For more information, please contact us at OHSMonitoring at dlhcorp.com.
Head Start monitoring protocols are used by the Office of Head Start (OHS) to gather data and other information to assess grant recipient program operation and performance. Reviews are held for the Classroom Assessment Scoring System Reviews (CLASS®), Focus Area One (FA1), and Focus Area Two (FA2). OHS uses the information collected during reviews to understand the grant recipient's approach to program design and services. The information is also used to evaluate their performance and continuous program improvement.
OHS will conduct CLASS reviews during the 2022-23 program year but will not use the scores to make competitive determinations under the Designation Renewal System.
FY 2023 Monitoring Kickoff
FY2023 Monitoring Kickoff
Glenna Davis: Hello, and welcome everyone to the FY 2023 monitoring kickoff. It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to Tala Hooban. Tala, the floor is yours.
Tala Hooban: Thank you, Glenna. And hi, everyone. Welcome to the fiscal year 2023 monitoring kickoff. My name is Tala Hooban. If you haven't met me, I am in uniform. I just joined as the deputy director for Head Start, and I'm very excited. I was here … I got a preview of the job as acting on a detail for a few months – for six months – before I accepted the permanent.
I have three children of my own. Monitoring is a big deal for me. They've gone through the child care system, of course, since they were like 6 weeks old, which I know how hard that is. I am enjoying Head Start a lot. I'm very excited to be a part of the Head Start family. It is such a great program. And I remember wishing my oldest child – who's almost 11 now – could actually be eligible for Head Start because of the comprehensive services piece and just how the programming was. It's really great. And I'm honored to be here today.
This webcast will actually be available for future viewing on ECLKC. We're also thinking about our friends in Florida who might not actually have power right now. This will be helpful, and all of our friends in Puerto Rico, who are also going through the recovery process.
Why is monitoring important? Monitoring is important because it provides – we get opportunities for new perspectives. We get to see how to get better, how to do things, what research shows us, how to support our early childhood, our children continue to improve. We have time to highlight the good things that are happening in your programs. Monitoring does not always have to be bad. It is exactly when we can share good practices with other grantees and other programs. And it's a really good time for you to review your strategic plans and think about how your programs support children and families in your communities.
How can you get better? It's always … I know we haven't had much time to think about that because of COVID and how much that changes our processes. But hopefully, our monitoring teams and our Regional Offices can continue supporting you in that piece. And how we can offer technical assistance or development, professional development needs to get you closer to those goals. That is why I'm excited about monitoring today.
Today, we will be talking about just the highlights for monitoring, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System – CLASS® – or FA1, Focus Area 1, Focus Area 2, the reporting structure, and then the CARES Act.
I am super excited to be working with Adia. She's so much more fun than me, though. Adia, when do monitoring reviews start, and will we be doing unannounced reviews this year?
Adia Brown: Hey, Tala. Thanks for that question. Hi, everybody. I'm still here. I'm back. I don't know if you can see me because you can only see Tala. I can see Tala. I can't see myself. I'm assuming that you can't see me. But I know that you can hear me. Let me tell you a little bit about what's going on for FY '23 and all of the monitoring highlights. Oh, you can see me, great, great, great.
First of all, we're going to continue this year with our hybrid FA2. That's going to start in October. October, I hope everybody is … It's always hard to get ready for monitoring. But October is going to happen. I know you all are going to be ready. And we're going to do hybrid reviews. That means that we're going to send two reviewers on site. And we're going to have two reviewers off site. That is to really make sure that we still continue to keep people safe during COVID, and that we lessen the exposure of new people into your program. In November, we're going to start FA1. Those are the ones that you guys all know and love. We still want to talk to you, hear about your programs, get highlights. It's going to be lots of fun.
Then we're doing something new this year. We're doing a CLASS® video pilot. Usually, when I'm out and I can see you, everybody claps. Because this year when we do CLASS®, we're not going to be using those scores for designation renewal. Those scores are going to be to help you with professional development and to help us see if there's new ways that we can actually implement CLASS® in the future.
And finally, we are not planning any unannounced reviews this year. We've kind of been going with this theme for a couple of years of not doing unannounced reviews. It's really important to us to let all the programs just reinvigorate, reengage, and recover and restore from COVID. Unannounced reviews are not a good way to do that. We're not going to do those again this year.
Tala: Thank you Adia. Can grantees cancel or postpone the reviews?
Adia: Good, good question, Tala. This is a great question. A lot of times, grantees, we know that things come up, different things happen. What's most important is that you update your availability calendar. Make sure that you're in there, that you're updating that calendar, that you're doing what you need to do. Once your review is actually scheduled, and you've gotten your 45-day notice, we do not reschedule the review. There's no postponement. There's no rescheduling. There's no canceling of the reviews. You really have to make sure that you check your calendar and make sure that your calendar stays up to date.
We're also … This year because things have – we have a lot more grantees this year. There are times where we may conduct some reviews during a holiday week. The weeks that you see on the PowerPoint screen right now, these are weeks where we just have one day in the holidays, a federal holiday, but we can still do … Some of our reviews are shortened. We can still do reviews during that timeframe.
Tala: Adia, what resources are available to grantees to prepare for some of these reviews?
Adia: Tala, there's so many resources available, like tons of them. There's so many resources to help grantees get prepared. We have … We are opening up the Expo again. I know you guys all love the Expo. Expo is still super cool. You can go in there and find all kinds of tools. You can find the protocols. You can find FA1, FA2, at a glance, lots of things. Please make sure you're using the Expo as a great resource for yourself. Also, if you don't want to go to the Expo, we also post tons of things on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. We all call it ECLKC. You can go there. You can find the protocols. You can find the introduction to monitoring, lots of places where you can get resources.
Please, if you're a grantee out there, and you don't know a lot about monitoring, or even if you do, make sure you use some of those resources.
Tala: Thank you, Adia. Can you talk about the CLASS® video pilot and tell the grantees more?
Adia: I sure can. Tala, you're going to love this, too. Grantees, we are doing a CLASS® video pilot this year. What is great about this CLASS® video pilot is it's giving you, as a grantee, an opportunity to recover. We know that CLASS® can be really stressful in programs. We do not want to stress you guys out. We want you to recover. We want you to start. We know that there's a workforce shortage. A lot of things are happening for grantees, and we want to make sure that we support you.
We also want to learn a lot of different ways that we can potentially do CLASS. And we want to find ways to engage you in a really good way. We're going to do a CLASS® video pilot this year. That video pilot is going to be done with about 260 grantees. They're all grantees who were originally on the CLASS® schedule. If you were scheduled to get a CLASS® review, you will be a part of this pilot. The pilot allows for the grantees to submit videos. We're going to have a place where you can submit your videos to Teachstone. We're going to give our grantees a sample of classrooms that they can do those for.
There's going to be a lot of training around this. No one has to worry. There's going to be time for you to learn about technology if you're in the pilot. There's going to be opportunities for you to learn about sound and how to get your best videos. You're going to have opportunities to work with Teachstone to learn how to take really great videos. There's lots of opportunities during this pilot. And when the pilot is over, there's also going to be an opportunity for you to get CLASS® scores that do not count towards DRS, but that can help you with your professional development.
We hope that people enjoy this pilot. We hope that we learn a lot from the pilot. And we hope that it gives you an opportunity to get the breather that you need to get new staff and just recuperate from the pandemic.
Tala: Thank you, Adia. What can grant recipients expect during an FA1 review, and are there any protocol changes?
Adia: They can expect a really good time, Tala. It's going to be awesome. FA1 reviews, they're going to be the – if you've done one, if you haven't done one … Folks, they call you on the phone. And you have an opportunity to tell us tons about your program. There's some things that are a little different this year. It used to be that the FA1 review was five days. That's a lot of days. And as I said, this year is all about giving grantees an opportunity to recover. We have streamlined the FA1 review so that it's only going to be three days. I hope you're dancing in your chairs over there, like, “Yay, it's only three days.”
It's only going to be three days. We're still going to call you on the phone. There's still going to be a review lead. And we're going to go through all of the different things. It's just that we limited the questions. We cut down on the questions, and we made it so that we could gather the information quickly for you from this review. We still want to get a lot of information from your programs. We still want to learn about your foundation. We still want to learn if there's any challenges that you have. And we want to learn about how you're being successful right now. But this is totally virtual, and it's only for three days.
There's a few protocol changes. Just a few. This review is going to cover all of the content areas. But like I said, it's going to reduce some of the time. You're also going to continue to have an opportunity to share. We want to hear about your design. We want to hear about the things that you're doing to strategize for your community needs. Lots of things that we still want to hear about during the FA1. But we really streamlined the process a lot so that you have a time to share with us, but we don't take a lot of your time and create burden in your programs.
Tala: Just to go back to FA1, I think someone asked how many people does it, how many people usually do the FA1?
Adia: That's a good question. That's a really good question. I'm glad you're reading the questions. One, there is usually one review. A review team leader called RTLs – there's one person – they're going to call you before the review. They'll set up times for you to meet, and they'll tell you what they're going to talk about during those reviews. You can also learn a lot by pulling the protocol down, and that'll be up in November. The new protocol will come in, will be posted in November. There's one person that you and your team, people that you choose, engage with during that particular review type.
Tala: And if I'm new to my program, can other people be on the phone with me?
Adia: Yes, absolutely. We want you to get all the support that you can. And the idea here is to bring the people to the call who are the experts, who can tell us about your strategies and how things are working in your program. That's super important.
Tala: And one more process question for FA1. I'm trying to capture them for you. Will there be a note-taker during the FA1 reviews along with the interviewer?
Adia: That's a good question. I believe … This is a belief, and I have a lot of team members who will help me out here if I get it wrong. They'll tell me later. But I believe that the RTL, they are taking notes while they're interviewing you. And there's not a note-taker for that particular review type.
Tala: All right, thank you. For FA2s, can you talk about what grantees can expect, and if there are any protocol changes?
Adia: I can, I can, Tala. I can tell them all about it. FA2 is going to start in October. We're starting up in October, the 3rd, and it's going to feel really familiar to you guys. The thing that's the most different about FA2s, if you had one in the past, is that it is a hybrid review. There's going to be four reviewers – two on site, two off site. Those reviewers who are on site, they're going to go and visit your classrooms. They're going to see your centers. They're going to do some – they're going to do some observations with you. They may look at documents.
And those reviewers who are off site, they also will do some interviewing of your program. They will look at documents off site. That team works together to make your FA2 work. But just like in the past, there's still data tours, document reviews, classroom reviews, all kinds of stuff. When you're thinking about FA2, you should really work with your management team to think about all the things that you want to highlight, and you want to share with the reviewers while they're there.
Again, the protocol is posted. It'll be in two places: on ECLKC and on the Virtual Expo. I always want people to take a look at those so you're prepared for the review, and you know exactly what the conversation is going to entail so that the FA2 will be awesome for you and your program.
There's a few changes, and one big change. The FA2 protocol changes. We did some streamlining of this review as well. Just to make it so that the questions aren't repetitive, we want to make sure that it stays strength-based. We want to hear about your innovations and the different approaches that you have. We also have lots of questions about keeping children safe. This is something that is super important to the Office of Head Start. We want to make sure that programs are working to keep children safe. There's additional questions added to the protocol about your reporting. We really want to make sure that grantees are reporting incidents that happen to children in their programs to the Office of Head Start in conjunction with what you report to the state.
As part of what we do in FA2, we are going to be looking at state data to ensure that if programs have reported something to the state, that they've also reported that to the Office of Head Start. It's super important that we all know about child safety, and that we're all doing things to address it. But an exciting thing that we're doing for the FA2 protocol is that we are instituting this thing called Promising Practice. We're trying it. This year, we're doing what's called the Promising Practice Pilot. And that pilot is designed so that we really start to understand the practices that Head Start programs do that make them super successful.
We feel like the more that we learn about promising practices and the things that you're doing that actually really work for you and work for your community, we can start to build a better repository of things that we can share with other grantees, that we can highlight at the national level. But we really want to know … We want monitoring to not only be this thing that helps us understand whether or not grantees are in compliance. But we also want monitoring to tell us about the things that grantees are doing really well, and why those things really work in their communities, and if there are any innovative practices that we can share amongst other Head Start grantees.
This is a pilot that we're doing. We really want to hear from you guys as we're out there doing this pilot. We want to learn from it. We want to see whether or not this is something that we can add to our arsenal of data that really truly tells the story about each individual Head Start program as well as all Head Start programs nationally. We hope to have a lot of fun with this this year. And we hope you do too.
And if a grantee doesn't have a promising practice, it's OK. This is not a way for us to get new non-compliances or new findings from you. If you don't have a particular promising practice that we're talking about, it's just something to think about. But it's not something that you have to institute in your program at all. It's just things that we're trying to learn across programs to see if there's any commonality in the things that make Head Start programs really great. We hope that you guys really enjoy this part of monitoring this year.
Tala: Just a clarifying question, Adia. Can you go through the timeline of when FA1s will be done and the protocol will be ready, and then FA2s and when the protocol will be released? There's a lot of questions on that.
Adia: I will. And you know what, it's a good thing that my team is so smart, because at the end of this presentation, there is a slide that … You'll get these slides at the end, and it tells you exactly when it's going to happen. But this year, FA2 is starting in October. October, we're actually going to start doing FA2s. We're going to launch it. Things are going to happen fairly quickly for some programs. And that's when that's going to start. The protocol is actually currently posted. If I got that wrong, team, just put it in the chat, but I think the protocol will be there today. If not today, tomorrow.
And for FA1, we're not starting those until November. In November, we will actually post the protocol, or a little, probably the end of October, we will post the protocol for the FA1 reviews. Hopefully, but you'll hear that again in the presentation. Don't worry, you're going to hear it a couple of times.
Tala: Thank you, Adia.
Tala: What actually is included in the monitoring reports?
Adia: This is a another great question. Monitoring reports are – we think that they're super important for grantees. We know that you use them with your boards, with your parents, with a lot of different people. We want to make sure that in that report, we try to give you as much information as we possibly can, and as quickly as we possibly can. What we include in monitoring reports are, well, first, we include summaries that tell your readers just a little bit about your program. We want to give a little bit of the spice of who you are, a little bit of the sweetness of who you are, to people who pick up that report. We hope that by adding summaries to the report, that anyone who reads the report can know a little bit about you.
Summaries and highlights. As the reviewers are talking to you, they're gathering more information from you so that we can fill in those summaries and highlights, and we can share them with people at the Office of Head Start, at the Regional Offices, and just general people who pick up a monitoring review about your program. We include those things. We also include areas of concerns. Areas of concerns are things where we think that your program may need to make an improvement. You want to think about it. We want to make sure that we highlight that there's something in your program that could use some improvement for your Regional Office.
But it's not … An area of concern is not something that has a timeline for correction. It's something that we want you to work on, get technical assistance on, find out more about, but it's not – but we don't expect the corrective action from a grantee. We also include in reports areas of non-compliance. Those have a timeline. Most often, an area of non-compliance has 120 days for you to actually correct it. And if you don't correct the area of non-compliance, it can tumble into becoming a deficiency. No one wants that. And luckily, most programs actually correct areas of non-compliance before they become deficiencies. That's pretty awesome. But those have a timeframe, and you need to correct them.
And some reports, very few, but some reports also include deficiencies. And deficiencies are things that you, depending on the type of deficiency, you either have to correct it within less than 90 days, or over 180 days. And usually, if it's less than 90 days, it's something that's related to child health and safety or a serious fiscal incident in your program. Everything else that's 180 days is usually something that needs to be corrected. But we also understand that the timeframe for it to be corrected is longer because the problem, it has more legs. It's just … It's more in depth, and the program needs more time.
These are the things that you can actually find in in a monitoring report. All of them don't exist in every report. Summaries and highlights are generally across any report that you see. But this is what a monitoring report looks like.
Tala: Will the monitoring reports include promising practices?
Adia: That is a really good question. The promising practices are a pilot right now. My team is working on ways that we can share that information. But it's not written into your report at this time. As we learn more about promising practices, and we improve our reports, if they stick and we think that there's something that really work, we will begin to include them into reports. But for this particular season, they will not be there, because it's a pilot, something that we're trying to learn about. And as we move into the future, if this really works, you can expect to see them across all monitoring reports.
Tala: Thanks, Adia. How can grantees get more information on monitoring?
Adia: Well, I said this a couple of times, but I'm actually excited to say it again, because I want you guys to all know where you can go. You want to make sure that you're really keyed in if you're into ECLKC. We put things there because it's easy for people to find. We hope that you can get the protocols from there. Well, we don't hope, we know that you can, and lots of really good information there. The other place is the Virtual Expo. We've kept that up for many years because we know that it's a place where you can find out all kinds of things about monitoring. There's tips and tricks there. There's lots of different types of tools that you can use. Do use the Virtual Expo, because lots of things are there for you to share and do there.
All right. Tala, you've been going along asking me questions this whole time. But I'm sure that there's more questions in the chat that we need to address. There's tons of them?
Tala: Yes. All right. Let me go through these. There's one. How extensively will the review process cover child health and safety, particularly safety in terms of environments, active supervision, training, medication administration, and all other child safety issues?
Adia: Child safety is really important to us. FA2 reviews really cover a lot about child safety. We actually go around and look at the facilities. We see whether or not you have first aid kits, whether or not they're up to date. All of those different things happen during an FA2 review. We also ask you during FA1 and FA2 reviews questions about your processes as it relates to child health and safety, that relates to supervision, to active supervision, how you use that in your program, to how you handle mandated reporting, and who has to do it in your program.
And to also thinking about when you have incidents that occur in your program, are you reporting them to the proper agencies? And are you actually doing the training, technical assistance, professional development that you need to help teachers to get better? You'll hear a lot of different things in technical assistance and other resources that we have in the Office of Head Start about making sure that staff wellness is at the center of what you do to keep children safe.
And then monitoring, we ask you a little bit about that, too, because this is a really important thing for the Office of Head Start. And we want to make sure that children are safe in your programs.
Tala: All right. Are there … hold on. I had so many questions come up. Sorry.
Adia: It's OK.
Tala: Virtual Expo link, I sent that. Do we have any promising practice examples that you can share with us yet?
Adia: Oh, that's such a good question from you guys. This audience is always so on point, Tala. I love them. They always have the best questions. Can somebody from my team send me in the panelist’s chat an example of a promising practice? I don't have one at the top of mind right now. There's a lot of them though. Tons.
Adia: Yes, somebody's going to do that for me.
Tala: OK, here's one. Will there be a waiver process for Early Head Start teachers and home visitors that don't meet the qualifications for the position similar to what's in place for Head Start teachers?
Adia: That is a good question, and that will require a change in the regulations. I don't know if currently there's thoughts around making a change in the regulation to creating a waiver for Early Head Start teachers. There is one for Head Start at this time. But that, in monitoring, we wouldn't make that change. This is a policy regulation change that I don't necessarily know who's on the board right now. But I'll take it back to the folks who work on it and see if that's something that they're considering over time.
Tala: All right, can you go back a slide? I think people wanted to stay on that side while we answer questions.
Tala: All right. Will class virtual reviews be scheduled for anyone or just those who are scheduled for FA2 reviews in fiscal year '23?
Adia: That's a really good question. There are different types of review schedules. FA1, FA2, and CLASS® has its own separate schedule. It's actually not connected to the FA2 review. There were 260 grantees who were scheduled to get a real CLASS® review this year. They were supposed to get a CLASS® review. Those scores were supposed to count towards DRS. But we have … You guys all know that we've been pausing CLASS® for a couple of years due to pandemic. This is another pause. But that 260 grantees who were previously scheduled for a CLASS® review, those are the grantees who are going to participate in this pilot.
Tala: OK. What if the grantee is very large? Will the number of reviewers remain the same?
Adia: Wow, great question. We do adjust the reviewers based on the size of the program. If you have a bigger program, we will send out more reviews. But when you're doing your review planning call, the review planner will tell you the number of reviewers who are going to be engaged in your review process. Four is the standard, but it can increase based on the size of your program.
Tala: My gosh, all the questions are coming in hot. Oh, will FA1 be a phone call or a Zoom meeting? That came up a few times.
Adia: That is a good question. We have all this new, great technology now where we can use Zoom, and we can use the telephone. And I think it just becomes a matter of choice for the grantee. Every grantee doesn't always have the bandwidth with their internet to be able to do Zoom calls. But if you do, and that's something that you would enjoy doing, we absolutely will do it as a Zoom call. We can do it as a Zoom, or we can do it as a phone call.
Tala: And you have an update on the promising practice. It says one of the ways you can – one of the ways we consider our promising practices, whether or not the recipient uses data from standardized tools like CLASS®, FCCERS, HOVRS, TPI, to assess the quality of teaching and home visiting strategies and the quality of learning environments. I don't know if you want to speak more to that.
Adia: Yeah, I can't see it. But Tala, that actually sounds like a really good promising practice. And the gist of the promising practice is how … Grantees collect a lot of data. And the regulations say you should use the data to do planning and to strategize and all those different things. A promising practice is really a grantee who takes that data to the next step. Who really looks at their data, and they start to make – they start to really understand whether or not they're getting the results that they want. And they make changes so they could get new results or better results. That they think about the data that they're getting in ways that actually helped them maybe change the type of staff that they have. If they need staff that speak a different language, more bilingual staff, things like that.
We're looking for programs who actually use their data in ways that impact the program, so that it actually is more beneficial to the folks who are actually utilizing the services. That's a promising practice. And if we come across grantees that are doing a really great job of it, we kind of just check the box and say it's happening.
Tala: Perfect, thank you. The new IM released this week has a broader interpretation of what is a serious incident that must be reported that actually is quite different from previous guidance, particularly related to reporting children being injured, stitches, or sprains, et cetera. Will programs be held accountable immediately to this broader interpretation?
Adia: Yes. We want to make sure that programs are really clear about what it is that they need to report to the Office of Head Start. We think that there was a lot of confusion about what you needed to report, when you needed to report, who you needed to report to. That IM is really an opportunity for us to provide more guidance to programs and let programs know that we think that child safety issues are really important, and we want to hear about them. We want you to report them. We want to make sure that if you're reporting something to the state, you're reporting it to the Office of Head Start as well. We want to make sure that we are all in this together in keeping children safe.
Head Start programs are the gold standard for Early Head Start. And when we get programs to report to us issues that are happening with the children in the program – kids who get hurt, children who get injured, potential abuse, alleged abuse – when programs report those things to us at the Office of Head Start, we can all work together to create the strategies to prevent even more of these. But when we don't know about them, it's very hard for the Office of Head Start to be able to share with you the strategies or get you the technical assistance that you need so that programs can improve in this area.
We want to stay at the top of our game. We want to stay being the gold standard program. We needed to put out this guidance, and we needed to put this IM out so that programs could really understand the importance of reporting every incident that you have of children who are harmed in your program to the Office of Head Start immediately. So, yes, that IM is in effect right away.
Tala: To clarify, incidents that need to be reported to OHS need to be reported within seven days of the incident occurring, correct?
Adia: That's correct, Tala. That's correct.
Tala: Calendar days.
Adia: Calendar days. Yes.
Tala: OK. And one more question. Thank you for keeping them stuck together. As programs are understaffed, have there been an uptick in incidents?
Adia: Yes. What we are seeing is yes and no. Let me clarify that. Yes, there's been an uptick in incidents. But what is more interesting than the uptick in incidents is the change in type. For a very long time, the incidents that we would get back from programs were basically related to supervision – somebody left a child outside on the playground, child got out of the center, they left the doors. Our top finding for many years has been supervision. But suddenly, this year, our top finding is inappropriate discipline.
Everybody knows, if you know me out there, you know me, people call me the monitoring queen, all that kind of stuff. And what I do in that job is I read every single incident that happens in all Head Start programs across the country. It's become really clear to me that the types, what's happening in programs, and the way that teachers, assistant teachers, different people in the program are actually implementing inappropriate and unacceptable discipline is much higher right now than it has been in the past. And we think that there's a direct correlation to the workforce shortage and the inability to obtain qualified staff. Programs really need to think about that and think about ways that they can really help to mitigate that.
I will say that from my desk, a lot of the incidents that I'm seeing recently from Head Start programs, they really sadden me. And I'm really sorry to see that there are so many people who are this frustrated, that are harming children in ways that they really shouldn't. I want all programs to really think about that. I want programs to think about what they can do. There's a ton of resources that have been listed to help grantees with their staff wellness. But I really want people to make sure that they're thinking about keeping kids safe in a time where we don't have the same staff that we would have had in the past.
Tala: There's a lot of questions about this. And that's really great. I think it's probably helpful to add that on October 13th, too, we will be talking a little bit more about this just to hopefully help people feel better.
Adia: Yeah. And I want people to feel better. I'm like, I'm seeing the chart, Tala, too, like a lot of people talking about the stress and the frustration. And most people who know me, they know I was a teacher in the classroom. Like for a long time, I was also a center director. I did a lot of things. I was a demonstration teacher, lots of stuff. And I've worked with a lot of frustrated teachers. I had been in a place where the classroom can get frustrating because there's challenging behaviors of the children.
But with folks, and when I was a demonstration teacher, I used to teach this a lot. I used to take people back in their minds to them being kids and their childhood, and really remind them that the most critical thing that we do in early childhood education and in Head Start programs, specifically, is make sure that children come into programs where they feel loved, where they feel respected, where they feel safe. As an adult, and as the adults in your program, my frustration, or my bad day is not an acceptable excuse to do anything that is harmful to a child. We need to make sure that our staff are well taken care of, and they have really good mental health. But we also need to make sure that our utmost priority is to make sure that children are not harmed in Head Start programs.
Tala: Thank you. This question has come up in a few different ways regarding reporting. And then, I think I'll switch gears and go back to CLASS, FA1, and FA2. Should programs be reporting to OHS as well as the state even though the state has deemed something unreportable?
Adia: Yes. Tala, a lot of people have questions about that. And we see people kind of making that error. When you report to the state, you should simultaneously report to your Regional Office at the same time. You shouldn't wait to determine whether or not the state says it's founded or whether or not it's substantiated. It's really important that when you report an incident, that you need to report to the state that at the same time you call your Program Specialist at the Regional Office and report that incident.
It is not OK to wait. Do not wait. Waiting could potentially put you in a situation where you have multiple deficiencies, because you did not report this within seven days. Please, when you report to the state, report to us.
Tala: Thank you. OK, back to our monitoring. We will post the IM that folks were referencing earlier, link in a minute. Can you talk about what's the difference between FA1 and FA2? Not necessarily the logistics, but what are the reviewers looking for?
Adia: OK, yeah. FA1s are like – they're like your opportunity to tell us what your plans are. It's the opportunity for you to tell us what you're going to do, what your strategic plans are, what are the things that you're thinking about improving in your program. It's really about the foundation and the ideas of the program, what you're going to do. FA1 is just really that chance for you to do that.
FA2 is your opportunity to demonstrate things. It's your show me opportunity. It's the opportunity for you to show us that you're using an awesome curriculum. It's your opportunity to show us that you're using that curriculum with fidelity. It's your opportunity to show us that your teachers have been getting coaching and that it's working in your program, and that they're doing a fantastic job. FA2 is your opportunity to demonstrate all the things that you have been working up to and planning to do. And now they're actually being implemented in your program. They're working so well. And that's your opportunity to show us what you do.
It's just show your stuff. Where FA1 is to tell us what you planned. That's the difference between those two.
Tala: Is it possible to have FA1 and FA2 in the same year?
Adia: No, it's not possible. I saw that question too. No, it's not possible.
Tala: And then can we speak to the fiscal piece? I'm sorry, this came up a few times.
Adia: It's OK. Yeah. Yeah. Did they ask anything specific about the fiscal piece, or they just want me to talk about the fiscal piece?
Tala: What fiscal pieces are covered in FA1 or FA2, or both?
Adia: OK. There's tons of things that are covered in fiscal in FA1 and FA2. I will tell you the places – this might be really helpful to grantees – I will tell you the places where grantees have been having a bit of trouble this year in fiscal. Some things that we cover in fiscal are federal interest. Really important. Regardless of whether or not you have federal interest or not, you still have to report your federal interest. Make sure that you're doing that. I've been seeing findings about that. And it's just such an easy thing to do. Just report your federal interest. That's really great.
The other thing that I've been saying is inventory. We check on inventory. And I know that during the pandemic, there may have been a lot of people who, maybe you didn't have – maybe a fiscal officer hasn't been around. He's been really busy, other things have been happening. But every two years, you actually are supposed to check your inventory, and there's some programs that haven't been doing that. You want to make sure that you do that. Those are some places where people are kind of struggling with fiscal.
Cost allocation is really important. Making sure that you spend the funds on things that benefit the Head Start program. These are all … We also look at procurement in fiscal. We're looking to see whether or not you're getting bids. You still have to do that. We know there's a lot of people wanted to put in HVAC systems, air purifiers, different things like that. You need to get the bids to make sure that that's happening. And Davis Bacon, we're still looking to see if you hire some people, are you paying them the right wage?
If you go to the protocol, there's a long list of the fiscal things, but those are some of the things that people – that come directly to mind that people have struggled with. And I hope that you don't because you were on this webinar.
Tala: Will programs have a chance to correct any findings or errors before they receive a deficiency?
Adia: In most cases, the answer to that question is yes. Generally, the way that findings are issued is that you typically get an AMC first. And that AMC gives you the opportunity to correct it, get better. There are times, though, when the incident is severe enough, it is systemic enough. And those are two different things. I think sometimes people mix up severe and systemic. Something that is severe can happen one time. We have some really bad incidents that have happened. And it only happened one time, but it was severe enough for us to say that is a deficiency.
There are also … That's one thing. There's also systemic issues. You can have an issue that is so systemic, that we bypass an AMC, and we immediately say, “This is deficient right now.” For the majority of times, especially FA2s, most grantees get an AMC first, and you have the opportunity to correct that. Only in the two incidents that I just mentioned would you get a deficiency right off the bat.
Tala: OK, is the CLASS® pilot for all of grantees? And is it only for this year?
Adia: The CLASS® pilot is only for this year. And we're taking a sample of the 260 grantees that were on the schedule. All grantees are not included in the pilot. I know that some people want to be, but there's only 260 slots. Every program won't get included. But we're going to learn a lot this year. And this is only for this year.
Tala: OK, and how are notifications sent out for FA1, FA2, and CLASS?
Adia: Right. All grantees who are on the schedule currently for any type of review, you get what's called a global letter. That global letter tells you you're on the review. And this is the type of review you're scheduled for. It'll tell you, you're on the schedule for either FA1, FA2, or a CLASS® review. Everyone should have gotten a global letter who is on our schedule right now. After that global letter, within 45 days of your review date. 45 days before your date happens, we send you another letter that tells you, this is the date of your review. This is the type of review.
You get two letters from the Office of Head Start. One is a global letter that tells you, “Hey, you're going to be reviewed sometime this year.” The second letter is the letter with your date that tells you the exact time when we're going to review you as a program. A global letter is a letter that we send out to all programs who are on our schedule for a review year. And it just goes out globally to those programs. It tells you this is what your review type is going to be.
Tala: Are these letters emailed or through the mail?
Adia: These emails come through HSES correspondence. If you haven't gotten one, that probably means you're not going to get reviewed this year. Grantees who are on our schedule have already gotten their global letters. And if anybody on my team, if I got that wrong, just let me know in the chat. I'm pretty sure I got it right. But if I didn't, you can correct me.
Tala: And the global letter is if they're having FA1, FA2, or CLASS, right? Any of them?
Adia: That's right. It's for any of them. If you're on the schedule for any of those types of reviews, you've gotten a global letter and that global letter has said what type of review you're having.
Adia: Is Cynthia Northington around or Latoya? Are you guys around? I want to make sure. There was a lot of questions about the global letter. I want to make sure I got that right. OK. Yes, I did. OK, great. OK.
Tala: All right. Someone asked about the fiscal, and sorry for jumping around, guys, but the questions are going all over. Someone asked about the fiscal. Is the fiscal person going to be on site, or is it a virtual? And then how long is that piece to discuss fiscal operations?
Adia: Right. The fiscal person is … Oh, look, my team is really helping me out. Let's go back to the global letters for a second. OK, my team is helping me out. There's a lot of people in the chat that helped me. For FA1s and FA2s, the global letters have been sent. If you are having that review type right now, you've already gotten a global letter. For the CLASS® pilot, the global letters have not been set yet. Cynthia, I saw you were going to check. Can you tell us when that's going to be? OK, they were waiting for this kickoff to send the CLASS® letters. That means that those claims letters are going to go out today. OK.
Fiscal folks are off site. The fiscal reviewer is off site. And he is the, I'm sorry, he or she, they have five days to complete that part of the review.
How are we doing, Tala? Do we have a lot of – these are ...
Tala: So many questions. I love this.
Adia: So many questions.
Tala: Love the questions. It's great.
Adia: No, April, you cannot have an – yeah, April, you actually could have an FA2 and a CLASS® review in the same year, but not at the same time. They couldn't be at the same time.
Tala: OK, here's something related. In the past, we've had the option to do FA2 and CLASS® reviews together. Can we have the option to do the same this year? Or will they be at different times?
Adia: They're going to be at different times. And we kind of removed the opportunity a few years ago. Yeah.
Tala: Can someone opt into the CLASS® pilot?
Adia: A lot of people have asked me that, Tala. I want to say yes because I kind of want more people to participate. But I don't think we have any more slots. Gosh. Let me think. This is a question that I can't answer right now. But I do want to try to create an opt-in option if it's possible. And if I do, I will – if I can – I will let all grantees know that there's an opt-in option. But right now, there's not one.
What do I mean by inventory? Inventory is all the things that you buy or purchase that are over a threshold dollar, which I think is about $5,000. Every two years, you have to do inventory of all of your property, like buses, and equipment, computers and things like that. And you have to make sure that you have inventory of that.
Tala: CLASS® data. This came up and I missed it. CLASS® data collected in this pilot will not be counted as a deficiency, will it?
Adia: No, no, no. CLASS® data collected in the pilot will not be counted as a deficiency. No, no, no. This is just to help us understand how to do CLASS® in different ways, and to give you more information that you can use for professional development.
Carol Owens, you have a lot of questions about inventory. What I would recommend is that you actually talk to your program specialists, who can probably give you some more technical assistance about all of the ins and outs of inventory.
Tala: Question. If you have not received a global letter, you will not be getting an FA1 or FA2 for fiscal year '23, correct?
Adia: That is what I think. My team, I'm pretty sure that that's true.
Tala: Correct. OK. Thanks, Latoya. And the FAQ. An FAQ will be posted along with the recording of this lovely webinar at a later time. I'm not sure on the timeline on that one.
Adia: Yes, that's true.
Tala: OK, OK, really, that's great. I love engagement. All right. Please repeat. Oh, the Virtual Expo will have the questions and FAQs along with this recorded webinar, is that what you were asking for? And just to note that OHS does reserve the right to add FA1 or FA2 reviews as warranted. Does anyone know from the team, like how the email comes through from HSES about the global letter? Or is it saved in HSES somewhere in addition to email?
Adia: I believe that global letter is saved in HSES. You can go to the HSES correspondence tab. And you can determine whether or not you have a global letter there. Oh, I got it right. Somebody said yes. It's on the HSES correspondence tab. Go check there if you're not seeing the email or something like that, and you can see if you have a global letter that you may have missed.
Tala: All right.
Adia: Oh, Jennifer, I'm glad it's been helpful to you. We want to be helpful to folks.
Tala: Can you speak to what is happening on October 13th? And then I think I will see if I can find the IM.
Adia: OK. On October 13, there will be another webinar. And I'm going to be there, and I hope you guys are going to be there too. I will try to make it just as exciting and helpful as this one. But on October the 13th, we're going to have another webinar, and that webinar is only going to be about the IM on reporting. We think it's worth coming back to grantees and having a webinar where you can ask questions, we can have another conversation, and we look forward to it. We hope you do too. And we all just want to make sure that everybody has a lot of clarity around child health and safety for kids. That's what's going to happen on the 13th.
April, you're welcome. Anna, you are too.
Tala: We threw so much at you today. It's been lovely.
Adia: Denovia, thank you. I'm always there. Kim, thank you, Maria. Everybody. Oh, gosh, I'm going to get a million thank yous. I will say thank you to everybody. But I probably can't say everybody's name. Gretel, you're welcome. Kimberly, you're welcome. And Paris, and Barbara, and Anna, everybody, Jackie, you're so welcome. Everyone is welcome. Thank you, guys.
I'm so glad that you guys enjoyed this webinar. It was great. And also, I got to look good in front of my new boss, you guys. She got to see like how … I told her. I said this is going to be really fun. And the group that we do it for is such a great group. Head Start is just a wonderful community. I have been so glad to be a part of this community for my last 21 years. Thank you so much. And Tala, you did great. Thank you.
Tala: Thank you. I am super overwhelmed by the questions. I mean, I love it. But the operator in me is like let's answer them all, Adia. There's too many. There's no way.
Adia: There's way too many. Well, do you have – I think we have, like … What do we have, like, seven more minutes or something? I'll answer as many as you want.
Tala: All right. Let's see. Oh, man. OK. Oh, no. OK, can you share the signup link for October 13th? If someone has that available, can they send that, please, to me? And I'll post it to everyone. Can we talk about stress and how that affects teachers, and how we can support our teachers and program staff in general? It's not just teachers.
Adia: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, stress is like, I just … I wish we had Sangeeta for this call. And actually, when you come on to the call on October the 13th, Sangeeta is our mental health expert in our office, and she is so much more equipped to talk about stress than I am.
We know that stress is really real. We know that it's affecting the staff. We know that it affects their decisions. We know that there's lots of things that you guys can do to help support staff by giving them breaks, like ensuring that they have a safe word, a call out, things they could do. But Sangeeta is the person on the 13th who will be able to give you just really great information on that. I can't wait till the 13th. You'll learn more then.
Tala: And then.
Adia: Thanks, Alicia.
Tala: Will COVID updates also be reviewed? That's one thing that came up randomly.
Adia: COVID updates also be reviewed?
Tala: Hold on. I'm trying to see if there's ...
Adia: Yeah. There were a lot of things in the protocol, Tala, about COVID, when COVID was going on. There are lots of things that we're removing because we think that grantees, they don't really apply. Grantees did a lot of that work. There is one thing that we are retaining this year. And that is, we're going to do a sample of CARES Act funding. We still, as part of our erroneous payment efforts, the federal government, everywhere in the federal government we have, we are accountable to make sure that the funds that we give to grantees, that they spend those funds on appropriate items.
We have something called erroneous payment to make sure that grantees who get money from the federal government, they spend it in ways that they had promised that they would. For the CARES Act funding, we do have a sample of about 40 grantees who we are actually going to do an erroneous payment study on to ensure that those funds were spent properly. That's one COVID-related monitoring thing.
Tala: This is a great question just because I enjoy it a lot. Is it possible to have Adia as our reviewer?
Adia: Oh gosh, well, it is possible. I don't know if it's possible for that particular program. But I will say that, oh, maybe, I try to get out. First of all, I love doing this job. Everybody who knows me knows I love doing this job. I love coming to programs. I'm actually on the schedule to go to a program already. And I'm sure that my team is going to schedule with me to go to a few more throughout the year. I try to get out maybe five times a year and see a program. I don't always know who that program is going to be. But you may be that lucky person, and I may be the person who does your review. But I do do it sometimes, so.
Tala: All right, I think just one quick question. How do you attend the Virtual Expo office hours? Is there a link?
Adia: Oh, yes. The team sends out a link to everybody about the Virtual Expo hours. Those are great, too. If you haven't been to them, you should go. They answer so many specific questions there. Latoya, or anybody on the call, if we have that link, if we can put it in the chat, that will be great. But if not, we'll send it out and around so that people can attend that. We'll make sure that there's a link. Latoya says “yep, will do.” Yeah, you need to travel with me, Adia.
Tala: I know. I feel like I'm amongst celebrity status over here.
Adia: Oh, gosh.
Tala: It's good. I think, I mean, I don't think we have much time to answer any more. I really, really, really enjoyed the interactiveness of this webinar. It felt real. Adia, thank you for the welcome, all of you. It's been it's been a blast trying to catch up with your, like, questions. Adia, I don't know if you have anything you wanted to say at the end.
Adia: No, I just want to say I hope that you guys have a really fantastic monitoring season. You know me, I want everybody to have a really good monitoring review. We train the reviewers to come out, be respectful, listen to your stories, learn about your Head Start programs. If you do wind up becoming a program that has a finding, don't freak out about it. Make sure that you use those findings to make the program improvements that you need to make in your program.
We're always here to listen to you. We want you to … We do this because we want every Head Start program to be like a super great Head Start program. And most of you guys are. I just want to thank you for coming to the webinar today. And thank you, Tala. You were so awesome. This was our first one together, and it was just – it was awesome. Thank you so much.
Tala: Thank you.
Adia: You're a great question asker.
Tala: Thank you. Thank you all.
Adia: All right, guys. Have a great day. Bye bye.Close
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Office of Head Start
Last Updated: December 13, 2022