The Role of Head Start State Collaboration Offices in Building State Professional Development Systems

The Office of Head Start (OHS) has renewed its commitment to increasing the qualifications of Head Start teachers by partnering with states to enhance the efficacy, diversity, and capacity of states’ professional development systems. The Head Start community will gain insight from this article into how the Head Start-State Collaboration Offices (HSSCOs) support and promote states’ professional development systems and the connections between institutions of higher education that enable students to transfer credits between institutions. Included are lessons learned for fostering a system of professional development that suits this target student population.

 

The following is an excerpt from .
Head Start Bulletin

Lessons learned about building professional development systems

by Carmen Bovell

Given the importance of increasing staff qualifications of Head Start teachers, there has been renewed interest by the Office of Head Start (OHS) in partnering with states to improve the effectiveness, diversity, and capacity of states’ professional development systems. The Head Start-State Collaboration Offices (HSSCOs) are critical to Head Start-state partnerships that foster states’ professional development systems.

A common task for the HSSCOs has been improving the articulation and linkages among higher education institutions. This effort enabled students to successfully transfer credits between institutions. Head Start staff who entered higher education from multiple entry points and pathways obtained college degrees without losing credits.

Lessons the HSSCOs have learned about building professional development systems include:

  • Collaborative partnerships bring together needed resources, expertise and ownership among the key stakeholders Early childhood professionals who work directly with young children and families
  • represent a key viewpoint that can provide essential feedback for the planning and continuous improvement of the professional development system.
  • Uderstanding the unique strengths and challenges of a state are critical to building the professional development system.
  • Passion, vision and long-term commitment by a core leadership group are key to building momentum for a professional development system.
  • Celebrating accomplishments helps recognize and reward those who strengthen professional development systems.

Note: The author acknowledges the contribution of Head Start Fellow, Teresa Lock. The information in this article was extracted from a draft report of a study conducted during her Fellowship year entitled, “The Role of Head Start State Collaboration Offices in the Development of States’ Early Childhood Professional Development Systems.”

Carmen Bovell was a Senior Advisor for the Office of Head Start.

"The Role of Head Start State Collaboration Offices in Building Sate Professional Development Systems
Lessons learned about building professional development systems." Head Start Bulletin Professional Development #79. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2007. English.

Last Reviewed: May 2012

Last Updated: November 13, 2014