National Indian Head Start Directors Association
Standing Strong for AIAN Children
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Native Head Start
Leadership Quarterly

Summer 2016
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EC Teacher Pay
Hoopa HS Garden
Pre-K Staffing Skill Levels
Choctaw TELI
Learning Through Movement
OHS News
Assessing EC Needs in AIAN
NIHSDA Zone Elections
The Great American Indian Dancers performed during the Opening Reception, Monday, June 6, 2016.
The NIHSDA Board of Directors would like to thank everyone who attended the 26th Management Training Conference June 6-9, 2016, in Arlington, VA. This year’s theme, “Together Standing Strong for Children,” was in evidence by the over 350 people that attended the conference from 78 AIAN Head Start programs as well as federal staff and friends. On Monday NIHSDA conducted a joint education policy forum with the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association so that both groups could come together to discuss what makes them unique and what they have in common. On Tuesday conference participants mobilized for visits to the Hill and spoke about the importance of AIAN Head Start and how it can be improved with 8 House Representatives and 15 Senators.
The NIHSDA Board would also like to thank the various sponsors that made this year’s conference possible: Chickasaw Nation, ChildPlus, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Discount School Supply, Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, Lakeshore, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, National Indian Gaming Association, NES, Samish Indian Nation, and the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center.
During the general session on Tuesday, programs displayed their "Standing Strong" banners.
L to R: William Castellanos, President, NMSHSA; Ivette Galarza, Chairwoman, NHSA; Lee Turney, President, NIHSDA
On Monday, June 6, a joint education policy forum was held with the National Migrant Seasonal Head Start Directors Association.
Tuesday, June 7, was "Hill Day." AIAN Head Start Directors, staff, and parents made 20 plus visits to Congress.
NIHSDA Membership

The 2016-2017 NIHSDA grantee membership year began June 1. We must stand united and advocate to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start and our Congressional representatives so our voices will be heard. If you have not renewed and need a copy of your invoice, please contact Teri Stringer.
More information about membership and the organization can be found at Join NIHSDA today!

It Doesn't Pay To Be An Early-Childhood Teacher

On average, preschool teachers are paid less than mail-order clerks, tree trimmers and pest control workers. And if they switched to teach kindergarten — in many states, their salaries would double.

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Hoopa Tribal Head Start children started their garden.
They are anxious to see vegetables soon as the only store on the reservation was recently closed.

Skill Levels Remain Issue in Pre-K Staffing - Education Week

Concerns about literacy and other shortfalls on the part of some child-care and preschool staff members renew calls for more training and support to boost worker qualifications.

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Making Young Children a Priority in the Choctaw Nation 

Early childhood programs in the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma have joined forces to improve outcomes for young children and their families. Their Tribal Early Learning Initiative (TELI) is working to create and support a seamless, high-quality early childhood system serving families from pregnancy to kindergarten entry.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is one of six tribal organizations to receive TELI funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF). They also receive a grant from ACF’s Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (TMIECHV) program.

“We first began our meetings as directors of our programs to know each other better and what each other’s programs are doing,” said Angela Dancer, Home Visitation Senior Director. “That process was eye-opening and beneficial on a director level, so we decided to roll this out to our staff, which is 200 to 300 people.”

The participating TELI programs include the Chahta Inchukka TMIECHV Program, Chahta Vlla Apela TMIECHV Program, Child Care Assistance, Child Care Development Program, Early Head Start, Head Start, and Support for Expectant and Parenting Teens.

The idea of an annual Choctaw Day of the Young Child emerged as a way to bring staff together and to raise community awareness about child development and resources available to families. The first event, held on April 8, 2014, included an official declaration by Chief Gregory Pyle.

“The biggest moment of the day for me was to watch the Chief sign the declaration and make it a public notice that our early childhood system was a priority for his administration,” said Dancer. “The Chief and our Tribal Council members sat on the floor and read stories to the Head Start children. There was media taking pictures as our Council truly engaged with our children and all the educators of the Choctaw Nation who provide these services.”

On the second Day of the Young Child in April 2015, the tribe’s early childhood programs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on how they would collaborate across programs to reach more families and serve them better. Examples include developing one brochure that describes all of the programs and a unified application for services.

The event also kicked off a year of autism awareness activities, including training on autism for program staff and local events for families at Head Start and Child Care Centers. Presentations were made later that year by two nationally known speakers: Temple Grandin, a Colorado State University professor who has autism, and her mother, Eustacia Cutler.

Local events were designed to offer both learning and fun. “It was kind of like a carnival, with activities for children, like bounce houses, and also booths where people offered information about their services,” said Katy Pruitt, Director of Head Start. “We had a lot of participation from the families as well as community members. In fact, they asked us if we were going to have that again this year. And there was food, also. Did I say hot dogs? That was a big deal, too.”

Joint staff trainings across programs also have been well-received. “One thing that I really like about bringing staff together is that we have a face we can put with the name and feel more comfortable reaching out to that person,” said Brandi Smallwood, Chahta Inchukka TMIECHV Program Director. “We know who to call to refer families and can work hand-in-hand with them.”

“I feel like we’re talking the same language, and our staff is also,” said B.J. Robinson-Ellison, Director of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. “We’re coming together as one early childhood system so our team can see the unity of these programs and that we’re going to support one another.”

Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement

Children acquire knowledge by acting and then reflecting on their experiences, but such opportunities are increasingly rare in school.

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The Office of Head Start shared their plans for the implementation of the pending Head Start Program Performance Standards. The update, which you can view here, shares that OHS will be modifying the schedule of most monitoring visits for the next Fiscal Year year (FY17) - CLASS, ERSEA, and new EHS-CC Partnership visits will not be modified. This will allow programs, reviewers, and OHS staff adequate time to implement and fully understand the new Standards. 

American Indian and Alaska Native Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announces the availability of approximately $3.5 million to be competitively awarded for the purpose of expanding access to high-quality, comprehensive services to low-income American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) infants and toddlers and their families through Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships, or through the expansion of Early Head Start services. ACF solicits applications from public entities, including states, or private non-profit organizations, including community-based or faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies that meet eligibility for applying as stated in section 645A of the Head Start Act.

Applications are due August 24, 2016.

Early Care, Early Education, and Home Visiting in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities: Design Options for Assessing Early Childhood Needs

This report describes three potential designs for studies to assess the needs for early care and education and home visiting among American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.

For each of the three options, the report presents:
  • the key research questions,
  • the population of interest,
  • suggested measures, and,
  • potential data sources, including primary data collection or existing data sources available for secondary analysis.
The report concludes with a summary of each design and future considerations. Download the report here.
Elections for NIHSDA Zone Reps and Alternates

The Representatives and Alternates for even numbered zones are up for election this year. (Zones 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10) If you are interested in serving on the NIHSDA Board, please contact Teri Stringer.