October 2020

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In This Issue...

Letter From FHSA Executive Director

Updates from the Office of Head Start

Updates from the Office of Early Learning 

FHSA Fall Leadership Training

What's Happening Around the State

Updates from NHSA

Employment Opportunities

Calendar of Events

October 2020 

13 - Breaking Mental Health Barriers: Accomplishments and Lessons from the Field

14 - From the Field: Strategies for Making Distance Learning Work  

14 - Ready to Go 

15 - FLAEYC Annual Conference

15 - RIVHSA Board of Directors Meeting 

16 - Conducting Rapid Analyses for Data-Based Decisionmaking During the COVID-19 Crisis

20 - Florida Chamber Foundation - 2020 Virtual Future of Florida Forum & Annual Meeting

20 - Moving from systems to policy change: financing opportunities

28 - Enrolling Children and Young Families Experiencing Homelessness in Early Head Start

November 2020 

19 - 20 FHSA Fall Leadership Training 

30 - NHSA Parent & Family Engagement Conference 2020

30 - Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2020 (NRCEC 2020)

Letter from FHSA Executive Director 

Head Start programs worldwide have something to celebrate this month as we kicked off #HeadStartAwareness Month on October 1st. Since its inception in 1965, Head Start is the most successful, longest-running, national school readiness program in the United States. Head Start's federally funded locally-designed programs are tailored based on the community's wants and needs.  There is so much more data today that supports the importance of early childhood development, like the fact that more than 90% of a child’s brain develops from birth to age 4.  Head Start's approach is based on the “whole child,” which means helping our students develop socially, intellectually, and emotionally.  FHSA would love to hear how you are celebrating at your programs. Share your Head Start story here and what you are doing on social media with #HeadStartAwareness.

To continue the celebration of #HeadStartAwareness Month, NHSA will be launching its 2020 BOLD Leadership Initiative. This two-part step is designed to recognize the remarkable challenges of 2020 and the Head Start community's extraordinary response. The outcomes are to acknowledge five Head Start alumni who impacted the national scale and recognize and celebrate current Head Start leaders who exemplify exceptional innovation and dedication to the Head Start mission. These five leaders will receive the BOLD Prize–one $10,000 grand prize winner and four $5,000 runners up. Stay tuned for more details. 

FHSA has opened the application process to attend its virtual Fall Leadership Data Camp. The Data Camp is designed for two attendees from each Head Start/Early Grantee in Florida. The curriculum and exercises are tailored to support the Grantee Program Director (the individual with the responsibility of the grant) and the second attendee, the agency's data guru (assistant director, database specialist, Child Plus, or other data system expert).  To learn more about this training, click here. 

Wanda Minick
Executive Director

Updates from the Office of Head Start 

Office of Head Start Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) System Renewed

On Friday, September 25, the Office of Head Start (OHS) released an announcement regarding new cooperative agreements and contracts for the National Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) System and the Regional TTA system. However, Florida, Region IV, was in pending status on the TTA regional networks. Since the release, FHSA has been informed that a training and technical assistance bridge contract for OHS Region IV has been awarded to ICF, effective September 28, 2020. The bridge contract is for a three-month base with three one-month options.  To read the full release, click here. 

ICYMI: Dr. B VLOG Using CLASS® for Quality Improvement in the Designation Renewal System

Here are a few noteworthy highlights from the VLOG.

  • Shifting to a growth mindset in DRS
  • Two deficiencies instead of one trigger for competition 
  • Two fiscal components instead of one (audit finding of going concern still exists and the new component to the fiscal condition is if you have two or more audit findings of material weakness or questioned costs associated with Head Start funds, then that would also trigger a need to compete)
  • Establish Quality Thresholds (all programs a minimum 6-6-3)
  • Quality thresholds do not trigger competition but use thresholds as an opportunity for growth 
  • Removed the bottom 10% criterion from CLASS® condition 
  • Raised CLASS® competitive thresholds (Triggers for competition now are a 5 for emotional support, a 5 for classroom organization, and instructional support. Up until July 31, 2025, that threshold will be 2.3. So below a 2.3 would be cause to compete. But after Aug. 1, 2025, 2.5 will be implemented)
  • CLASS® competitive thresholds = floor for quality (Focus on the 6-6-3) 
  • High-quality interactions remain important at Head Start 
  • Importance of strong site leadership (constantly support quality instruction, quality classroom organization to support the emotional support teachers need to be giving children
  • Regular feedback promotes teacher growth comes for site leaders

Visit the OHS COVID-19 resource page for the most current and updated information

Updates from the Office of Early Learning 

Click here to view OEL October Parents' Pages! This edition is complete with emotional awareness, helping babies and toddlers cope with feelings, Head Start Awareness Month, and so much more. 

FHSA Fall Leadership Training 

Apply today to join FHSA on November 19 & 20th for its first-ever Data Camp training. This training will be part of the FHSA Virtual Fall Leadership Training. 

This unique two-day professional development opportunity is designed for program directors and data managers, focusing on the many changes to Head Start/Early Head Start with regards to data and continuous quality improvement. It is required that organizations send a team of two, the program director and the data manager.  Applications are currently being accepted now through November 11th. Seating is limited so apply early. To get started, visit our webpage www.flheadstart.org/fall-leadership-training.

What's Happening Around the State 

The Florida Head Start Association Announces Florida’s Head Start Collaboration Director

FHSA is excited about the hiring of Florida's new Head Start State Collaboration Director, Mimi Jefferson. Mimi comes to us as an accomplished Early Childhood professional, entrepreneur, and advocate with significant Head Start experience. She is a former Head Start Director with over 20 years of Early Childhood Education experience in the private sector and Head Start. Please join me in welcoming Mimi! 

Download formal press release here. 

Children First named a top place to work

SARASOTA — Children First was recently recognized as a top place to work in the 25 “Best Places to Work” competition for Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

Hosted by independent firm Best Companies Group and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “the competition identifies and recognizes the area’s top employers who demonstrate workplace excellence and are known for retaining and recruiting the best and brightest employees,” according to a news release.

“Selected for its mission-driven approach to employment, Children First was named the No. 12 top place to work in Sarasota-Manatee and was the top-ranked nonprofit organization out of the four recognized,” the news release said. “This is the second consecutive year that the organization, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services, has been named to this prestigious list.”

FHSA welcomes Florida Children's Council's new CEO, Michelle Watson

Ms. Watson comes to the Florida Children's Council as the Policy Chief for Florida’s Office of Early Learning after a career in Polk County as an educator. In 2012, she founded Watson Policy Solutions to help organizations identify systemic issues, develop new processes, and create system improvements. 

Ms. Watson has been involved with the Council's work for many years, utilizing her expertise in data analysis and system development in education, policy, and finance, making her the perfect fit to assume this role. You can read the full press release here. 

The FLAEYC Annual Conference will take place virtually October 15- 17, 2020. This 3-day virtual conference will provide a variety of Early Learning workshops for Florida's early childhood educators with plenty of opportunities for personal and professional growth. Click here to register!

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record brings together millions of adults and children around the world each year to read the same book on the same day to raise awareness about the critical importance of early literacy and access to high-quality books. This year's Read for the Record will take place on October 29, 2020, and the book chosen this year is Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina. It is a celebration of lasting friendship, the power of connection, and encountering change. Click here to learn more about participating. 

Updates from NHSA 

NHSA’s 38th annual Parent and Family Engagement Conference is scheduled for November 30 - December 3, 2020. 
This conference will explore a wide range of new resources and thinking on the forefront topics of young children and how Head Start programs can address the needs of children, families, and staff. While the NHSA team is busy finalizing the full program, you can take a sneak peek at some of the sessions here. 

Funding for Head Start Emerges Amid COVID-19 Relief Negotiations

On September 29, 2020, NHSA released a press statement regarding the revitalized COVID-19 negotiations in Washington that strengthened congressional support for community-based Head Start programs' critical funding. In the updated HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) was made public on September 28. The House of Representatives leadership included $1.7 billion to fill the funding gap and provide safe in-person, virtual, and home-based education, health, nutrition, and family support services to America’s most vulnerable children and families. This bill passed in the House; however, nothing is final. It is abundantly clear that Congress has heard the Head Start community loud and clear. Stay tuned for updates about Congress’s next move. To read the full press release, click here. 

ICYMI: NHSA 2020 Fall Leadership Institute virtual Hill Day Rally was held on September 23. Florida was represented by FHSA and RIVHSA 2019 Parent of the Year Martiza Vasquez, providing her testimony on the benefits of how Early Head Start and Head Start impacted her life and her foster children's lives.  LaTanya Wynn-Hall, Head Start Director at Lutheran Services Florida, Duval, and FHSA RIVHSA Representative, provided greetings to jump-start the virtual rally. The full rally video can be viewed here. 

Employment Opportunities

Chief Operating Officer | North Florida Child Development, Wewahitchka, Florida

Head Start DirectorLutheran Services Florida, Pinellas, FL 

Child Development Specialist | Mid Florida Community Services, Inc., Deland, FL 

>>> See More Job Openings  

The census deadline is quickly approaching. Don't forget to fill out the #2020Census! Florida lost out on $20 Billion from 2010-2020 due to census undercounting. Healthcare, education, transportation, and housing; strategic planning for private and public organizations and representation depend on an accurate count. Deadline Extended, October 31, 2020!


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Florida Head Start Association
111 N. Gadsden Street, Suite 200 |  Tallahassee, FL 32301
[email protected] | www.FLHeadStart.org

(850) 694-6477