JUNE 2016
Updates from IHSA Executive Director, Lauri Morrison-Frichtl
Happy Fourth of July!   Here's to a peaceful, fun and relaxing holiday weekend!  

A couple of things to highlight for the June IHSAdvisor.  First, the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for Early Head Start Expansion (EHS) and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Grants was released last week.  The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced the availability of approximately $135 million to be competitively awarded for the purpose of expanding access to high-quality, comprehensive early learning services for low-income infants and toddlers and their families.  New entities or existing grantees can apply to use funding to partner with local child care providers to provide comprehensive, high-quality services to eligible infants and toddlers through EHS-CC Partnerships.  Because EHS-CC Partnerships may not be the best fit for every community, new entities or existing Head Start and EHS grantees can apply to expand the number of center-based slots in traditional EHS programs through Non Partnership EHS Expansion. New entities or existing grantees also can apply to both expand the number of EHS center-based slots and implement the EHS-CC Partnership model designed to bring EHS services to infants and toddlers in child care and family child care settings. Funds awarded through this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) must not supplant existing subsidies or other funding.  In awarding these funds, ACF will prioritize organizations that seek to develop a unified birth-to-school-entry continuum through alignment of federal, state, and locally funded early care and education programs and improve the overall capacity of the community to offer high quality infant toddler care. Through this FOA, applicants have the choice of applying in one of three ways: 1) EHS-CC Partnerships, 2) Non-Partnership EHS Expansion or 3) a mix of both EHS-CC Partnerships and Non-Partnership EHS Expansion.  However, applicant entities may submit only one application per service area, regardless of how they choose to apply.  ACF will review only one application for a service area from any applicant.  Applications are due  August 24th.  IHSA plans to offer a one day training to support those applying sometime in early July.  Details on the training will be provided soon.  Also, IHSA will have a review panel ready to review draft applications in early August.  Let us know if you are interested in this opportunity.

Secondly, on June 17th, the Office of Head Start notified programs about the modification of several monitoring events during fiscal year (FY) 2017. CLASS, ERSEA, and new EHS-CC Partnership reviews will continue to take place. FY17 reviews for Leadership Governance and Management Systems, Environmental Health and Safety, Fiscal and Comprehensive Services, and School Readiness will not take place unless issues or concerns arise.  OHS notes that these changes will allow programs, reviewers, and OHS staff adequate time to implement and fully understand the new Standards. 

Speaking of the new Performance Standards, we are hearing that the new Performance Standards might be coming a little bit earlier than thought.  We also are hearing rumors that they might require implementation sooner.  Maybe why they are suspending some of the monitoring visits.
Things to watch for once they are released.  
1.  Will they keep the proposed language regarding our work with families?  
2.  Will they make the Optimized Dosage suggested in the Proposed Standards mandatory?
3.  Will they make it mandatory that if a program operates in a service area with high quality publicly funded pre-kindergarten that is available for a full school day, the program must prioritize child age to serve younger children? 

IHSA has many opportunities planned to support you with "unpacking the standards" once they arrive.  Watch for our Professional Development Calendar!
Remember, ISBE is providing quality dollars to support PFA programs to go full day and provide more comprehensive like services.  Plus, MIECHV is expanding.  We hope you are actively involved in your community with both these efforts.

Have a great weekend!
Take care, 

Updates from Associate Head Start State Collaboration Director, Shauna Ejeh
June Tidbits
Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Funding Opportunity Announcement Released 6/23/16
The Offices of Head Start and Child Care have developed a toolkit to assist organizations in determining the appropriateness of applying for this funding opportunity. You can find more information at this LINK.
DCFS-HS/EHS Intergovernmental Agreement Effective July 1, 2016-June 30, 2019 found here:
The Intergovernmental Agreement that that applies to all Illinois Head Start/Early Head Start program can be found at this LINK. Please review the document and share with your staff. If you have any questions or need to be added to the email list for the quarterly DCFS/POS/HS regional meetings, please contact Shauna at sejeh@ilheadstart.org.

ICAAP Explains HS/EHS Health Requirements to Members
The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics' most recent newsletter featured an article that discussed how the work of Head Start programs intersects with the medical community. Here is the LINK.

Blog by Yasmina Vinci: Early Head Start: A Stand Out Success
It's a painful reality that too many children in our country face
challenges beginning at birth. During a recent visit to the Head 
Start community in West Virginia, I heard from programs about just what Nicholas Kristof describes in his recent column, Building
Children's Brains , - babies born on drugs, early attachments interrupted when parents are incarcerated, and communities overwhelmed by the instability of families. To Mr. Kristof's point - we need to invest in the earliest years of life to ensure our children are fully prepared to compete in their later years. Nobel-winning economist  Dr. James Heckman  nails it, "The road to college attainment, higher wages and social mobility in the United States starts at birth. The greatest barrier to college education is not high tuitions or the risk of student debt; it's in the skills children have when they first enter kindergarten." The stark reality is the biggest obstacles and greatest inequality often have roots early in life. And that's where Head Start plays a critical, life-altering role for nearly one million vulnerable children each year.

STEM Should Be Part of Every Pre-K Program
May 19, 2016
by Lauren Camera

STEM can be easily incorporated in early childhood education programs.

The Obama administration has made universal preschool a priority during the second half of its White House tenure, and as a result, states and corporations have begun ramping up investment in early childhood education.
But it's unclear whether those programs are incorporating science, technology, engineering and math learning, and for the ones that do, it's unclear how effective the STEM curriculum is.
"What we're not doing in government and private research is following up on what works and why," said Russell Shilling, executive director for STEM at the Department of Education, who spoke Thursday at  U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference. "We've got to change that."
To begin that process, Shilling said, the department plans to release in the coming months a 10-year vision for STEM learning - similar in mission to the Department of Defense's advanced research project arm.
"We are underestimating kids," Shilling said. "Life-long learning should start in pre-K for STEM education."
What people often miss about STEM, experts on the early childhood education panel said, is that it doesn't have to incorporate digital learning tablets or other types of fancy technology.
Children can build different structures with blocks to learn about engineering. They can fill plastic cups with holes drilled in various places to learn about water pressure. They can roll marbles down ramps, watch a top swirl, or use lights to create shadows - all of which involve STEM concepts at very little cost.
"In a high-quality program, you are going to have STEM going on," said Beth Dykstra Van Meeteren, director of the Center for Early Education in STEM at the University of Northern Iowa. "Instead of thinking about what can we do to teach kids about engineering and STEM, the question should be where does STEM already exists in the child's world and how can we get them to engage?"

 Too Small To Fail
June 2, 2016
by Nicholas Kristof

First, a quiz: What's the most common "vegetable" eaten by American toddlers?
Answer: The French fry.
The same  study that unearthed that nutritional tragedy also found that on any given day, almost half of American toddlers drink soda or similar drinks, possibly putting the children on a trajectory toward obesity or diabetes.
But for many kids, the problems start even earlier. In West Virginia, one study  found, almost one-fifth of children are born with alcohol or drugs in their system. Many thus face an uphill struggle from the day they are born.
Bear all this in mind as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump battle over taxes, minimum wages and whether to make tuition free at public universities. Those are legitimate debates, but the biggest obstacles and greatest inequality often have roots early in life:
If we want to get more kids in universities, we should invest in preschools.
Actually, preschool may be a bit late. Brain research in the last dozen years underscores that the time of life that may shape adult outcomes the most is pregnancy through age 2 or 3.
"The road to college attainment, higher wages and social mobility in the United States starts at birth," notes James Heckman, a Nobel-winning economist at the University of Chicago. "The greatest barrier to college education is not high tuitions or the risk of student debt; it's in the skills children have when they first enter kindergarten."
Heckman is not a touchy-feely bleeding heart. He's a math wiz renowned for his work on econometrics. But he is focusing his work on early education for disadvantaged children because he sees that as perhaps the highest-return public investment in the world today.

Report: Early childhood education programs key to success of dual language learners
June 7, 2016
by Susan Frey and Louis Freedberg
Early childhood education programs in California have a critically important role to play in preparing children whose first language is not English to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, according to a new EdSource report.
Titled  "Promoting Success for Dual Language Learners: The Essential Role of Early Childhood Education Programs," the report outlines seven challenges these programs face in meeting the needs of children under the age of 5 from diverse language backgrounds.
These include balancing the need to promote fluency in a child's home language while also moving the child to becoming proficient in English, finding staff with facility in a language in addition to English, and engaging families who are not fluent in English in their child's education from an early age. Meeting those challenges will require coordinated efforts at the local, regional and state levels, the report asserted.
In recent years, California has taken the lead nationally in promoting a variety of strategies for how early learning programs - from infant and toddler care to preschool programs - can more effectively serve dual language learners. California has more English learners than any other state. Nearly 1 in 4 children in the state's public schools are classified as "English learners," and the percentage is thought to be even higher in preschool and other early learning programs.

Preschool Academic Skills Improve Only When Instruction is Good to Excellent
Date Published: June 7, 2016

Study also finds that children show larger gains in academic skills with more time in Head Start.

New research combining eight large child care studies reveals that preschools prepare children to succeed academically when teachers provide higher quality instruction.
Margaret Burchinal, senior scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, led a research team whose findings have groundbreaking implications for publicly-funded early care and education. They found as the overall quality of instruction in preschool classrooms increases, children experience better outcomes across a range of skills, but the needle only moves on language and reading skills when instructional quality is at or above a threshold.
"Preschoolers in center-based care showed larger gains in reading and language when their teachers spent more time supporting their learning-but only if the quality of instruction was in the moderate to high range," Burchinal said.

The Bigger Picture: For her, Head Start's still paying off

June 7, 2016
by Spencer Tulis 

Head Start was founded in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's
War on Poverty.
Geneva Head Start got on board early, and the program celebrated its 50th year in 2015. It's quite an achievement considering a lot of other Head Starts haven't survived due to funding, staffing, and other issues.
Head Start was originally conceived as a summer school effort to get low-income children ready to start elementary school. In 1981, the Head Start Act expanded the program, offering full-day classes during the school year for 4-year-olds and half-day classes for 3-year-olds.
The mission of Head Start is to provide comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to children and their families. Kids from low-income families and those with disabilities or special needs are given priority.
The late Anne Acree was a former director of Geneva Head Start for 16 years until her death in 2002. A scholarship has been established and named in her honor. All the applicants for it are former Head Start students.
This year's award recipients are Isiah Richardson, Delmarius Jackson and Brooke Maybee.
I met with Brooke a few weeks ago. The 18-year-old has a twin brother along with seven other siblings.
Her mom is a teacher's assistant at West Street School. It is one of two jobs that keeps her working most days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Brooke's father passed away a few years ago. Needless to say, life, at times, has been a struggle, but Brooke's grades haven't suffered - ultimately leading to her attending Ithaca College this coming fall.


An Early Head Start
June 26, 2016
Copyright © 2016,  The Baltimore Sun

'The road to college, higher wages and social mobility starts at birth.'

It's no secret why children from poor and minority communities often start school at a substantial disadvantage compared to their peers from more affluent backgrounds. The reasons for the disparities are well known: poverty, family instability, lack of access to health care services and regular medical checkups and too few opportunities for high-quality educational and recreational experiences that help children reach their full potential. When children grow up with so many deficits during their crucial formative years, the effect on their ability to catch up later in life can be devastating.
That's why the Baltimore City Health Department has joined with the Maryland Family Network to open a new Early  Head Start center in West Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, the first such facility entirely operated by the city. With about 45 low-income families and their children as clients, it will become one of nine Early Head Start programs in Baltimore serving a total of 420 children.
The long-neglected community where  Freddie Gray grew up is one of the city's most impoverished, with high rates of joblessness, vacant and abandoned properties, failing schools and crime. Early Head Start, which was created in 1994 as a follow-on to the hugely successful, war-on-poverty era Head Start initiative, aims to support low-income families, pregnant women, babies and toddlers up to age 3 by linking them with wrap-around medical, mental health, nutritional and educational services.

How the U.S. government is actually evaluating teachers (not just telling states how to do it)
June 27, 2017
by Valerie Strauss

Many school reformers and their critics have long been at odds over using student standardized test scores as an important way to tease out a teacher's "value" in student achievement. The methods used to do this don't work for individual teachers, but they became popular anyway as part of the Obama administration's Race to the Top initiative, which allowed states to win federal funds by enacting certain reforms, including such educator assessment systems. It turns out that the federal government is now doing more than trying to dictate to states how to evaluate teachers. This is about federal workers actually evaluating teachers - and using the scores to close down Head Start programs and eliminate jobs.
I have recently published two posts about the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, known as CLASS, an assessment that supposedly measures the quality of teacher-child interactions across three major domains: emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. It was developed for use in research, program planning and evaluation, professional development and supervision, and program accountability. But now the federal government is using the scores for "accountability" purposes to the point where Head Start programs can lose funding if their scores are just a fraction too low.
There is now a move being spearheaded by some U.S. lawmakers to urge the administration to reform the system that allows CLASS   scores to have such an important role in program assessment.
Here's a new piece on this issue by Alan Guttman, the program manager of Early Childhood and Special Education Initiatives at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Center for Technology in Education, where he is coordinating the validation study of Maryland's child care Quality Rating and Improvement System. He has worked in the field of early care and education for 36 years and is a former Head Start project director. From 2001-2012, Guttman served on federal review teams monitoring and evaluating Head Start education services and program management systems. In 2012, he served on these teams as a certified reliable CLASS reviewer, assessing the quality of Head Start teacher-child interactions using CLASS. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of any group with which he is associated.

Research shows the benefits of early childhood education on math, reading
July 1, 2016
By Tara García Mathewson

Dive Brief:
  • A new study released by the American Institutes for Research found children who attended center-based care in the year before kindergarten performed better than their peers who did not as they entered kindergarten in 2010.
  • In announcing the study, AIR said slightly more students attended center-based care in 2012 than in 1995 (58% versus 55%), but fewer Latinos (48%) and Pacific Islanders (28%) did the same, and children from homes that speak a language other than English were less likely to have regular early care and education arrangements.
  • Children who had regular early care  including daycare centers, preschool and nonrelative home carehad better learning approaches, more cognitive flexibility and better math scores than those who did not. In reading, children who primarily had home-based care of any kind scored lower.

Upcoming Training and Events


August 4, 2016 - Vanessa Rich Leadership Experience Series Phase Three 
Catholic Charities Joliet

IHSA Annual Conference and Parent Institute 
February 1 - 3, 2017
Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Normal Illinois

2016 - 2017 IHSA Professional Development Training Packet!!

FREE CURRICULUM: Get active, get outside and play this summer!
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has developed the Sunbeatables Program to educate teachers, parents, and children about sun protection and sun safety behaviors. As a result of the curriculum, children will be able to express why sun protection is important and demonstrate how to protect their skin from the sun.
Getting Sunbeatables is as easy as 1-2-3:
  1. Complete the program participation form
  2. Complete the pre-recorded online training webinar. (The link to access the training will be provided after completion of your participation form.)
  3. When you are finished viewing the webinar, complete the short online evaluation survey.
Your free Sunbeatables curriculum kit will be shipped to you after completion of your evaluation survey.

Current Job Openings


Use these customizable paper dolls to help children learn to identify their emotions 
How to use: HSCI Paper Dolls
These paper dolls can be used during classroom activities to teach children about feelings and emotions. The dolls can be laminated and the faces may be interchanged by using hook and loop tape. The color dolls may be used during circle time to illustrate how a character from a storybook might feel, or when two children have an interpersonal conflict. During these times, you might ask questions such as: "How did you feel when Michael said no?" or "How do you think Bella felt when you ran away?" The children can select the feeling face that represents how they or a character felt during and after a conflict. The black and white paper dolls may be cut out and decorated by the children to represent themselves. 

Meet the new IHSA 2016 - 2017 Parent Ambassadors!

Alexis Foreman,  Alicia Feliciano,  Alma Gomez,  Angela Beckstein,  April Shaffer,  Ashley Thompson,  Chelsea Kruger,  Chiquita Banks LaTonya Ball,  Lera Blasioli,  Natalie Williams,  Pattie McGuire,  Paulina Hamlin,  Peggy Cooper,  Terrell Adams,  Kyle Hubert
Introducing the BRAND NEW Illinois Head Start Association Website!


Pictures From Past IHSA Trainings and Conference 

New Directors/Leaders Series
May 31 & June 1, 2016        
Directors Institute 
June 1 - 3, 2016


Vanessa Rich Leadership Experience
June 8 & 9, 2016


Illinois Head Start Association 
3435 Liberty Drive
Springfield, IL 62704