The Kentucky Head Start State Collaboration Office (KYHSSCO) is located in the Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood. The Governor's Office of Early Childhood believes the future strength of the commonwealth depends upon the healthy development of our youngest citizens.
The Kentucky Invests in Developing Success (KIDS) NOW initiative builds upon existing resources, fosters public-private partnerships, ensures collaborative planning and implementation, and mobilizes communities. The main goals of the KIDS NOW Initiative are to support and strengthen families and assure that all children grow and develop to their full potential. The initiative works to provide high quality, accessible, affordable early care and education options, and promote public awareness of the importance of the first years for the well-being of all Kentucky's citizens.
In Kentucky, every child deserves the right to arrive at kindergarten ready to grow, ready to learn, and ready to succeed. The KYHSSCO supports this goal by developing collaborative partnerships with state agencies and organizations that can positively affect improving children's school readiness.
Major partnerships include:
- KY Governor's Office of Early Childhood
- Early Childhood Advisory Council
- Kentucky Department of Education
- Cabinet for Health and Family Services
- Cabinet for Education and Workforce
- KY Head Start Association
- KY Center for Education and Workforce Statistics
- Kentucky School Board Association
- University of Kentucky
- United Way of Kentucky
- KY Association of School Administrators
- KY System to Enhance Early Development
- Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
- Kentucky State Police
The Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) was created by former Governor Steve Beshear's Executive Order on July 12, 2011. Governor Beshear appointed members to a four-year term. The 26 members of the council are broadly representative of the early childhood profession and geographically diverse. The director of the KYHSSCO is a current member of the ECAC.
The major goals of KYHSSCO include:
- Defining school readiness in Kentucky as meaning that a child enters school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child's success.
- Working together with families, early care and education providers, school staff, and community partners to provide environments and developmental experiences that promote growth and learning to ensure that all children enter school eager and excited to learn.
- Leveraging partnerships and resources to remove barriers that allow every child in every community to arrive at kindergarten ready to grow, learn, and ready to succeed in school and life.
In addition to the contributions listed above, KYHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Developed the Common Kindergarten Entry Screener, which provides districts a way to measure students' readiness for school in five domains: Adaptive, Cognitive, Motor, Communication, and Social and Emotional.
- Designed the 2013 Early Childhood Profile to provide each county with data that will assist them in developing strategies to ensure that every child in their community arrives at kindergarten ready to grow, ready to learn, and ready to succeed. The profiles contain results from the kindergarten screener pilot, which was launched in 109 school districts in 2012. It also provides information about participation in publicly funded preschool, Head Start, and child care. It includes information about the quality and availability of child care and the education of the early childhood workforce. Finally, demographic data is provided representing key indicators of possible barriers to success for young children and their families and participation in public health and social service programs that can help.
- Worked with the assessment sub-committee of the (KY) Early Childhood Advisory Council to update the Kentucky Early Childhood Standards. The updates consisted of:
- Aligning the standards with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework
- Including Kentucky's definition of school readiness
- Placing emphasis on the "Approaches to Learning" domain
- Produced and updated Parent Guides. These guides help parents understand the early development of their child and provide opportunities for their child's growth and development. Guides were updated to reflect changes to the KY Early Childhood Standards.