By Edward Condon, Executive Director
Region 9 Head Start Association
Every year at Head Start’s anniversary, we mark the progress made — now more than a half-century of nurturing our nation’s next generation. The last two months, though, have upended Head Start’s normal. Like every other institution across the nation — and the world — we have been compelled to improvise to survive.
We recently interviewed Head Start teams throughout Region 9. Their response to the COVID-19 shutdown proves we are doing more than just surviving. Our programs, our staffs and — most importantly our children — are staying connected, thanks to that culture of care so embedded in the Head Start concept.
The children are all right because American ingenuity went to work. Teachers — who are pretty versed in changing course as class situations warrant — virtually reinvented themselves. Directors and site managers set aside old processes and — keeping with best Head Start practices — crafted new ways to operate — all in the space of several days. The priority was to help families shelter-in-place and retain Head Start’s connection to children and parents.
Here’s a sampling of what we found across the West as Head Start programs went from center-based to home-based and Early Head Start home visitations turned virtual:
Most cheering is how the crisis has energized teams. Said Kern County’s Gonzales, “I am very proud of what the staff has done — they were wary of tech, but they now have embraced it positively.”
At 55 years and in a pandemic, Head Start is invigorated. “We’re going to create our own new normal,” said KidzCommunity’s Cardoza.
I have been to management workshops, not leadership training. This has totally changed my perspective and encouraged me to propel forward in developing my skills.
I am honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Region 9 Head Start Association’s Legacy Scholarship. The scholarship helped me get one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a Head Start Director.
I took part in The disproportionate impact of COVID 19, and how to provide “real” support for black/brown children and families and I just want to say this was an amazing webinar. I hope we can look forward to further conversation on this topic.
Thank you so much for making events like this! I really enjoyed and learned so much teaching strategies to implement STEM in the classroom.
The HR Network was an excellent opportunity to network and learn the best practices from other HR professionals within Head Start programs. You will be amazed by the level of talent and experience of the participants.
The Summer Camp training was powerful and inspiring! Each presenter was very engaging, it’s hard to even pick a favorite session!
The Leadership Challenge training was very relevant to my work as a Head Start leader! Great facilitation; stayed with the program yet allowed time for individual and small group reflections.
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