Head Start directors provide vision and leadership in the development, understanding, and purpose of school readiness goals.
Steps to School Readiness
- Use the Head Start Roadmap to Excellence [PDF, 251KB] as a guide for including staff, governing body and Policy Council members, and the community in the development of long-range and short-term program and school readiness goals [PDF, 915KB] and financial objectives.
- Use the Leader's Role in School Readiness session from the Learning for New Leaders: Head Start A to Z series to help clarify the relationship between school readiness and program goals.
- Ensure that Head Start and Early Head Start school readiness goals [PDF, 552KB] are aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, early learning guidelines, state and local requirements and expectations.
- Align school readiness goals with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework, Program Preparedness Checklist, and Compliance with Care: A Crosswalk Between the Head Start Program Performance Standards and Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition.
Planning and Implementation
- Foster an understanding and implementation of program and school readiness goals [PDF, 384KB] among all stakeholders of the program, including local education agencies (LEAs) and schools.
- Use the Leader's Role in School Readiness session from the Learning for New Leaders: Head Start A to Z to understand how the 10 Head Start management systems support school readiness.
- Establish a continuous improvement planning process that addresses all Head Start management systems to ensure that progress toward goals is being assessed periodically, and at a minimum three times per year.
- Work with the governing board and fiscal manager to ensure that the resources and capacity needed to meet goals—including professional development opportunities and materials, equipment, and technology—are available.
- Assess program systems and services for children who are dual language learners and their families and use the data in planning and decision making.
Assessing and Aggregating
- Ensure that children's progress is being measured at both the individual child and program-wide levels. Ensures that children's progress is being measured at both the individual child and program-wide levels.
- Employ ongoing monitoring to aggregate and analyze data to evaluate progress toward school readiness goals and make mid-course corrections when needed.
- Assure that school readiness goals are understood and supported by all stakeholders, including parents, families, staff, and governing body, Policy Council, and community members
- Ensure that school readiness goals are integrated into program planning and that continuous improvement adjustments are made based on collected and aggregated data and evidenced-based practice.
- Foster cooperation between the program and elementary schools to support seamless transition and continuity in school success for children and families entering the school system through memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with LEAs.
Overview and Requirements
- Part 1304 Subpart B – Designation Renewal
- School Readiness in Programs Serving Preschool Children (ACF-PI-HS-11-04)
- Head Start Approach to School Readiness [PDF, 915KB]
- The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework
- Improving School Readiness and Promoting Long-Term Success: The Head Start Roadmap to Excellence [PDF, 251KB]
Guidance and Support
- A Guide to Resources for Developing School Readiness Goals [PDF, 384KB]
- Leader's Role in School Readiness — Learning for New Leaders: Head Start A to Z
- Program Level School Readiness Goals for Early Childhood Programs: Examples from the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL)
- Curriculum, Assessment, and the Head Start Framework: An Alignment Review Tool
- Using the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework in Your Program: Markers of Progress [PDF, 3.6MB]
Additional Materials and Tools
- Data in Head Start and Early Head Start Interactive Modules (This resource is under review)
- PFCE Framework Webinar Series: Understanding How Program Foundations Work Together to Strengthen Parent, Family, and Community Engagement
- Program Preparedness Checklist Version 5: A Tool to Assist Head Start and Early Head Start Programs to Assess Their Systems and Services for Dual Language Learners and Their Families
- What Does Research Say about Early Childhood Education?
Stories from the Field
Last Reviewed: December 2016
Last Updated: December 15, 2016