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

Fall 2014
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2015 Head Start Monitoring
Webinar: OMB Omnibus Circular
New NIHSDA Website
Ronda Cox, Program Specialist
Oneida Apple Orchard Visit
NACFC Workshop Proposals
Annual NIHSDA Board Meeting
Keweenaw Bay Fatherhood Fun
Reauthorization Calls
Patty Brown and Raina Thiel, Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Greetings friends,

I hope you are all well and having a wonderful start to the new school year. Fall is in the air and brings a new season of change.  As we move towards reauthorization, there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be done in order to ensure the challenges, issues, and stories are being told, and AIAN grantees are consistently represented.  
In September I traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with NHSA and also visit representative offices in the Senate and House, as well as a special visit to the West Wing of the White House.  Akilah Kinneson worked with Greg Smith, our lobbyist for NIHSDA, to set up meetings with the following key individuals. 
  • Kenneth Martin is the Policy Director for Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He is also a Head Start graduate! He is working on a demonstration program for Tribes, with a no State pass through. 
  • Brandon Ashley serves as the Republican Senior Policy Adviser for the Senate on Indian Affairs.
  • Raina Thiel is the Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and very receptive to the needs of AIAN grantees.
  • Patrick Murray is on the Senate HELP Committee and open to information and understanding the needs of our programs. Cristin Kumar is on the House Committee on Education and is not a fan of Smart Start. She is open to learning more about AIAN programs.
The overall meetings went very well, and as we begin the work on reauthorization issues, it is critical that you send NIHSDA your comments and concerns so we can hear your voice. Fill out a Reauthorization Survey and NIHSDA will make your message heard by OHS and those who have the power to make the necessary changes and exceptions for our AIAN grantees. We can’t do this without you! Stay tuned for updates!

Patty Brown, NIHSDA President
2015 Head Start Monitoring

OHS in the process of transitioning to the new 5-year grant cycle and the monitoring system is changing as well. Now, under the Aligned Monitoring System, smaller-scale “review events” are carried out over the first three years of a grant. Each of these review events is significant in determining whether a grantee is providing high-quality services and remaining compliant with program requirements. In the midst of all these new changes to monitoring, it’s especially important for you to understand how these review events will affect your program. The Office of Head Start (OHS) has developed an Aligned Monitoring Virtual Expo. The Virtual Expo is an interactive environment to explore the system and learn everything you need to know for the upcoming fiscal year.  Learn more about the Virtual Expo
NIHSDA Webinar: OMB Omnibus Circular for Tribal Governments

November 20, 2014  1:00 p.m. CDT, Presenter: Barbara Wilson Ricketts
As part of an effort to reform and strengthen Federal grant making, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published new guidance for the Federal award programs, OMB Uniform Guidance: Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, commonly referred to as the Omni Circular. The new guidance is a key component of a larger Federal effort to more effectively focus Federal grant resources on improving performance and outcomes while ensuring the financial integrity of taxpayer dollars. The new guidance, published on December 26, 2013, will be implemented on December 26, 2014.

This webinar, presented by Barbara Rickets, will look at the structure and content of the OMB Omnibus Circular (AKA Super Circular) with an emphasis on impact on Tribal governments.  We will review pertinent changes to administrative requirements, audit requirements, cost principles, and list the important “take-aways” from the session.

Price (includes on-demand streaming): $150 Members; $200 Non-Members
Barbara Wilson Ricketts has worked with Head Start and Child Care programs for the past 30 years.  She has worked in various capacities, most recently as CFO for a large migrant program.  Barbara worked extensively in the T/TA system with both American Indian and Migrant programs and has been a reviewer through the various designs of the review system. She operates a consulting firm, Consulting Services, from her home in Raleigh, NC.
New NIHSDA Webpage

NIHSDA has launched a new and improved website. New features include a training consultant directory, job bank, improved advocacy section, webinar registration and streaming, member resources, and much more!
Check us out at

Welcome Ronda Cox, new Region XI Program Specialist

Ronda Cox formerly held the position of Family Services Coordinator managing a caseload of over 58 families at St. Francis Xavier Head Start located in Baltimore City.  In her six years working for St. Francis Xavier Head Start, she held the position of Parent Involvement Coordinator, Special Events Coordinator, and Purchase of Care Coordinator.  Before leaving Head Start in 2012, she served as the Interim Program Director.

Ronda’s dedication to the Head Start program has earned her numerous opportunities.  In 2005 and 2010 she served on the Maryland State Department of Education Accreditation Committee.  The year 2006 found Ronda as the lead reporter for St.  Francis Xavier’s Self-Assessment team.  In 2007, she served as a member of the COPA Planning Committee for Baltimore City‘s Head Starts. 
Prior to becoming a Program Specialist for the Office of Head Start in August of this year, Ronda was the Program Development Specialist for a mental health provider agency in Baltimore City. Ronda received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Richmond in 2002.  In 2008, she received her Masters of Science Degree with a concentration in Social and Community Services.

Ronda is the proud mother to one 10 year old daughter, Arianna, who is a Head Start graduate herself.  
Currently, Ronda is the Program Specialist for 10 Grantees in both Arizona and California.  She is looking forward to assisting her Grantees as they continue to provide quality services to their students and families.
Oneida Head Start Children Visit the Apple Orchard

In the month of September the children from the Oneida Head Start program visited the Tribal apple orchard. The apple orchard staff took the children out among the trees to teach them the names of the various types of apples and the art of picking an apple without losing the stem. This annual field trip hosts a lot of parent participation as well. 

The classrooms utilized the apples to host taste tests, make apple butter, make apple leather, and apple pies. This is a very well organized event for the children every year .

In 1994, the Oneida Tribe purchased a 2,400 tree Apple Orchard as part of their continuing strategy of reacquiring lands within the original boundaries of the reservation. The Apple Orchard has 30 acres of original orchard and an additional 10 acres of new orchard, which now totals approximately 4,000 trees.
The majority of the apples are McIntosh, Cortlands, and Honey Golds with twenty other varieties also available. There is also a wide variety of fresh produce products such as: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, sweetcorn, squash and pumpkins. Due to weather, the variety of fresh produce will vary.

Part of the Orchards goal is to generate interest in the area of agriculture as well as encourage our children to understand at a young age, the importance of growing healthy food, and finding natural ways to eliminate pests. The Apple Orchard hosts field trips for area schools. It has been quite successful in generating the children's interest in agriculture. It has also taught them that there are many techniques such as the Inegrated Pest Management (IPM) where we only treat the crop when necessary and we are able to produce a quality product in a safe sustainable way. Other ways to eliminate pests are trapping insects, releasing bugs to control other bugs.
Reminder! Workshop proposals are due on November 14th. If you are interested in presenting, click here for more details.
Annual NIHSDA Board Meeting

The annual NIHSDA board meeting was held October 18-20, 2014 in Sacramento, CA, and was attended by 12 board members.  We are excited to announce that Patty Brown, Executive Director of the Karuk Tribe Head Start in Northern California, was seated as the new President. The board would like to thank Jacki Haight, Director of the Port Gamble S'Klallam HS/EHS, for her leadership over the past several years. She will continue to serve on the board for another year as Immediate Past President to facilitate a smooth transfer of leadership. Congratulations also to the newly elected regional representatives and alternates from Regions 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 that were seated during the meeting, as well as to Char Schank, Director Southern Ute HS/EHS, on being elected as the NIHSDA treasurer.

The board participated in a strategic planning session which discussed approaches and directions the Association must take to effectively deliver services that strengthen and support AIAN Head Start Programs.  During the meeting the board members continued planning for Reauthorization of the Head Start Act.  In addition to the Reauthorization Survey that was sent out, we are going to conduct three conference calls with NIHSDA Members. Also during the meeting the board, along with 3 California programs, began planning for the 25th NIHSDA Management Training Conference to be held in Sacramento, CA June 15-18, 2015.

If you are interested in serving as an NIHSDA Board member, click here for more information! 
Fatherhood Family Fun Night at the Keweenaw Bay Child Development Center in Michigan (Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan HS/EHS)

They decorated pumpkins, cookies, made picture frames, and had some gym time.  It was a successful evening with a big turnout of parents, including a lot of dad’s for the fatherhood activity, and grandparents. 

AIAN Head Start Reauthorization Calls

NIHSDA is conducting webinars during the first week of December to discuss the reauthorization of the Head Start Act. Within the next year, it is expected that the Congress will begin considering the reauthorization of the Head Start Act.  The reauthorization process is both an opportunity to secure positive provisions for American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start programs.  Before the last Head Start Act reauthorization, the AIAN Head Start community prepared detailed comments on changes it would like to see made.  The result was the inclusion of a number of positive provisions in the Act.  We  hope to build on that success in this reauthorization process and are asking our programs to comment on how the Head Start Act and its implementing regulations are working for you.  We are interested in both positive and negative examples.  Also, if there are matters not addressed by the law or regulations that you think should be addressed, please identify those as well. 

We are offering three different days/times to fit your schedule. You only need to attend one. It is vital that AIAN programs make their voices heard. Please plan to attend one of these webinars and invite your tribal leadership to participate as well.

The dates and times are:
Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 10:00 am Central
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 1:00 pm Central
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 3:00 pm Central

Click here to register!