New Funds for Head Start Transition Activities
NOTICE: This Issuance has been withdrawn or superseded. It is provided for historical reference only and has no current applicability or effect.
Administration on Children, Youth and Families
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Administration for Children and Families
1. Log No. ACYF-PI-HS-96-14
2. Issuance Date: 07/31/1996
3. Originating Office: Head Start Bureau
4. Key Words: Transition
TO: All Head Start Grantees and Delegate Agencies
SUBJECT: New Funds for Head Start Transition Activities
BACKGROUND: From the inception of Head Start in 1965, grantees and delegate agencies have been encouraged to implement effective transition practices to enable children to maintain the developmental gains achieved in Head Start and to build upon such gains in further schooling. A national focus on transition issues and practices began for the Head Start Bureau in the 1970's through partnership with Follow Through Programs. Subsequent efforts included Project Developmental Continuity and the Basic Educational Skills Project, intended to stimulate developmentally appropriate approaches in partnership with families, Head Start programs, and community schools.
In September of 1991, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) awarded 32 grants for the purpose of demonstrating successful community partnership approaches to supporting children and families as they move from Head Start through kindergarten and the first three grades of public school. These transition grants, and the longitudinal evaluation of the project, are being funded through fiscal year 1996.
The final report of the longitudinal evaluation will not be available until 1998. However, early indications support previous findings that there are four critical elements to assuring a successful transition effort. These are discussed in the rationale section below. In addition, the national demonstration has provided greater understanding of transition as a complex process which must be viewed as a continuum rather than a narrow, time-limited period and in which responsibilities must be shared.
In order to continue our commitment to this very important effort, ACYF will make the $35,000,000 reserved annually for transition activities by the Head Start Act available to all of the approximately 1,400 Head Start grantees throughout so they can implement or enhance transition practices. Each Head Start grantee is eligible to apply for transition funds from its Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACF) Regional Office. The transition funds will be awarded as an increase to on-going Head Start grants at the time programs are refunded, beginning with programs refunded on July 1, 1996 and continuing with refundings each month through June 1, 1997, by which time all grantees will have been able to receive the increase. Grantees will be informed by their ACF Regional office of the amount for which they will be eligible to apply.
This amount will be determined by first allocating funds earmarked under Section 639(b)(1)(B) according to the formula in Section 640(a)(4) based on each grantee's share of the total enrollment within the State and then supplementing that amount with discretionary funds authorized under Section 640(a)(2)(D) to ensure that each grantee receives the minimum allocation necessary to provide meaningful transition services.
The funding of any grantee's transition funding request will be dependent on a satisfactory explanation of how the grantee will use its increased funding to improve the transition of Head Start children in the communities served by the grantee. These funds will be permanent increases in grantees, base funding levels and are to be used solely for enhancing the transition of Head Start enrolled children and families into their local school systems. Further, the intent of these dollars is to enhance current transition services, not to supplant existing program dollars.
In making decisions about how to utilize these dollars and how to structure transition services, grantees are advised that a description of these services is contained in Section 642(d) of the Head Start Act, the text of which is attached for your information.
Section 642(d) includes provisions to strengthen communication-and coordination between Head Start programs and elementary schools, and to encourage ongoing parent involvement once Head Start children enter school. Additionally, it is expected that grantees will design and deliver transition services consistent with these four critical elements which support positive transition experiences for children and families:
- ongoing communication and cooperation between Head Start staff and their counterparts in schools and community programs (early intervention, Title I, preschool, etc);
- educating and preparing parents for transition and for their continuing role in their children's education;
- preparing children for and involving children in transition experiences and;
- supporting and encouraging program continuity through the uniform use of developmentally appropriate practices and curricula which sustain the involvement and support of families.
For grantees which have not yet begun transition programming, there are many things, such as an assessment, which can be started this year to enhance overall transition practices. Other activities will need to build slowly over time and in conjunction with other agencies, providers, and local education partners.
Sample activities include:
- Conducting a "transition assessment" across programs to identify current practices, needs, shared goals and outcomes, interest levels, resources available, etc., and writing a Comprehensive Transition Plan for the agency and community. This might begin with, or include, the formation of an advisory committee with membership of Head Start parents and staff, school personnel, and former Head Start parents with children in the community schools.
- Involving parents in all aspects of assessing, planning for, and enacting transition practices.
- Employing a Transition Coordinator to support transition processes across the various early childhood settings in a community.
- Extending the hours of current staff in order to plan and carry out transition experiences for Head Start children and families.
- Providing joint in-service opportunities, summer institutes, and cross-program visitations to increase understanding of early childhood development, and to help put into place practices which assure developmental continuity across Title I, Even Start, community child care and other programs.
- Coordinating a prekindergarden-primary school fair or other community-wide events to allow parents, staff, community organizations, and children to meet, to visit programs, to ask questions, and to begin or enhance their informed participation in the school community.
It is important for Head Start to be able to support the continued success of the children and families it serves. We urge all Head Start programs to take advantage of this opportunity to improve their current transition efforts for children and families and to apply for a share of these transition funds.
Any questions on this matter should be directed to your ACF Regional Office.
Olivia A. Golden
Head Start Bureau
New Funds for Head Start Transition Activities. ACYF-PI-HS-96-14. HHS/ACF/ACYF/HSB. 1996. English.
This is a Historical Document.
- PI-96-12 FY 1996 Head Start Funding
- PI-96-14 New Funds for Head Start Transition Activities
- PI-96-19 Head Start Funding Increase for Fiscal Year 1997