Our Voice

  • Head Start is Leading the Way in Quality Pre-K

    Thu, 04/19/2018

    by Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, NHSA   Enrollment in state-funded preschool programs has more than doubled in the past 15 years, but an annual report released today by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) reveals that one of the defining aspects of Head Start — high-quality standards — is missing from many state-funded preschool programs. What’s more, many of those that are succeeding are doing so in part because of their strong collaboration with Head Start programs and/or because they have aligned their standards with the Head Start Program Performance Standards. Read between the lines and the message is clear: Head Start is leading the way in demonstrating how to provide consistently high-quality pre-K that improves outcomes for children in kindergarten and beyond. 2017 - National Institute for Early Education Research The State of Preschool 2017 annual report, based on 2016-17 academic year data, finds states heeding the demand for…nieer.org A Sought-After Partner Even though Head Start is fundamentally a federal-to-local program in terms of funding, state leaders have sought to partner with Head Start programs within their states in order to increase both the quality of their preschool initiatives and the number of three- and four-year old children they can reach. In fact, one of the states highlighted...

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  • Child’s play: Head Start can lead the way in creating smarter learning spaces indoors and out

    Fri, 03/16/2018

    By Tiffany Alston President, Nevada Head Start Association An amazing attribute about Head Start and another advantage: Since programs across the country are community-based and culturally reflective, they can easily incorporate new theories about early childhood education, absorbing from parents and community. More and more, Head Start programs are holistically linking education and environment: Allowing learning to flow both indoors and outdoors and using curriculum—especially STEM—outside as well as inside during play time. In a child’s world, play time is really learning time, too. What the experts in education tell us is this: “For human beings, learning is as fundamental as life itself. From the moment we are born up through age three, our brains create 700 new neural connections each second.”1 A Head Start classroom, then, should be a space that encourages exploration, experimentation—of making connections. The learning spaces also need to reflect their respective communities and be uplifting for the young students, their parents and teachers. “It is more important than ever for school districts, administrators and educational designers/architects to reevaluate the traditional pre-K or kindergarten classroom to provide more creative, engaging and specialized early childhood learning spaces,” says architect Stephen M. Nelson. Today, neuroscience and...

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  • Head Start goes to college: Campus center benefits children, parents and teachers-in-training

    Fri, 01/19/2018

    By Debbi Amaral Early Childhood Services Director Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. Click HERE to access the article in The Maui News as published!   From the very beginning, one of Head Start’s brilliant strategies centered on engaging the community to help deliver services to children and families. As part of that effort, for the last 50-plus years, nonprofit community action agency Maui Economic Opportunity in the state of Hawaii has been committed to helping low income individuals and families become stable and achieve economic security through a variety of services. And though we live on a tropical island that outsiders might consider as a “paradise,” families residing on Maui with young children face the same challenges experienced by impoverished communities in the continental United States: high unemployment, limited access to proper health-care, lack of mental health services, substance abuse, domestic violence—and the dwindling resources needed to address all of these inequities. MEO’s outreach includes a Head Start program that serves 246 children in 13 centers on Maui and Molokai. For the last 20 years, one of MEO’s Head Start centers has been located on the University of Hawaii Maui College. This free, on-campus preschool enrolls children of Maui College students as a first priority, and it also serves families living nearby. Those of us at...

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  • New focus on parent’s employment needs helps improve Head Start families’ success

    Mon, 11/6/2017

        By Alecia Jackson, M.Ed. Director Early Education Division, Assistant Director Human Services Department, Maricopa County   I have long believed that an important power of the Head Start program is the dual focus on children and families—helping both children and their parents be successful. And part of that pathway for parents is a fulltime job with a livable wage. However, as an administrator of a Head Start program here in Arizona’s Maricopa County, I faced head-on a stunning limitation: Trying to go beyond our grant’s mandates to help parents deal with multi-faceted employment issues on their journey to economic security. Time after time I have witnessed: A parent stuck in a low-paying job because they lack the skills and abilities to qualify for a better paying job. A parent stuck in a dead-end job because they lack knowledge about career pathways in high demand fields. A parent stuck in unemployment because they can’t afford care for their children for the full working day Year-after-year observing these unmet needs has been frustrating. All over the United States, in fact, people doing my kind of work face these same kind of problem. Fortunately, this profound need for a wrap-around, two-generational approach to supporting under-privileged families has been realized by philanthropic organizations such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation...

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  • Heads up, Silicon Valley businesses — Head Start gives workers, kids a better chance

    Tue, 10/31/2017

      We are fortunate to have many small minority enterprises in Silicon Valley, enriching our downtowns and neighborhood business districts. These small businesses employ thousands of workers—many at lower wages.  Programs such as Social Security and Medicare benefit these small businesses: Helping families to stay healthy allows mom-and-pop to tend shop, keep their businesses thriving and provide a livelihood for others.   Read more at the San Jose Mercury News     Continue Reading

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  • A heads-up for the community: Head Start helps keep kids, parents healthy

    Mon, 10/23/2017

    A heads-up for the community: Head Start helps keep kids, parents healthy article was published on Saturday, October 21, 2017 in the Bakersfield Californian.     CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE Continue Reading

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  • Head Start boosts the economy as well as kids

    Wed, 09/27/2017

    Head Start boosts the economy as well as kids Head Start boosts the economy as well as kids. Recently published in the Sacramento Bee (9.26.17). Sacramento's Greater Economic Council president and CEO and Region 9 Head Start Association executive director offer a compelling points about the critical role Head Start plays in the local economy - assisting parents and employers. Click here to read the on-line version     Continue Reading

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  • Standing up for Head Start no matter where you are

    Fri, 09/8/2017

    By Tameka Henry, Regional 9 Head Start Association Parliamentarian      Wherever you are standing—you need to lead. That has been a guiding principle for me—especially from the time my now teenage daughter was enrolled in Head Start 10 years ago and as a young parent I realized the challenge of being the best parent I could be. As I grew into my own power as an adult, I discovered leadership begins at home—by being a good parent. The first and most important job of any advocate is to lead your family—to teach and learn the skills of open and honest communication. From what I learned through Head Start, I helped my children to be problem solvers, innovators and cheerleaders of the peers. For me—as much as for them—I said to always speak truth and never let the power of others define your beliefs. But folks need to do more: The obvious opportunity is in your school or in your community. For me, that place was Head Start where my two daughters were enrolled. I realized that as a participant, I and my children were consumers of Head Start’s services—and to support them, to improve them—to preserve them, I needed to act. Region 9 Head Start Association’s Ed Condon recently said it well: “We are faced with the reality of not only having to be educators—but being cheerleaders as well to survive—to lead the charge.” I have learned not...

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  • What Did the GAO Find About Early Childhood Programs?

    Wed, 09/6/2017

          08/10/2017 02:06 pm ET   Effective use of federal funding is imperative to meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable early learners. To ensure those precious public resources are efficiently spent, Congressional leaders regularly (and rightly) ask about potential fragmentation, overlap and duplication of the various federal programs providing early care and education. Last month, Congress’ oversight arm, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), examined these questions and reported back to lawmakers, revealing some very encouraging and promising findings. Although the report identified 44 federal programs that make funds available for early childhood needs, only nine of them have an explicit early learning or child care purpose. Of those nine, just two of them — Head Start and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) — comprise about 90% of the $15 billion annual federal investment in early care and education. The other 10% includes more targeted populations (children with disabilities, parents in college) or have very specific purposes (welfare reform, nutritious meals). A large majority of the 44 funding sources that were identified do not even require that funds are spent on early childhood programs. So, is this federal investment fragmented? Yes, the report says it is fragmented, meaning multiple government...

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  • A call to action: Seeking inspired leaders and followers to advocate for Head Start

    Mon, 08/7/2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         By Edward Condon Executive Director, Region 9 Head Start Association           Like many Americans these days—and certainly among educators—the notion of good leadership presents itself regularly: Our national leaders—whose job it is to set policy and make choices for all of us—are casting a critical look at domestic spending, with cuts in mind for community programs like Head Start. Some in Washington, D.C. are now in favor of resurrecting a proposal to turn the Head Start program into a block grant for each state—thus threatening the structure of what makes Head Start successful—how it transforms children and parents’ lives through the emphasis on education, health and overall well-being. So right now with this threat on the horizon, Head Start in America needs more advocates—its own leaders and followers—to continue spreading the good word about the Head Start advantage. Current headlines notwithstanding, there is much to celebrate in our land—in particular that rising generation of young people...

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The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.


The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.

Contact Us

1225 8th Street, Suite 342
Sacramento, CA 95814

916-259-0971
headstartr9@region9hsa.org

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