access to download 2023 wage study, plus so much more

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

Letter from the Executive Director 

FHSA hopes everyone had a safe and happy summer and is ready to return to the Heart Work for a new Head Start year. FHSA understands the challenges programs face, but one of the most significant is that your funding is at risk. I was in Alexandria, Virginia, last month with my Head Start colleagues from NHSA and nationwide, and rumors were swirling about a potential federal shutdown in the fall. Both the House and Senate need to come together on a budget, and they couldn't be further from each other. The House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee has proposed cutting Head Start by $750 million for the next fiscal year! This will result in roughly 3,957 Florida children being unable to participate in Head Start or Early Head Start due to lack of funds. We cannot allow this to happen! The Senate Appropriations Committee, on the other hand, approved a deeply bipartisan spending bill that increases Head Start funding by $275 million. While the increase is well short of what is needed, it is a positive step in the long appropriations process. I hope you plan to join me in D.C. later this month at NHSA Fall Leadership Institute so we can tell Congress not to cut funding to Head Start and help them understand the ripple effects this cut would have on our county's already fractured early care and education system.  

As I have been promising, the Florida Head Start Dashboard and 2023 Wage Study are ready! I want to take a moment and personally thank our members who dedicated their time to help make both these items a reality.  I understand taking time out of your day to provide input and commitment to ensure we have a quality product to provide our members is certainly a big ask these days. I appreciate you all for accepting the challenge and helping FHSA make these two enhancements a reality.  

FHSA Dashboard Workgroup

  • Alex Brault, Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, Inc.
  • Racquel Domond, Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, Inc.
  • Kimberly Eichner, Broward County School Board Head Start/Early Head Start 
  • Kimberly Singer, Head Start Collaboration Office 

Here is a link to the Florida Head Start Dashboard. We are working with our webmaster to place it on our website. Remember, this is just the beginning of the work FHSA has embarked upon to show the impact of Head Start programs in our state, in your communities, and the further need for investment. As you will see, many children still need to be served, but we cannot meet the needs of our most at-risk children and families in Florida due to insufficient funding.  During FHSA Leadership Training we will have Transform Consulting Group, Inc. on hand to unveil the dashboard, share the process for developing the custom data dashboards, and explore how FHSA members can utilize this information to make the case locally for supporting Head Start.   

FHSA Wage Study Workgroup

  • Dr. Sabrina Tassey-Lewis, Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department
  • Cindy Metz, Community Coordinated Care for Children, Inc. (4C)
  • Anjeza Osmenaj, RCMA  
  • Kathy Patreka, Step Up Suncoast, Inc. 
  • Marla Russell, Monroe County Public School Head Start 
  • Kimbely Singer, Head Start Collaboration Office 

To access a copy of the 2023 Wage Study, you will need to log into the FHSA website by using this link. FHSA will also provide some printed copies to those attending our Leadership Training on October 25-27, 2023, at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village. We will have Kevin Whorton, Whorton Marketing Research to walk us through this tool how best to use at your program. Check below for registration information for this event. 

It's membership renewal month. We have already had programs complete that renewal process; thank you! Memberships expire on September 30, 2023. Please don't let your membership lapse and miss out on your member benefits. Scroll down below for more information about how to complete the renewal process. If you have any questions or need assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me at (850) 694-6477 or [email protected]  

In Fellowship, 

Wanda Minick
Executive Director 

Office of Head Start Updates

Improving Access to ACF Programs and Services

As part of the Administration of Children and Families' ongoing work, they have released resources tailored to guide hard-to-reach populations to increase awareness and understanding of the array of programs and resources available. Head Start-specific resources can be customized with local program information. You can view them here. 

ICYMI: Change in Scope Applications Webinar

Change in scope has been a hot topic, so if your program plans programmatic changes to serve local communities best, consider watching this webinar. 

Slides can be downloaded here. 

  • Section 640(g)(3) allows programs to propose a reduction to funded enrollment to maintain quality of program services. 

  • Section 645(a)(5) permits programs to convert Head Start slots to Early Head Start slots to better meet community need.

Register now to attend the FHSA Leadership Training & Annual Awards Luncheon on October 25-27, 2023, at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida. We will host 2 days of training, networking, and celebrating this year's annual award winners. 

This year's training event will focus on the workforce, recruitment, and retention goals by developing leaders, improving team performance, and strengthening the work culture. We will also showcase the Head Start Dashboard and our 2023 wage study.  

FHSA will also celebrate our state award winners during our annual awards luncheon.  

Deadline to register is October 18, 2023.  


What's Happening Around the State

A huge shout out to the entire Episcopal Children's Services team for taking the initiative to connect with their lawmakers during their congressional recess. FHSA enjoyed touring the Episcopal Children's Services Clearmont Head Start/Early Head Start program alongside Congressman Webster and his team. Anessa Timmons, Center Manager, provided an excellent tour, overview, and Head Start's role in their local community.  


Visual Acuity 101 for Head Start Kids: Uncover Vision Disorders Before Eyes Stop Growing

One in four children has a vision problem. Since treatment efficacy declines as we age, early detection and treatment are critical. Left untreated, kids can experience many challenges, including blindness. The leading cause of vision loss in kids, amblyopia, is almost always treatable when found early.
The goal is to find vision disorders before children’s eyes have finished developing. Visual acuity testing is our best tool. It detects refractive errors by measuring the ability of the eye to distinguish shapes and details of distant objects.

Catch risk factors early!

Refractive errors are the most common vision disorders in children--myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (an imperfection in eye curvature). They occur when light isn’t focused on the retina, causing blurred vision. They are also risk factors for amblyopia.
Children are born hyperopic because our eyes grow until we’re about 10 years old. A child with uncontrolled eye growth may have an eye that grows more rapidly or doesn’t stop growing until well after 10. This stretches the retina, which increases the chances of a retinal detachment in the future. It’s a significant problem with myopia. Click here to read more.  

"When Head Start locations were required to start screening every child with an evidence-based screener, I knew the device we already had would not adequately meet mandated screening deadlines. I needed a device with higher efficiency and mobility. We’ve been thrilled with GoCheck’s speed, instant results, ease of use, and mobility." -Whitney Pile, Health & Nutrition Specialist, Murray, KY Head Start.


NHSA Submits Comments on Improving Child Care

More than one-third of Head Start programs also offer child care subsidies to better extend the program day or year to meet the needs of working or student parents. With that perspective in mind, NHSA submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in support of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the Child Care Development Fund. 

Some key provisions in the proposed rule are:

  • Capping family copayments at seven percent of income
  • Expanding the use of grants and contracts
  • Encourage states to use additional flexibilities to expand eligibility and ease enrollment processes

The proposed regulatory change does not come with additional funding. 


The Impact of Proposed Budget Cuts to Head Start

Over the summer, NHSA has been learning from programs nationwide about the effects of the proposed $750 million in cuts to Head Start and Early Head Start included in the House appropriations bill. A cut of this magnitude, paired with the current level of inflation, would force Head Start programs nationwide to serve roughly 80,000 fewer children and families.
The impact of such cuts is widespread and varies from program to program. In addition to 80,000 fewer children served the proposed cut would affect workforce compensation, facility maintenance and renovation, transportation services, and more. This brief elevates the impact of what a 10% budget cut would have on programs. Click here to view. 


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. 


NHSA Parent Family Engagement Conference
December 4-7, 2023 | New Orleans, LA

NHSA's annual Parent and Family Engagement Conference is the only national event focusing on how Head Start parents, families, and staff can best partner to promote family engagement and children's development.

This conference will explore a wide range of new resources and thinking on the forefront topics of early childhood development and how Head Start programs can address the needs of children, families, and staff. To learn more about this event, click here. 

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





Three Things Heightening Head Start Awareness

Upcoming Events

11: Rule Workshop 6M-8.620, Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Coordinated Screening and Progress Monitoring Program 

12: Office of Head Start (OHS) Webcast: FY24 Monitoring Kickoff 

13: Workforce Wednesday Webinar: Sustaining Compensation Investments Beyond the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding 

13: Improving Staff Wellness and Job Satisfaction 

13: Establishing Partnerships: Connecting Head Start and Community Colleges 

14: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in the CACFP 

14: Let’s Talk About Alternative Methodologies: Discussion #4: Analyzing Child Care Cost Data for Cost-Informed Decision-Making 

18 - 24: NHSA Fall Leadership Institute 

19: Engaging Families in Head Start Programs and WIC 

20: Starting a Healthy and Safe School Year 

25- 28: RIVHSA 2023 Early Head Start Institute


Member Information 

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

Important Links

#Remember to Renew Logo

FHSA would like to express our gratitude to all the agencies who have already renewed their membership for 2024. We aim to elevate the Head Start community through member benefits in professional development, peer-to-peer networking, and providing access to resources and communications. We believe in advancing actions to strengthen collaborations and increase awareness of Head Start and Early Head Start in our state. We hope you will help us by renewing your membership today. 

Deadline to renew is
September 30, 2023!

Agency Membership Renewals

  • Agricultural and Labor Program, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Broward County School Board Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Capital Area Community Action Agency, Inc.

  • Children First Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Children's Home Society of Florida - Orlando

  • Early Learning Coalition Miami-Dade/Monroe County

  • Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River Inc.

  • Episcopal Children's Services Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Jackson County Early Childhood Program

  • Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend

  • Martin County School District Head Start

  • North Florida Child Development, Inc.

  • School Board of Polk County

  • St. Johns County School District Head Start

  • Step-Up Suncoast, Inc.

  • Tri-County Community Council, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start

Corporate Friends 

  • Miami Dade Family Learning Partnership, Inc.
  • Simply Healthcare
  • Hatch Early Learning

Individual Friends 

  • Bob Bialas
  • Kymberly Cook
  • Cheryl Fountain
  • Carolyn Harden
  • Cindy Kaier

If you have any questions about how to renew your membership, please contact Wanda Minick at (850) 694- 6477 or email [email protected] 

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

FHSA Congratulations our Annual Award Winners

Join us on October 27, 2023, at The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida, to celebrate our state award winners who made extraordinary contributions to their programs and exemplify the highest quality standards in their communities.  

Click the links below to view press releases for each of our award winners:  

Parent of the Year, Krystle Dominguez, Mid Florida Community Services, Inc.  

Father of the Year,Darnellion Brown, Orange County Board of Commission-Orange County Head Start 

Beating the Odds, Leah Jones, Children First, Inc.  

Administrator of the Year, Dr. Matie Riestra-Quintero, Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department  

Teacher of the Year, Zaida Rojas, Children's Home Society, Orlando  

Staff of the Year, Alisa Thorton, The Agricultural and Labor Program, Inc.  

Support Staff of the Year, Bryan Ward, Episcopal Children's Services 

Achievement Award, Jane Shaw, Children First, Inc.  

Corporate Award, PNC Bank 

Scholarship Head Start Staff, LaShawn'te Lee, Children First, Inc 

FHSA National Head Start Award State Finalists:

Edward Zigler Innovation Award, School Board of Brevard County  

Sargent Shriver Excellence in Community Services Award, Jean Managini, Mid-Florida Community Services, Inc.  

Aubrey Pucket Memorial Award, Kathleen Sullivan, Children First, Inc.  

Vanessa Rich Leadership Award, Andrea Fraizer, Hillsborough County Board of  Commissioners 


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]