The District of Columbia Head Start Collaboration Office (DCHSSCO) is located in DC's Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Division of Early Learning. OSSE is a high-performing, transparent agency that sets proactive policies and exercises vigilant oversight. They direct resources that guarantee residents educated in Washington, DC are among the highest performers in the nation and are fully prepared for successful postsecondary learning and employment in the creative economy. OSSE launched its official name change on June 12, 2007, and was created by the District of Columbia Public Education Reform Act of 2007 (DC Act 17-38).
The vision for DCHSSCO is that all residents receive an excellent education. OSSE’s Division of Early Learning sets high expectations, provides resources and support, and exercises accountability to achieve their mission goals.
The major goals of DCHSSCO include:
- Improving the collaborative relationships with various early childhood education (ECE) stakeholders.
- Contributing to the development of a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for DC's ECE programs.
- Assisting the State Early Childhood Development Coordinating Council's (SECDCC) efforts to develop policy recommendations for the mayor and OSSE around the Kindergarten-Entry Assessment (KEA) and Common Core.
- Improving parent, family, and community engagement (PFCE) practices and outcomes with a special focus on increasing fatherhood and male engagement. This includes the development of a district-wide Head Start Parent and Family Engagement Survey to gather important feedback from families.
- Providing feedback on the DC Mayor's Literacy Campaign Committee.
- Facilitating partnership between state foster care agencies and DC Head Start programs to improve and enhance the referrals of foster families looking to enroll their children into Head Start programs.
- Developing strategy to support the Head Start PFCE framework, including: Parent and Family State Advisory Council; State Advisory Council of PFCE; and Parent and Family Training and Learning Academy.
- Facilitating training regime through that focuses on training ECE opportunities to improve skill sets around parent and family engagement.
- Collaborating with the Office of Head Start's National Center on PFCE Region III training entitled "Leading the Way in Engaging Families." Facilitated session on fatherhood.
In addition to the contributions listed above, DCHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- In support of the First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative, established the "Let's Move! DC – Children and Families Health Expo" and the "Champions for Children" Community Service Award.
- Brought a positive and proactive HSSCO presence back to DC's ECE stakeholder community.
- Renewed focus to the importance of PFCE to early child development.
- Advocated for Head Start at state-level policy meetings.