Program Management:
A View of
Different Roles

After reviewing the Always Cutting Edge (ACE) Head Start program’s recent Self-Assessment report, the director convenes a meeting of the senior team, which includes all the service managers and the fiscal manager. She shares with them that the Self-Assessment report recommends an increased focus on math in the School Readiness plan for the coming year. The report shows that progress was made on the majority of the program’s SR goals, but not on the one addressing the math domain. The education manager responds that teachers are having difficulty integrating math activities into the curriculum. The observation data and teacher surveys indicate that this is partly due to lack of training and partly due to lack of materials and resources. The family services manager points out that while there have been many parent workshops on reading literacy, there have been none on math literacy. Meanwhile, the health services manager, who serves as the program’s representative to the county Early Childhood Collaborative, tells the group that math has become a priority for the Collaborative, which is planning a series of professional development opportunities on the topic. After further discussion, the management team decides to incorporate the following revised math-related strategies within the SR plan for the upcoming year:

  • Improve teacher training in the area of math through a variety of professional development sessions offered by the National Center for Quality Teaching and Learning
  • Provide parents with three workshops throughout the year on how they can reinforce math at home
  • Purchase additional classroom materials that children can use to count, compare, relate, identify patterns, and problem solve

The fiscal manager asks team members to provide estimated costs for these activities. She agrees to revisit past expenditures for similar items and to assess whether the next year’s budget can support the activities. In a follow-up meeting with the director, the fiscal manager indicates that she investigated costs and was able to integrate some of the activities suggested at the management team meeting into the proposed budget for the next year. She is ready to present this budget to the Policy Council and the governing body at the same time the director presents the revised math-related strategies to support the program’s SR goals.

The director presents the recommendations of the Self-Assessment report at the next Policy Council meeting and leads a discussion regarding the need to integrate more math activities into the learning environment. The director shares the management team’s proposed revised SR plan and strategies to address this issue, which include offering parents three additional workshops on reinforcing math learning at home. The Policy Council chair says that the reading literacy workshops for parents have been well-attended and he does not want to lose momentum in this area. At the same time, he does not know if parents, with their busy schedules, can attend any additional workshops. He asks if it would be possible to address both reading and math in one workshop or to alternate topic areas while keeping same number of parent workshops to for the year. Another parent says that, based on recent parent survey results, parents want other types of workshops, such as those that teach skills in first aid and CPR. Understanding the importance of parent involvement when it comes to SR, the Policy Council chair suggests inviting the family services manager and health services manager to the next meeting to discuss how the program can communicate to all parents the importance of SR and why it will continue to be a focus of parent workshops in the upcoming year. He also says he wants to brainstorm with the staff and the PC members to come up with alternatives for addressing parents’ requests for other workshop topics. The Policy Council votes to recommend the revised math-related SR strategies and corresponding budget changes to the governing body for approval.

At the next governing body meeting, the director and fiscal manager present for discussion the proposed revised SR plan and budget for the upcoming year. Governing body members who served on the Self- Assessment team share the recommendations of the SA report, which emphasizes the need for the program to increase focus on the math SR goal in the coming year. They discuss that collected data show that while there was great progress on the majority of SR goals, little progress was made toward meeting the math SR goal. The director shares that the management team met and came up with a proposed plan for addressing this issue. She also explains that the Policy Council met, discussed the revised plan, and recommended that both the revised strategies and the supporting budget be approved. A governing body member who is chair of the county Early Childhood Education Collaborative offers to keep the director informed about professional development opportunities focused on math so that program teachers will be able to participate. Meanwhile, another governing body member, noting the numerous successes identified through the Self-Assessment, suggests sending out a press release to the local media sharing the program’s successes from the previous year.

Last Reviewed: June 2014

Last Updated: August 28, 2014