Our Voice

  • Washington Can’t Seem to Agree on Anything — Except Kids

    Thu, 12/6/2018

    Authors - Yasmina Vinci & Sarah Rittling OPINION — The intensity of this fall’s midterm election campaigns could make it easy to forget that there is one priority both political parties have consistently come together to support: early childhood education. Despite the growing partisan divide, which seems to be worsening by the day and has left Washington unable to reach consensus on even routine items, lawmakers from across the political spectrum in Congress and the 50 states still view advancing early childhood education as a critical objective. Voter support for this objective manifested itself on Election Day; for example, the vast majority of governors-elect have previously expressed support for early learning and care initiatives in their respective states. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Members on both sides of the aisle have a long history of supporting our youngest learners, and that support is only growing stronger. Over the past several years, whether power in Congress has been held by Republicans, Democrats, or split between the two, funding for important early learning opportunities has been a top priority. This year, one need only look at the fiscal year 2019 federal appropriations legislation to see how lawmakers came together to build on years of progress and include significant commitments to crucial early childhood education programs, such as Child...

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  • Judge Quigley, Tucson, Az: Head Start helps make children citizen-ready

    Thu, 11/8/2018

    Read full article HERE - Arizona Daily Star Continue Reading

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  • Dan Dow, Edward Condon: Getting a Head Start to citizenship

    Fri, 10/19/2018

    From our different backgrounds as district attorney and early childhood education administrator, when we meet seriously disadvantaged young people, we wish we had the super power to improve their odds, to make them better. From our combined years of experience working with other officials, experts and agencies, we know a super power does exist that helps improve a child’s well-being and future. The power is early education, with engaged parents. Experience and experts tell us that birth to 5 are the critical years for determining a child’s success later in life, and that parents must be engaged in high-quality early-learning efforts. The evidence is so strong that it has brought together a national, bipartisan nonprofit of law enforcement leaders working to support early childhood programs. The effort is called “Fight Crime, Invest in Kids.” Across the country, district attorneys are working to bring awareness to programs like Head Start/Early Head Start on the Central Coast that provide solutions that ensure our next generation of Americans will be successful, and citizen-ready. Being a good citizen means when you’re young attending school, then finding a career or trade, voting, volunteering and even paying taxes. The groundwork begins at home and right at birth. There has been a new wave of interest in early education in recent years in the...

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  • Head Start’s Everyday Champions – Celebrating 53 years of community support

    Thu, 05/17/2018

    By Edward Condon, R9HSA Executive Director   This is celebration season for schools: Thousands of young folks have graduated and on their way in life. Meanwhile, educators everywhere are getting ready to welcome kindergarten students arriving next fall. Among those youngsters are our local Head Start children. Head Start—which celebrates its 53rd anniversary this month—provides economically disadvantaged children to age five a pathway to success by offering services—educational, social and health—to them and their families. When we consider what makes Head Start programs successful—we naturally look inward at our teachers, administrators and the engagement of parents. But there are other people involved who are outside of Head Start, and they play a vital role in how well Head Start families do. These are the leaders of elementary schools. They are what I like to call Head Start Everyday Champions in the community, preparing our youngsters for the next waypoint in their lives after they leave Head Start. Spring is typically the time when Head Start children are introduced to their kindergarten teacher and classroom, when they are prepared for the transition into elementary school. How well this orientation is shaped, how effective is the transition is hugely dependent upon the cooperation and collaboration with these leaders of the elementary school—the principals...

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  • Celebrating those who help make successful that transition to kindergarten

    Mon, 04/30/2018

    By Edward Condon, R9HSA Executive Director   No matter your industry or profession, you can find dozens of books on leadership styles and practices. Then there are stand-out works such as Stephen R. Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” or the grand-daddy of the genre, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” All basically drive to this point: A good leader makes good things happen. When we consider what makes Head Start across our nation successful—we naturally look inward at our teachers, administrators and the engagement of parents. But there are other people involved who are outside of Head Start, and they play a vital role in how well Head Start families do. These are the leaders of elementary schools—the next waypoint in the lives of Head Start children. Spring is typically the time when Head Start children are introduced to their kindergarten teacher and classroom, when they are prepared for the transition into elementary school. How well this orientation is shaped, how effective is the transition is hugely dependent upon the cooperation and collaboration with the leaders of the elementary school—the principals and superintendents. In fact, a study by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research found that the most effective leaders in a district are those that focus more on culture than curriculum....

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  • 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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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



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