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

Summer 2015
Email Us
Email Us
NCAI Mid-Year Conference
NIEA 2015
International Mud Day
PIR Webinar
Region XI T/TA
Sault Tribe Healthy Eating Workshop
Crow Creek Graduates
Red CLiff ECE Platform Tent
Karuk Youth Dance Group

I hope everyone took time to rest, reflect, and enjoy the summer. Why does it always go by so fast?

Looking back to the NIHSDA’s 25th anniversary supporting AIAN grantees and the outstanding conference in Sacramento gave me wonderful memories and pride in the work that this organization does. Thank you to all who attended and worked together to make this year a great success! The dancers, drummers, and singers for culture night shared their beautiful culture and appreciate the time and effort it took to be there for us, and a reminder of how important it is to carry on the language and traditions that gives identity. The excellent presenters gave information that will help us make better decisions for the children, families, and ourselves. Meeting with our regional representatives and regional programs allowed us the opportunity to see each other and share common issues and laughter. The recognition dinner gave us time to honor the programs who gained excellence through the rigorous review process, and those who have continued to serve children and families for 50 years!

The film “Voices Rising” was the perfect ending to leave us with the reality and importance of language revitalization.

The theme of our conference was “Sowing the Seeds of Love in the Hearts of our Children” is the perfect way to think about how we begin the school year.

Patty Brown, NIHSDA President
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Head Start Program Performance Standards
Thank you to those of you who were able to participate and provide feedback to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Head Start Program Performance Standards webinars last month. OHS has extended the deadline for comments on the NPRM to September 17, and NIHSDA is delighted to take advantage of the opportunity to gather additional feedback before finalizing our comments. Draft comments were sent out via email earlier this week. We're aiming to have a final draft by the end of next week, so please send us your thoughts and comments to by next Wednesday, August 26.
Michelle Sarche, Researcher at University of Colorado at Denver and Jacki Haight, NIHSDA Immediate Past President and Director of Port Gamble S'Klallam HS/EHS
NCAI Mid-Year Conference
By Jacki Haight

As a NIHSDA Board member and program director actively involved in the first AIAN FACES Study I was thrilled to be asked to team with Michelle Sarche, Researcher at University of Colorado at Denver to present at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Mid-Year Conference held in St. Paul, MN June 28 through July 1, 2015. This event was organized by the NCAI Policy Research Center.

We participated in the Data Partners Pre-Conference and 10th Annual Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum (TLSF) titled- “Back to Our Futures: Re-Searching for Justice” along with other native researchers. With over 700 participants in attendance this year, the Data Partners Pre-Conference and TLSF sessions were well attended and highly engaging. The geographic diversity of those who came to St. Paul was fantastic; in the group of presenters, moderators, and responders 10 of the 12 NCAI regions were represented.

The NCAI Policy Research Center reported that participants indicated a renewed commitment by to think and work to identify solutions across topic areas. They reported appreciating the various ways of engaging with research – whether as part of the Pre-Conference, in General Assembly, through the poster session, and in the breakout presentations. One of the goals of the Forum was to highlight the ways research can be a useful tool in the exercise of sovereignty by featuring emerging and established scholars  presenting dynamic work that has positive impact.

Actively participating with the National Congress of American Indians is a goal that NIHSDA set within its strategic plan. Let’s continue this work and share it across our AIAN communities!
Join NIHSDA representatives for the following presentations at NIEA:

NIEA Focus Forum: Early Learning hosted by National Indian Head Start Directors Association (NIHSDA)
3:15 - 4:15 pm, Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Workshop: "Counting What Matters" (Early Math)
3:45 - 5:00 pm, Thursday, October 15, 2015

Workshop: "Making it Work" (Integrating Lifeways into School Readiness)
1:00 - 2:15 pm, Friday, October 16, 2015

Shawn started as a volunteer in her youngest daughters classroom and worked her way up to a home base visitor. She recently earned an ECE AA from Chemeketa Community College.

Words can't explain my gratitude to Grand Ronde Head Start and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for supporting me through my education. I have gained knowledge I will share in my job and with the families I serve.

Thanks to my husband and children supporting me along the way I was able to accomplish my goal of graduating. I decorated my cap and it says "It always seems impossible until it's done." Working full time, going to classes, and doing homework was tough along with balancing home life. I just wanted to thank everyone and anyone who supported and encouraged me!!

On to my next challenge...
Shawn Bobb
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe ECE International Mud Day Celebration - June 29th!
PIR Webinar
It's that time of year...start thinking about aggregating your data for the 2014-2015 Program Information Report (PIR) which needs to be submitted by August 31st, 2015. Detailed information about the 2015 PIR can be found on the OHS Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website -
In collaboration with NIHSDA, Region 11 will be hosting a webinar on August 24th, 2:00pm EST to 3:00pm EST, with Q&A to review the critical aspects of the PIR. As in past years, we welcome your participation.
Register now!
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
View System Requirements

Dear Head Start and Early Head Start Community,

First, we would like to thank you for your patience as we made the transition to the new TTA contract.   ICF is both honored and excited about the opportunity to continue providing training and technical assistance services to Region XI AIAN grantees.  Last week, the TTA staff along with Captain Bob, RPM and Tracie Little, Region XI  AIAN TTA Contracting Officer Representative, attended a four day meeting with the Office of Head Start and the OHS National Centers to receive professional development and guidance as we move forward with the development of our operational systems and procedures.  While much of that work is still ongoing, in collaboration with the Regional Office, we are developing a coordinated system for understanding grantee
needs, planning and designing appropriate and effective TTA delivery strategies.  Understanding that the solutions to challenges and the development of effective strategies for continuous quality improvement reside within the strength of individual Nations, we will support your efforts through an approach that facilitates the discovery of those solutions.  

To provide this support, ICF will ensure that highly qualified staff will be engaged to fulfill the scope of work described under this contract.  The TA Management Team, consisting of T/TA Coordinator (Rhonda Kindred), Grantee Specialist Managers (Nicole Terry and William Maes), and the EC Manager (Michelle Brown) , will provide leadership, ongoing supervision, contract oversight and quality assurance support to ensure the implementation of high quality T/TA provided by EC Specialists and GS Specialists.  Please know that the Grantee Specialists will continue to work under the direction of the regional office to support grantees in the areas of program management and fiscal operations.  Early Childhood Specialists will continue to work under the direction of the regional office to provide intensive on-site TTA to grantees in school readiness, including ongoing child assessment, curriculum, teaching and mentoring; family engagement; professional development of early care and education staff; and CLASS.   

We are also very excited that three new positions have been added to the contract, a Health Specialist and a Systems Specialists.  The Region XI AIAN Health Specialist will support grantees under the direction of the regional office and serve as a resource to T/TA specialists and regional office staff on comprehensive health services including mental health and environmental health and safety.   The Systems Specialist will support the regional office, T/TA staff and grantees as they engage in coordination and collaboration with state level early childhood systems and networks. In all of our work, we will be support by our Administrative Assistant.   

We look forward to working with all of you.  Below is the contact information for the Region XI AIAN T/TA management team.  Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or want additional information.   

T/TA Coordinator: Rhonda Kindred   727-776-4676   
Grantee Specialist Manager:  Nicole Terry   Nicole  218-370-9114
Grantee Specialist Manager:  William Maes  505.600.9476
Regional Early Childhood Manager:  Michelle Brown  202-427-4768
Administrative Assistant:  Isora Cajigas 703-713-8796

Rhonda G. Kindred, Region XI AIAN T/TA Coordinator

Sault Tribe Community Partners for Healthy Eating Workshop
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Early Childhood Programs in collaboration with Sault Tribe Community Health hosted a hands-on workshop where children learned how to safely cut vegetables and hand- assembled their own veggie pitas and roll-ups. Families received seed packets, starter plants, planting pots, soil, chopping boards, and Curious George Knives for Kids.

Children and their families learned about Healthier eating habits, growing their own vegetables, and the benefits of shopping locally during this gardening focused workshop.

In addition, Virginia Vesper, Early Head Start Home Visitor, has been bringing all the education information and supplies that were given during the workshop and planting small tote gardens with families.
The Early Head Start & Child Care Centers took the information and supplies and have started school tub gardens with vegetables the children will nurture over the summer and then eat in the fall.

The workshop was led by Kathryn O’Donnell of the MSU-Food Corps and tribal member Nancy Griffin of Sweet Grass Farms.

Andrea Matson and her son Easton attended the event. “As soon as we got home that night, Easton made us put our garden together. He told his Dad about his gloves that he won and wore his gloves all night. He was so excited about the gloves he put them back on after the bath and slept with them”.

Andrea also stated: “I loved the event because I am really excited to grow my own food and know where it came from. I am also 100% confident there are no pesticides in what my family is eating”.
From left to right: Amber Koster, Janelle Koster, Stevee Champagne, Charity Merritt, Daisy Wounded Knee.

Crow Creek EHS Program had 5 Teachers graduate with their AA in Early Childhood Development. There are 6 Teachers in this program so 5 out of 6 completed their AA degree. We are very proud of their hard work. It was the first time College classes were held in our Head Start building for staff, we had to bring in an outside college to provide them as Crow Creek doesn't have a college on their reservation. They are all graduates of Lower Brule Community College a part of Sinte Gleske University.
-Anne Reddy, Director, Rural America Initiatives HS/EHS, SD
Red Cliff ECC adds Platform Tent to School Forrest
With the funding and support of the Apostle Island Area Community Fund, an affiliate of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, and the Volunteer in Mission Ministry Group, the Red Cliff Early Childhood Center recently added a platform tent to their School Forrest.

The addition of the platform tent to the School Forest has provided an outdoor learning space that young children and teachers will be able to use for many years. The tent provides a shaded and protected space where teachers and students can engage in intentional teaching. The Early Childhood Center is founded on the mission that Traditional Ojibwe values guide efforts to promote the spiritual, physical, emotional and cognitive development of the children, families and community. Teachers are able to tie traditional practices and teachings into daily lessons and then connect them with child developmental outcomes demonstrating how traditional cultural practices help prepare children as life-long learners. The outdoor learning environment has been a vital piece to the process of engaging children with nature and school readiness. The Early Childhood Center recognizes that the experience of play in nature is essential and important to the well-being of all children.

The Volunteer in Mission Ministry Group (VIM) that serves the Red Cliff community annually providing free labor for home and community projects constructed the platform on June 24th-26th. The collaboration and partnership with VIM was vital to the support of this project and the program is extremely grateful.

The tent was purchased from the Colorado Yurt Company and delivered to the Early Childhood Center on Monday, July 13th. Our very own bus driver, with the help of one other staff, took their time to put the tent up on July 14th. We are very proud that our staff is so willing to go beyond their usual role to help out where needed. July 15th was the first day that children and staff were able to use the tent in its full function! The final day of school July 22nd one classroom used the tent during their nap time. Head Start teacher Julie Erickson says “The children's imaginations can go wild in this new setting; the possibilities are endless! They love the new platform tent!"