Head Start and Early Head Start is state and federally funded. Our Head Start Programs are also accredited by a group called NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), and we are licensed by the state. That is a whole lot of groups that we are accountable to, that are assuring we are doing things in the safest, most effective, best ways and that we are being good stewards of the funds that are entrusted to us. We are also accountable to YOU--our NCCDI parents, children and community members.
This week we are in the midst of one of the 5 federal compliance reviews that the Office of Head Start requires all grantees to do. This one is our Comprehensive Services/School Readiness review. This review looks at what we are doing within every element of our programs to make sure that families needs are met, resources are being provided, and families and children are fully prepared to transition to Head Start from Early Head Start and from Head Start to Kindergarten. The reviewer is looking at how we refer people to counseling services, how we encourage goal setting not only in the classroom but also for the family, and how we assist in the process of identifying disabilities and getting services for children who need them.
So far, the reviewer has interviewed Rosie (our Head Start Director) and Tori (our Early Head Start Director), Brian (Executive Director), Tina (Family/Community Outreach Director), and Paige (Health Services Director). She is interviewing a group of parents as well, to see how the program operates from their point of view and will also observe classes in session and look at children's files.
After this week, the information gathered will be assessed and in a month or two we should get back a report assessing how we did and where we might make improvements.
Next month we embark on our next review--this one will be on Leadership, Governance and Management Systems, so our parents and community members who serve on the Policy Council and Governing Board will have the opportunity to be interviewed. More on that to come!
I'm sure most of our NCCDI families are aware that we have a very active Facebook community. Did you know that we are also active on Pinterest?
We very strongly believe that parents are a child's first and forever teacher. We get questions all the time from parents about how to continue their child's learning at home--Pinterest helps us organize those ideas! We have boards for staying active indoors, for age appropriate crafts, seasonal themes, DIY learning tools and more. We love when parents suggest new ideas for us as well--and of course, if you do any of these activities at home, we would LOVE to see pictures of it!
Please follow us on Pinterest and help us to continue to build a collection of fun home learning ideas!
On December 18th, following months of hard work and intense negotiations, Congress passed a final spending package for Fiscal Year 2016. The bill included a significant increase in funding for Head Start programs - $570 million - to support and strengthen the Head Start workforce, to expand the duration of Head Start programs, and to expand slots for infants and toddlers.
This bipartisan investment is a significant step forward for Head Start and represents Congress’ and the President’s commitment to the success of our nation’s most vulnerable children and families.
We don't know quite yet what this will look like here at NCCDI, and we won't until we get closer to the end of the fiscal year. We do know, however, what is involved in the actual bill. Here is a brief summary, from National Head Start Association:
Head Start - Head Start and Early Head Start received a $570 million increase bringing the total funding level for the program to an historic level of $9.168 billion. That breaks down into the following areas:
Pre-K Development and Expansion Grants - The Pre-K Development and Expansion Grants received flat funding, $250 million, in order to continue funding the 18 states who were awarded grants last year. Of particular note, the bill funds the Pre-K Development and Expansion grants under the previous authority NOT the new authority for Preschool Development Grants that recently was created in the Every Student Succeeds Act. This means that these grants are not expected to change until 2017.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part b and Part c - IDEA Part b and Part c both received a funding increase in FY16 - $15 million and $20 million respectively.
Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) - CSBG received a funding increase of $41 million, bringing its total funding to $714.9 million.
This is great news for our Head Start community!
We live in such an amazing community, and during the holidays, that comes into focus. This past Saturday Downtown Red Bluff kicked off the holiday season with their holiday open house and the annual Christmas Parade. Another annual event is FREE carriage rides through downtown on Nov. 28th and Dec. 5th.
December 4th, 5th, and 6th continues the holiday open house, with ladies night on the 4th (stores stay open late), family day on the 5th (children's crafts, fingerprinting at Knick's Family Fun Zone, then story time and crafts at the library). Also on the 5th in Corning is the Hometown Christmas parade at 5pm.
Tadpoles to Toads is hosting their annual Family Dance Night on Dec. 11th. This event, open to all Head Start and Early Head Start families is a delightful event with fun music and decorations, refreshments, and photos. Folks can come dressed in their favorite fancy clothes if they'd like. The event is held at the Corning Vets Hall--talk to your teacher or family advocate if you're interested in going!
Follow us on Facebook, as we will continually post community events there. Hope to see you around town, enjoying this festive season!
CPR and First Aid are skills every parent should have. We are offering it, free of charge to Head Start/Early Head Start parents on Nov. 14th. We wish to provide you with the skills you need to not only help your child prepare for school, but to stay safe and secure. Call Mike at 529-1500 for details and to sign up!
Planning is in high gear for the Parent's Choice Conference 2015, and I wanted to give you a look inside what we have in store for you...
Many staff members you already know will be on hand to present workshops this year. Family Advocates Norma (from Red Bluff Center) and Maria C. (from Tehama Center) will be leading a conversation about Time Management for Parents. This workshop will discuss prioritizing things, give some good tips to avoid time wasting activities, and ways to make time for yourself within your hectic schedule. It Came from the Junk Drawer--Turning Junk into Learning Opportunities is a hands-on opportunity to look at junk a whole new way. We all have those empty boxes, drawers full of ketchup packets and random items and bits and pieces. Why not use that junk to create learning opportunities for you kids?
There will be a hands-on Cooking with Kids workshop to help you come up with new ways to get healthy food into your picky little one's belly. The English version of this workshop will be hosted by our partners from the UC Davis extension, while our staff will be teaming up with the Community Action Agency staff for the Spanish presentation.
Preparing for Kindergarten and Beyond will give some insight to strategies you can use to make sure your child is fully prepared for the next step in their education. Back to College--Financial Aid Edition will be hosted by Head Start Mom Martha Dixon and experts from Shasta College and is sure to be informative for those parents looking to get back to school.
We have three workshops geared to helping you make your dollar stretch further every month. Family Budgeting is an opportunity to think about how you spend your money and where your priorities are. Family Finances helps you set long term financial goals for your family. And, back by popular request, Couponing will teach you the art of using coupons to get more bang for your buck at the store!
Join NCCDI and Child Abuse Prevention Council staff for Coping with the Crying, a workshop to deal with what may seem like the constant screaming and crying of your infant or toddler. Learn strategies to cope, and ways to deal with this part of parenting that no one seems to talk about.
Experts from Corning Family Resource Center will be on hand to discuss Immigration Services in Tehama County. This workshop is only offered in Spanish, so if you would like it translated in English, please let us know!
Our lunch program will be extremely informative as well. We have Judge Matt McGlynn coming to talk about family court, and Mike Baldwin from Community Action Agency will talk about VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).
Whew!! That is a full schedule! If you haven't registered yet, there is still time...go to www.tinyurl.com/qywcphx
Tehama county has so many family friendly events to offer through the fall season. Just this past weekend was both the Manton Apple Festival and Julia's Fruit Stand's Great Pumpkin Festival. Both are amazing, fun and free events with lots to offer all ages. We have many more amazing events coming up to note.
On October 17th is the Dairyville Orchard Festival. This event, held at Lassen View School, is free and offers live music, games and food to purchase. There are old-time tractors, firetrucks, face painters and all sorts of things preschoolers love.
Also that day, the Binational Health Fair will take place at Rolling Hills Casino. This event is focused more on adults, with health screenings and information.
The Western Open Fiddle Championships is the 22nd to 24th of October. Watch young competitors play amazing music. There's food for sale as well.
Of course, the most exciting event of the month is the NCCDI Parents Choice Conference. This event, on October 30th is an amazing opportunity to parents of all-age children. There will be workshops on parenting skills, budgeting, cooking with kids, couponing and more. Check back to next weeks' blog for a sneak peek at our workshops.
More events will be available for families in November. Check into more on the Red Bluff and Corning Chamber websites; redbluffchamber.com or corningcachamber.org
Sorry about the late post. I spent last week at the National Head Start Association Fall Leadership Conference in Washington DC. I was proud and honored to be representing NCCDI in our nation's capital. It was an amazing experience.
I had the opportunity the first day to hear about the appropriations process and how our funding is allocated. There have been proposals to increase Head Start funding made in both the house and the senate budget talks. We discussed the New Proposed Rule-Making document that came out over the summer and they noted the same thing we did locally about it--that if many of the rules were made that Head Start would need lots more money to make it happen--especially the recommendation to change all classes to full day/full year. They also said that they are going over all of the thousands of comments that were made and it would not be until probably this time next year that we would get a final set of rules.
The second day was very exciting, with an opportunity to discuss Head Start history and success stories and to continue building a legacy of high quality programming that will lead us through the next 50 years. We got to hear from Lucinda Robb, the granddaughter of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. President Johnson was the commander in chief who signed Head Start into existence and the first lady was deeply involved in the process, visiting Head Start centers, talking with the families involved and keeping the program in the forefront of the country's consciousness. Ms. Robb talked about President Johnson's beginnings as a teacher in a very poor area of Texas, seeing children who had no food, no warm clothes, living in such poverty. It made a real impression on him. She spoke of her grandmother, Lady Bird, and how she didn't just want to be an "honorary" chairperson for Project Head Start, but to really be involved. It was a wonderful peek into the beginnings of our program.
The third day found us on the lawn of the capital building (in the rain), for a rally to celebrate our 50 years of Opportunity. We heard from various lawmakers, both democrat and republican, honoring Head Start and celebrating that Head Start WORKS!! The most poignant address was from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. She was a Head Start kid, and when she started in her center at age 5, she was often referred to by her family as "porbrecito Loretta" since she didn't speak. She was the daughter of immigrants, one of (I believe) 7 children, and her parents were very motivated for all of their children to get a great education. And they did. Among her siblings, there are doctors and lawyers, and Ms. Sanchez is one of TWO congresswomen--her mother is the only one in the history of the United States that can say that 2 of her daughters have served in congress.
After the rally, I went with Toni from Placer County, to meet with congressmen Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock. The aid in Mr. LaMalfa's office was a very nice man, and he asked a lot of great questions about Head Start as well as took notes on our main requests--to increase funding to our programs, and to include Head Start teachers in the student loan forgiveness program. We met directly with Mr. McClintock. He was not so interested in discussing Head Start, and he is not a supporter of our programs. We will try to keep him informed and hopefully change his mind about the great work we do.
Overall, it was an overwhelming, humbling experience. I was so grateful for the opportunity to represent our programs with these influential people.
The first local parent meetings have been held, and your Policy Council representatives and alternates have been chosen! The Policy Council is one side of our parent leadership system in Head Start/Early Head Start.
The Policy Council is made up of a representative and an alternate from each center as well as one from home base north and one from home base south. These reps meet each month on the 3rd Thursday at 1pm. The PC hears reports from each of the departments, including ERSEA (eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, and attendace), fiscal, family and community outreach, Head Start, Early Head Start, health, and an overall report from the executive director. The PC hears how we spend our time and our money to make the program as powerful as it is for your children and families.
The PC also has a hand in our hiring process, and members might be asked to review job applications we receive, or even serve on an interview panel. The members participate each meeting in a closed session, where all staff and non-voting members leave the room and the PC and our human resources manager talk about staffing changes.
PC members also get to serve on some committees and do special projects. Last year, the Parent Engagement committee, among other things, organized participation in the Red Bluff Round Up parade.
Participating in the Policy Council is great experience. You can put it on a resume, you build public speaking skills, and you make great contacts. Your experience can lead you to later serve on school site councils or school boards. It also sends a great message to your child that their school is important and worth your extra time. Above all else, you get to be sure that the program is making decisions that are in the best interest of all of the kids we serve.
Plus, we serve lunch!
We are kicking off the year right with two family-friendly events! We call them Dad's Nights and we want to encourage dads to attend, but moms, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, etc are welcome to come. The focus of these two events is Dental Health, and parents will get a chance to do some interactive things around good tooth brushing skills and visits to the dentists with their children. There will also be food and everyone will take home some dental supplies.
The first one is on Sept. 22 at West Street Center. We are so excited to share this event with the families at West Street and at their center. We hope to see all of the Corning area NCCDI families there.
The second event is the following week, Sept. 29th at Red Bluff Center. All NCCDI families are invited!
Remember that any of these events you attend earns in-kind match hours for the program, so make sure every adult who attends signs in.