December 2017 / January 2018
Updates from IHSA Executive Director, Lauri Morrison-Frichtl
Happy Holidays!!!  May they be merry and bright!  I hope you find time to relax and enjoy each moment.  During the holiday season it's easy to forget that sometimes the best gift of all is simply the gift of time.  So, that's my wish for each of you, the gift of time.  Time to relax and unwind, time with family and friends and time to reflect and look forward to the upcoming year.

I am already looking forward to 2018.  Here's what's on the horizon:

1.  A chance to make changes to CLASS .  The Office of Head Start published a request for comment on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Condition of the Designation Renewal System (DRS) in the  Federal Register .   Comments may be submitted on  and are due by Feb. 6, 2018.   To summarize, the Office of Head Start is requesting a "call for comments" about the use of the CLASS tool in the Designation Renewal System (DRS) and is considering the following three changes:
  1. Removal of the lowest 10% mandatory re-compete provision
  2. Raising the minimum thresholds for the Classroom Organization and Emotional Support domains to a score of 5
  3. Removal of the minimum threshold for the Instructional Support domain, and instead establishing Secretarial authority to set the Instructional Support domain minimum threshold by August 1st of each fiscal year

Updates from Associate Head Start State Collaboration Director, Donna Emmons

Where did 2017 go?  Wasn't it just summer and then school started and now the holidays are behind us!  Wow!  Life moves fast!

Here are a few items of interest as you start out 2018!

ECBG Grants:  Yes, these are due very soon.  The PFA and PFAE grants are due January 12.  The PI grants are due February 9.  All grants are due by 4:00 PM that day and are NOT electronic.  They are hard copy, so plan accordingly.  You may wish to hand carry the grants to the ISBE location specified in the RFP or send them certified mail with a signature so you know the proposal(s) arrive on time.  Also the grants require you to include a USB flash drive with an electronic copy of your proposal on it.  Don't forget that!

Check out the RFP webinars on the ISBE RFP site  HERE

Also there are helpful resources  HERE .  


Head Start Welcomes Administration's Review of Designation Renewal System
December 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC - The National Head Start Association today applauded an announcement from the Administration that it will reevaluate a regulation that NHSA has long argued is ineffective, arbitrary, and unnecessarily burdensome on Head Start programs. Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an official request for comments on a proposal that would change the Designation Renewal System's (DRS) use of the CLASS tool, including the removal of the arbitrary lowest 10 percent provision and the adjustment of the minimum thresholds across all three domains. This announcement was publicly made by Steven Wagner, the Acting Assistant Secretary at HHS' Administration of Children and Families, during remarks at NHSA's 2017 Parent and Family Engagement Conference this morning.

SIUE team wins national prize for augmented reality in Head Start proposal
December 7, 2017 

EDWARDSVILLE - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville computer science graduate student Ehren Wolfe and Stephen Hupp, PhD, professor of psychology in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, along with a team of creative minds from across the nation, earned first place for their innovative ideas during the 2017 Tech and Early Education Incubator held Dec. 2-3 in Austin, Texas.

The incubator event brought together technology, design and early childhood innovators, and challenged them to "develop an idea that enhances the impact of early childhood education through the use of technology." Wolfe and Hupp were invited to the competition because of their  research involving a robot named Mo, who has worked with children in SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms.
Data Point: In 15 states, more than half of children receive health insurance through Medicaid and CHIP

For millions of children across the country, health insurance access depends on two government-sponsored programs: Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Nationwide, 43 percent of children receive health insurance through government-sponsored programs like these, as of 2015.

Longtime Riverbend Head Start President/CEO Chuck Parr to retire, new president/CEO appointed
December 27, 2017 

ALTON - Chuck Parr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Riverbend Head Start and Family Services, officially announced he will retire at the end of December 2017, after leading the children and family development organization for 30 years. Parr has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization since 1987 when he was first hired as the Head Start program director and division Vice President of the agency from 1992-1997. At that time the agency was known as Family Service and Visiting Nurse Association. Prior to Parr's employment with Riverbend Head Start, he was instrumental in the 
development of the Illinois Head Start Association (IHSA) as co-founder back in the 1970's. Parr has worked with children's programs his entire career, beginning in 1973 as a social worker for a children's residential center and community mental health youth advocacy.

Using Technology to Support Family Engagement
via Kaplan

An important part of your family engagement strategy is finding ways to connect with parents, because communication is a must for establishing and developing relationships with children's families. Communication with parents used to consist of conferences, phone calls, and printed newsletters, but your options of how and when you communicate with parents have greatly increased thanks to the various types of technology now available.

However, using technology to connect and communicate with parents comes with its own set of issues. Technology access is not equal for all families, so it's important that you incorporate the technology most parents have access to or offer an alternative for parents without internet access. In Digital Decisions, Fran Simon and Karen Nemeth state that "the digital divide is oddly narrower when it comes to membership in social media sites and the use of texting. We find that families who have no other access to technology may still have a phone with data service or a smartphone, and even if their smartphone is their only access to the Internet, they are likely to participate in Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter."

Fun Activities to Do With Your Kids During the Holiday Break
via Kaplan

Looking forward to spending some quality time with your kids during the holiday break? We've come up with a great list of fun activities you can do together as a family. As an added bonus, they'll also keep kids from getting bored or too wired for you to handle!

1. Have a Snowball Fight!
Whether you get to play in real snow over the holidays or use our  Snowtime Anytime Snowballs, having a family snowball fight is a great way to spend time with your kids and keep them physically active during the holiday break.

2. Solve Winter Puzzles Together

Membership Matters
Thanks to all Agencies that have responded positively to our 2017 Membership Campaign. We are pleased to report that 94% of Illinois Agencies are currently Illinois Head Start Association Members! 2018 Membership information will be mailed in January.

2017 IHSA Agency Members:

Riverbend Head Start & Family Services
Southern Seven Health Department
Catholic Charities of Joliet
Governors State University
Baby Talk, Inc.
Project NOW
El Valor
Champaign County Head Start
City of Rockford
Tazewell-Woodford Head Start
Tri-County Opportunities Council
Community Action Partnership of Central IL
Anna Waters Head Start
Community Link
Western Egyptian EOC
Childcare Network of Evanston
Children's Home & Aid
Heartland Head Start
Mount Vernon School District #80
Quincy Head Start
Rock Island - Milan School District #41
Evanston/Skokie School District #65
Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago
Illinois Action for Children
CAP of Lake County
Metropolitan Family Services
PACT-West Central
Wabash Area Development Inc.
CAA McHenry Co
Kankakee School District #111
Howard Area
Chicago Commons
East Central Illinois Community Action
West Central Community Services
Two Rivers
Christopher House
Centerstone Early Head Start
Chicago Family Support Services
YWCA  Metropolitan Chicago
IHSA Upcoming Training Opportunities

January 2018
January 9th: Education QEC (all regions)
January 10th: Mental Health & Disabilities QEC (all regions)
January 11th: Health & Nutrition QEC (all regions)
January 12th: EHS QEC (central and chicago) / Family Services QEC (south)
January 16th: Family Services QEC (central and chicago)

February 2018
February 8th: HR Webinar Series #3 HR Systems & Best Practices
February 21-23, 2018: IHSA ANNUAL TRAINING & PARENT CONFERENCE (Don't miss the Early Bird Registration Rate available until 1/1/2018) - MORE INFO HERE

March 2018
March 2nd: Let's Talk about Transportation 
March 7th & 8th: Practice Based Coaching - Coach's Training - MORE INFO HERE
March 14th & 15th: CLASS Observation Training ( ONLY 7 SPOTS LEFT ) - MORE INFO HERE
Current Job Openings


Spotlighting Innovative Bright Practices!

IHSA Staff Alumni Project

IHSA Staff Alumni Project

Illinois Head Start Staff Alumni project mission: To encourage and support former Head Start staff who still love the program to reconnect, become informed, and receive opportunities to make a difference in local programs and the state association.  You are Head Start.

Were you on staff in a Head Start program?  Did you love it? Was it one of the most exciting times in your life?  Did it seem like a calling rather than just a job?  

IMAGINE if you could:
  • Reconnect with colleagues from Head Start throughout Illinois
  • Build a social network; plan some activities including attendance at the Friend's component annual meeting at an affordable price
  • Get updated and informed on Head Start in Illinois and across the nation
  • Lend your voice to advocate for this wonderful program
  • Get ideas and opportunities to volunteer or donate if you choose
  • Have fun 
  • Be a model for other Head Start programs across the country
$2 Per Child Campaign!

Happy New Year! 

Illinois Head Start Association
3435 Liberty Drive
Springfield, IL 62704