Key Points from the 2015 NHSA Fall Institute

In case you weren’t able to attend the 2015 National Head Start Association Fall Leadership Institute, highlights included information from the Director, information on grant applications, looking at FY 2016 Monitoring, a summary of CLASS data, an analysis of the Designation Renewal System, an Environmental Health and Safety update as well as Fiscal updates. Check out our comprehensive notes.

  • Comments from Dr. Blanca Enriquez, Director, Office of Head Start
    • The focus for the next 15 months:
      • Moving forward – strengthening our legacy
      • Must continue to be the leaders as other look to us – child cares and school districts.
      • Position Head Start as a value-added, highly respected and accepted program for young children and families in which Head Start grantees are a high performing organ and every child receives a comprehensive, high quality and early care education.
      • Strategic priorities include leadership with character, partnership and collaboration, comprehensive school readiness and high performing grantees.
  • Grant applications
    • Formula for Success
      • Establish and implement goals and objectives +
      • Employ effective management system +
      • Use intentional, periodic methods to assess progress +
      • Conduct continuous quality improvement based on assessment of progress +
      • Anticipate outcomes for children, families and communities +
    • Program growth and responsive change across the project period, which translates to:
      • New heights in quality services for children and families
    • Reordered, refined terms and definitions
      • Long-range goals, program goals, school readiness goals, short-term objectives, outcomes, program impacts, progress, evidence
  • FY 2016 Monitoring at a Glance
    • Slightly enhanced 2015 protocols – Environmental Health & Safety and Fiscal Integrity/ERSEA.
    • Made no significant changes to CLASS and HSKI-C.
    • Developed 2 new protocols – Leadership, Governance, Management Systems (LGMS) and Comprehensive Services and School Readiness (CSSR).
    • FY 2016 Virtual Expo – toolkits, protocols, Review Event education modules and informational videos
    • FY 2016 Fiscal Integrity compliance measures have been modified to account for the Uniform Guidance.
      • Standards have been updated
      • Targeted questions have been adjusted
    • FY 2016 ERSEA protocol was also updated as a result of new OHS requirements
      • Maintaining source documentation
      • Conducting in-person or phone eligibility interviews
      • Adjusted eligibility categories
    • Leadership, Governance, Management Systems (LGMS)
      • Designed to look comprehensively at how the program:
        • Develops its goals and plans
        • Allocates resources (staff, facilities, material resources)
        • Operates as a whole
        • Evaluates effectiveness and ensures ongoing improvement
      • Tool Overview
        • Program planning
        • Developing and organizing resources
        • Operating and implementing the program
        • Evaluating performance and stimulating ongoing improvement
      • Highlights the role of program leadership – Governing Body, Policy Council, Director – on program effectiveness
    • Comprehensive Services and School Readiness (CSSR)
      • This Review is an evaluation of:
        • Grantee’s provision of high quality, comprehensive services to children and families
        • Grantee’s effectiveness in promoting children’s school readiness
      • Tool Overview
        • Assessing children and families’ strengths and needs
        • Addressing children and families’ needs
        • Providing high quality teaching and learning
        • Planning for transition
  • CLASS – Summary of data
Pre-K CLASS Emotional
Head Start Benchmarks 4 3 2
Research Thresholds 5 5 3.25
Head Start Average 2012 5.9 5.45 2.98
Head Start Average 2013 5.99 5.63 2.72
Head Start Average 2014 6.10 5.83 2.90
  • Analysis of the Designation Renewal System (DRS)
    • 1st cohort – announced in December, 2011 (129 grantees)
    • 2nd cohort – announced in January, 2013 (125 grantees)
    • 3rd cohort – announced in February, 2014 (103 grantees)
    • DRS triggers
      • 1st cohort – 100% deficiency
      • 2nd cohort – 66% deficiency, 7% CLASS below thresholds, 37% CLASS in lowest 10%, 1% revocation of license, 2% failure as a going concern
      • 3rd cohort – 50% deficiency, 18% CLASS below thresholds, 49% CLASS in lowest 10% n 4% failure as a going concern
      • The percentages may exceed 100% as some programs received more than one trigger.
    • Designation and implementation issues
      • Deficiency trigger – unequal deficiencies
      • CLASS trigger – inconsistent 10% cut-offs
      • Inconsistency in relationship between triggers and systemic “low quality”
      • Delays in forecasts, funding opportunities, negotiations and announcements
      • Changing process for 5-year grants
      • Successful development of Birth to Five application design
    • About 74% of grantees in 1st 3 cohorts of DRS have had their grants restored in full or in part.
    • About 17% of the grantees in these 3 cohorts have lost their grants.
    • About 8% have had their service area competed a 2nd time.
    • Conclusions
      • The DRS does not yet fully meet Congressional intent of targeting competition at struggling programs.
      • Basic reforms are needed to make the DRS consistent, reasonable and predictable.
      • Conceptual reforms are needed to support programs in working toward high quality, not compliance.
  • Environmental Health and Safety
    • Over 17,000 classrooms were seen last year; over 5,000 centers.
    • 92% of sites did not have any major health and safety issues.
  • Fiscal Updates
    • 45 CFR Part 75 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements (the Uniform Guidance)
      • Applies to awards and award increments made after 12/26/14.
      • Procurement requirements must be implemented by 12/26/15.
      • Information to assist Head Start grantees with implementation has been organized on ECLKC.
      • The Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR) has issued new FAQs and responses – updated as of September, 2015.
      • All grantees need to review and update their fiscal policies and procedures to implement the new Uniform Guidance.
    • Fiscal pitfalls – 2015
      • Cost allocation
      • Annual Report to the public
      • Reporting to the Governing Board and Policy Council
      • Documentation and valuation of non-federal share
      • Capital leases and related party leases
      • Blanket security agreements
  • From the President’s budget regarding Head Start
    • High quality early learning for infants, toddlers and 3 & 4 year olds
    • Innovative programming – raises the bar on quality
    • The budget requests $10.1 billion for Head Start, which is a $1.5 billion increase over the current year.
    • The largest share of this $1.5 billion increase is a $1.1 billion investment to ensure that every Head Start program serves children for a full school day and full school year.
    • The budget request also includes $284 million for a cost-of-living adjustment for all programs.
    • Finally, an additional $150 million for Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships would grow that investment to $650 million.