Federal Monitoring

Introduction to Monitoring

How does the Office of Head Start monitor grant recipients?

The Office of Head Start (OHS) uses the Head Start Monitoring System to measure the performance and accountability of Head Start programs across the country. OHS assesses grant recipient compliance with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Act, and other regulations. The Head Start Monitoring System gives OHS a multi-year perspective on grant recipient operations with a focus on performance, progress, and compliance. It also provides grant recipients with opportunities for continuous improvement. This system conducts off- and on-site reviews and disseminates its findings through formal monitoring reports.

What does the Aligned Monitoring System (AMS 2.0) address?

The Aligned Monitoring Virtual Expo provides a comprehensive introduction to the Head Start monitoring process and each of the review topics. The AWS 2.0 Focus Area Reviews take a systemic view of a grant recipient's services and functions across the five-year grant cycle. It creates a more progressive monitoring system that is able to evaluate grant recipient compliance, progress, and performance across multiple years of program implementation, instead of simply capturing data from grant recipients at a single place in time.

  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®). OHS will conduct CLASS reviews during the 2023–2024 program year and scores will be used to make competitive determinations under the Designation Renewal System.
  • Focus Area One (FA1): Understanding the Approach to Program Services
  • Focus Area Two (FA2): Understanding Performance for Continuous Program Improvement

AWS 2.0 will provide OHS with the performance data needed by year four of the grant cycle. The data is used to determine whether the grant recipient will need to compete for further Head Start funding according to the Designation Renewal System (DRS). OHS also will better distinguish between compliance and quality, enabling them to identify and track elements that reflect strong performance.

What kind of reports will a typical grant recipient receive throughout their five-year monitoring cycle?

The monitoring reports will provide grant recipients with information regarding their performance, including areas of compliance, non-compliances, and deficiencies. In FY24, reports for FA2 reviews will also include information about any Strong Practices observed.

What happens after a review?

Once an AWS 2.0 review has been closed out and if the grant recipient has received the resulting report with findings, the OHS Regional Office program specialists begin to work with their grant recipients to provide support during the corrective action process. When the correction period comes to an end, the Regional Office will conduct a follow-up review to determine if findings identified in the monitoring report have been addressed. Regardless of the findings of the monitoring report and whether any corrective actions must be taken, Regional Offices practice ongoing oversight throughout the five-year grant cycle.

The various activities that occur after a review assist grant recipients in correcting any areas of non-compliance or concern in a systematic and timely manner.