NHSA is tracking. 


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Three Things Heightening Head Start Awareness

Links Worth a Read


Upcoming Events


12: FHSA ProfessionalDevelopment Committee Meeting 

12: EHS Advocacy: Pay Parity

13: Personal Stories: A Strengths-Based Perspective 

18: FHSA Directors Affiliate Group 

18: FHSA Board of Directors Meeting 

18: Using Peer Support To Enhance Home-Based Child Care Providers’ Well-Being and Equitable Engagement 

19-21: One Goal Summer Conference

19: Effective State-Level Policies 

20: Fostering Inclusive Play for  all Infants and Toddlers
Introducing the National Early  Care and Education Workforce Center 

26:  Best Practice


Member Information 

Change of address, email or any information? You will need to login to your profile in our organization.

Important Links

FHSA Member Benefit Discounted Pricing
Teachstone CDA Class On Demand
Teachstone CDA Class Facilitated

FHSA has partnered with Teachstone to deliver FHSA members access to their on-demand and/or facilitated CDA with CLASS® program with discounted membership pricing now through September 30, 2023.

#ThankfulThursday Join the Movement

CACFP Hosting a Head Start Bootcamp


Region IV Early Head Start Institute, September 18-21, 2023 (Atlanta, GA)

Registration is open for the general conference as well as pre-conference seminars. Visit their conference website for more information.


Welcome Congressional Members to your Head Start Program

Advocay Toolkit

Congress members will return to their districts in August for five weeks. This is an excellent opportunity for Head Start programs to connect with their lawmakers by inviting them to visit their programs. Welcoming members of Congress to your programs is a powerful way to illustrate Head Start's value and elevate what negative impacts would mean if they cut spending to Head Start and what effects that would have on the children and families you serve. 

Check out our advocacy resources webpage to get started, and if you need assistance, don't hesitate to contact FHSA at (850) 694-6477 or email [email protected] 


Join your State Association:  FHSA provides members with access to tools, resources, and collaborative relationships empowering your agency's management team, staff, and parents. FHSA offers Individual and Corporate memberships too!

Support your State Association: Help FHSA ensure Florida programs are supported through professional opportunities, research efforts, and legislation so they can continue to provide high-quality services to Florida's most at-risk children and families. 

 Florida Head Start Association
111 N. Gadsden Street, Suite 200
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 694-6477
[email protected]