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Operational Priorities

The Office of Head Start operational priorities describe the work of the Office of Head Start toward implementing the vision through 2017.

  1. Implement policy to promote Head Start and Early Head Start quality. Finalize and implement new Head Start Program Performance Standards and Fiscal Uniform Guidance requirements.
  2. Ensure Head Start and Early Head Start learning environments and services provide safe, secure, and healthy places for all children to learn and develop. Prioritize active supervision in all settings to increase focused attention and intentional observation of children at all times; promote positive child health outcomes; increase emphasis on preventive services; promote access to continuous, accessible health services; and promote mental wellness of staff, children, pregnant women, and families.
  3. Promote comprehensive, culturally and linguistically responsive services as the foundation of school readiness. Implement Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five. Support effective systems for using child assessment and other program data to track child, family, and program progress over time and for continuous improvement of high quality comprehensive services. Prioritize professional development of all staff, emphasizing high-quality teaching and caregiving practices and effective teacher-child interactions.
  4. Systematically embed outcomes-based family well-being and family engagement strategies in Head Start and Early Head Start. Using the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework as a guide, integrate family engagement and family economic mobility strategies across all aspects of Head Start and Early Head Start to effectively build relationships; engage and support Head Start and Early Head Start families; and boost family well-being and children's school readiness.
  5. Leverage partnerships to enhance quality systems and services. Promote partnerships between Head Start and Early Head Start, child care, early care and education systems, State Head Start Collaboration Offices, schools, and communities to improve continuity for children and families across learning, health, and other community settings.
  6. Improve the leadership and management of Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Use the five year grant oversight process and the Designation Renewal System to yield effective leadership, data-driven practice for continuous improvement, effective use of program funds and assets to support identified program outcomes, and implementation of regulatory guidance/program requirements.
  7. Fully implement the aligned monitoring review system. Use the aligned monitoring system as part of the five year grant oversight process to assure grantees effectively implement quality programs.
  8. Implement the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) T/TA system transformation. Through effective T/TA delivery, promote high quality evidence-based technical assistance for Head Start and Early Head Start programs and the early childhood field. Strengthen the organizational policies and practices at the regional, state, and local level, and improve staff practices with children and families across early childhood education settings.

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