(a) Definition- In this section, the term 'center of excellence' means a Center of Excellence in Early Childhood designated under subsection (b).
(b) Designation and Bonus Grants- The Secretary shall, subject to the availability of funds under this section, establish a program under which the Secretary shall--
(1) designate not more than 200 exemplary Head Start agencies (including Early Head Start agencies, Indian Head Start agencies, and migrant and seasonal Head Start agencies) as Centers of Excellence in Early Childhood; and
(2) make bonus grants to the centers of excellence to carry out the activities described in subsection (d).
(c) Application and Designation-
(A) NOMINATION AND SUBMISSION-
(i) IN GENERAL- To be eligible to receive a designation as a center of excellence under subsection (b), except as provided in clause (ii), a Head Start agency in a State shall be nominated by the Governor of the State, after selection for nomination by such Governor through a competitive process, and shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.>
(ii) INDIAN AND MIGRANT AND SEASONAL HEAD START PROGRAMS- In the case of an Indian Head Start agency or a migrant or seasonal Head Start agency, to be eligible to receive a designation as a center of excellence under subsection (b), such an agency shall be nominated by the head of the appropriate regional office of the Department of Health and Human Services and shall submit an application to the Secretary in accordance with clause (i).
(B) CONTENTS- At a minimum, the application shall include--
(i) evidence that the Head Start program carried out by the agency involved has significantly improved the school readiness of children who have participated in the program;
(ii) evidence that the program meets or exceeds standards described in section 641A(a)(1), as evidenced by the results of monitoring reviews described in section 641A(c), and has no findings of deficiencies in the preceding 3 years;
(iii) evidence that the program is making progress toward meeting the requirements described in section 648A;
(iv) an assurance that the Head Start agency will develop a collaborative partnership with the State (or a State agency) and other providers of early childhood education and development programs and services in the local community involved to conduct activities under subsection (d);
(v) a nomination letter from the Governor, or appropriate regional office, demonstrating the agency's ability to provide the coordination, transition, and training services of the program to be carried out under the bonus grant involved, including coordination of activities with State and local agencies that provide early childhood education and development to children and families in the community served by the agency, and carry out the activities described under subsection (d)(1); and
(vi) a description of how the center involved, in order to expand accessibility and continuity of quality early childhood education and development services and programs, will coordinate activities, as appropriate, assisted under this section with--
(I) programs carried out under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858 et seq.);
(II) the Early Head Start programs carried out under section 645A;
(III) Early Reading First and Even Start programs carried out under subparts 2 and 3 of part B of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6371 et seq., 6381 et seq.);
(IV) other preschool programs carried out under title I of that Act (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.);
(V) programs carried out under section 619 and part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1419, 1431 et seq.);
(VI) State prekindergarten programs; and
(VII) other programs of early childhood education and development.
(2) SELECTION- In selecting agencies to designate as centers of excellence under subsection (b), the Secretary shall designate not less than 1 from each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, an Indian Head Start program, a migrant or seasonal Head Start program, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(3) PRIORITY- In making bonus grant determinations under this section, the Secretary shall give priority to agencies that, through their applications, demonstrate that their programs are of exceptional quality and would serve as exemplary models for programs in the same geographic region. The Secretary may also consider the populations served by the applicants, such as agencies that serve large proportions of families of limited English proficient children or other underserved populations, and may make bonus grants to agencies that do an exceptional job meeting the needs of children in such populations.
(4) TERM OF DESIGNATION-
(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall designate a Head Start agency as a center of excellence for a 5-year term. During the period of that designation, subject to the availability of appropriations, the agency shall be eligible to receive a bonus grant under subsection (b).
(B) REVOCATION- The Secretary may revoke an agency's designation under subsection (b) if the Secretary determines that the agency is not demonstrating adequate performance or has had findings of deficiencies described in paragraph (1)(B)(ii).
(5) AMOUNT OF BONUS GRANT- The Secretary shall base the amount of funding provided through a bonus grant made under subsection (b) to a center of excellence on the number of children eligible for Head Start services in the community involved. The Secretary shall, subject to the availability of funding, make such a bonus grant in an amount of not less than $200,000 per year.
(d) Use of Funds- A center of excellence that receives a bonus grant under subsection (b)--
(1) shall use not less than 15 percent of the funds made available through the bonus grant to disseminate to other Head Start agencies in the State involved, best practices for achieving early academic success, including--
(A) best practices for achieving school readiness, including developing early literacy and mathematics skills, for children at risk for school difficulties;
(B) best practices for achieving the acquisition of the English language for limited English proficient children, if appropriate to the population served; and
(C) best practices for providing high-quality comprehensive services for eligible children and their families;
(2) may use the funds made available through the bonus grant--
(A) to provide Head Start services to additional eligible children;
(B) to better meet the needs of working families in the community served by the center by serving more children in existing Early Head Start programs (existing as of the date the center is designated under this section) or in full-working-day, full calendar year Head Start programs;
(C) to further coordinate early childhood education and development programs and services and social services available in the community served by the center for at-risk children (birth through age 8), their families, and pregnant women;
(D) to provide professional development for Head Start teachers and staff, including joint training for Head Start teachers and staff, child care providers, public and private preschool and elementary school teachers, and other providers of early childhood education and development programs;
(E) to provide effective transitions between Head Start programs and elementary schools and to facilitate ongoing communication between Head Start and elementary school teachers concerning children receiving Head Start services to improve the teachers' ability to work effectively with low-income, at-risk children and their families;
(F) to develop or maintain partnerships with institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations, including community-based organizations, that recruit, train, place, and support college students to serve as mentors and reading partners to preschool children in Head Start programs; and
(G) to carry out other activities determined by the center to improve the overall quality of the Head Start program carried out by the agency and the program carried out under the bonus grant involved.
(e) Research and Reports-
(1) RESEARCH- The Secretary shall, subject to the availability of funds to carry out this subsection, award a grant or contract to an independent organization to conduct research on the ability of the centers of excellence to use the funds received under this section to improve the school readiness of children receiving Head Start services, and to positively impact school results in the earliest grades. The organization shall also conduct research to measure the success of the centers of excellence at encouraging the center's delegate agencies, additional Head Start agencies, and other providers of early childhood education and development programs in the communities involved to meet measurable improvement goals, particularly in the area of school readiness.
(2) RESEARCH REPORT- Not later than 48 months after the date of enactment of the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, the organization shall prepare and submit to the Secretary and Congress a report containing the results of the research described in paragraph (1).
(3) REPORTS TO THE SECRETARY- Each center of excellence shall submit an annual report to the Secretary, at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may require, that contains a description of the activities the center carried out with funds received under this section, including a description of how such funds improved services for children and families.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2012 to make bonus grants to centers of excellence under subsection (b) to carry out activities described in subsection (d) and research and report activities described in subsection (e).