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Introduction to Monitoring

How does the Office of Head Start monitor grantees?

The Office of Head Start (OHS) uses the Aligned Monitoring System to review grantees. It has been designed to support the OHS transition from indefinite grants to a five-year grant cycle. This approach ensures that monitoring continues to measure the quality and accountability of Head Start programs across the country. It also provides grantees with opportunities for continuous improvement. The Aligned Monitoring System gives OHS a multi-year perspective on grantee performance with a focus on high quality and compliance.

OHS assesses grantee compliance with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Act, and other regulations through the Aligned Monitoring System. This system conducts on-site review events and desk review events. It disseminates its findings through formal monitoring reports.

The Aligned Monitoring Virtual Expo provides a comprehensive introduction to the Head Start monitoring process and each of the review events.

What does the Aligned Monitoring System address?

The Aligned Monitoring System addresses OHS' need for greater granularity in distinguishing between high and low grantee performance. It also aids in intensive examination of performance in these core areas:

  • Environmental Health & Safety
  • Leadership, Governance, & Management Systems
  • Fiscal Integrity/Enrollment, Recruitment, Selection, Eligibility, and Attendance (ERSEA)
  • Comprehensive Services & School Readiness
  • Teacher-Child Interactions, as addressed through the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) observation instrument

The Aligned Monitoring System will provide OHS with the performance data needed by year four of the grant cycle. The data is used to determine whether the grantee 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 the office to identify and track elements that reflect strong performance. OHS designed the Aligned Monitoring System to provide two different review processes based on the grantee's history, the Comprehensive Monitoring Process and the Differential Monitoring Process.

What is a Comprehensive Review?

For a typical five-year project period, grantees will receive five assessments within the Comprehensive Monitoring Process in the first three years of the project period. Individual review events will focus on one content area at a time, giving the grantee and the reviewer a better opportunity to achieve a more in-depth review of each area. The content areas are:

  • Environmental Health & Safety
  • CLASS®
  • Leadership, Governance, & Management Systems
  • Fiscal Integrity/ERSEA
  • Comprehensive Services & School Readiness

What is a Differential Review?

In an effort to recognize grantees that have a history of compliance, OHS developed the Differential Monitoring Process. Those who meet the eligibility criteria will receive an enhanced Head Start Key Indicator-Compliant (HSKI-C) review.

The HSKI-C review is composed of 27 compliance measures from the Differential Monitoring Protocol. Each measure possesses high correlation with successful Head Start programs. If a grantee does not pass the HSKI-C, they will participate in the Comprehensive Monitoring Process during their current five-year grant cycle. If a grantee does pass the HSKI–C review, they will receive only the Environmental Health & Safety and the CLASS® reviews during their current five-year grant cycle. Successful grantees will receive the full complement of comprehensive reviews during their next five-year grant cycle.

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

A typical grantee will receive annual reports for all reviews occurring in years one through three. In year four, a typical grantee will receive a final "roll-up" report summarizing the results of years one through three.

What happens after a review event?

Once an Aligned Monitoring System review event has been closed out and the grantee has received the resulting report, the OHS Regional Office begins to work with the grantee to provide support during the corrective action process. During the correction period, program specialists from the Regional Office work with their grantees to ensure that any support they need is provided. 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 event assist grantees in correcting any areas of non-compliance or concern in a systematic and timely manner.

Topic:Federal Monitoring

Keywords:Designation renewal systemOngoing monitoring

Resource Type: Article

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