The Iowa Head Start State Collaboration Office (IAHSSCO) is located in the Iowa Department of Education, Division of Learning and Results, Bureau of School Improvement. The vision of Iowa's Department of Education is that students will become productive citizens in democratic society, and successful participants in a global community. The mission of the department is to champion excellence for all Iowa students through leadership and service. The IAHSSCO is focused on promoting policy and partnerships that support Iowa's early childhood vision that every child, beginning at birth, is healthy and successful.
Major partnerships include:
- Early Childhood Iowa (ECI)
- ECI Stakeholder Alliance
- Department of Education
- Department of Human Services (DHS)
- Department of Public Health
- Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children
- Iowa Head Start Association
The State Advisory Council is the ECI Stakeholder Alliance. The IAHSSCO coordinator is a member of the Alliance, of the Stakeholder Alliance Steering Committee, and of three component groups: Professional Development; Results, Accountability, and Governance; and Planning and Administration. The coordinator also serves as the co-chair of the Governance, Planning, and Administration component group and as co-chair of the ECI Diversity Advisory Committee.
The major goals of IAHSSCO include:
- Promoting and facilitating the development and maintenance of successful Head Start and state pre-K collaboration at state and local levels.
- Promoting and facilitating the development of agreements and procedures that assure sharing and integration of Head Start data with state data systems and data collection.
- Supporting statewide efforts to fully implement an early childhood professional development system.
- Increasing the number of programs providing and children using full-day/full-year services through collaboration with DHS and Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR).
- Promoting and expanding participation in Iowa's QRIS by Head Start programs, child care providers serving Head Start families, and child care providers caring for children served through Child Care Assistance (CCA).
- Supporting the work of ECI as the governor-designated Early Childhood Advisory Council, including promoting partnership with local ECI areas.
- Expanding access to services and improving outcomes for Head Start and other low-income children in targeted health areas through collaboration activities at state and local levels.
- Promoting stronger and more seamless collaborative partnerships among Head Start, area education agencies (AEAs), and local education agencies (LEAs).
- Expanding access to services for Head Start and other low-income children of military families through collaboration activities at state and local levels.
- Conducting a needs assessment of Head Start agencies in Iowa with respect to collaboration, coordination, and alignment of services.
In addition to the contributions listed above, IAHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Launched the Dental Home Initiative in close collaboration with Iowa's I-Smile Dental Home.
- Secured initial funding for a pilot state-based Early Head Start program that included a family child care partnership component.
- Led in the design and implementation of a statewide early childhood Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support system that includes training, coaching, system connectors, and a data system.
- Promoted a strong role for state Early Head Start programs in the rollout of two rounds of Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program funding.
- Participated in and promoted the development of a comprehensive, integrated early childhood professional development system.
- Developed collaboration between T.E.A.C.H. and Head Start.
- Organized the state's first parent summit to increase the voice of parents into early childhood system development work.
- Promoted a statewide license for the Teaching Strategies GOLD online assessment system.
- Pioneered Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) training and screening, in collaboration with the state EHDI coordinator.