The Minnesota Head Start State Collaboration Office (MNHSSCO) is located in the Office of Early Learning and is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Education. MNHSSCO's mission is to establish partnerships and contribute to collaborative efforts that build an effective early care and education system that works to achieve positive outcomes and results for children and families.
Major MNHSSCO partnerships include:
- Early Learning Council
- Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant
- Parent Aware quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)
- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNScu)
- Child Care Aware
- Head Start and Early Head Start Grantees
The State of Minnesota's Early Learning Council is comprised of up to 30 members, one of whom is the MNHSSCO director. The council provides direction and advice to the Governor, the legislature, and other state leaders on early childhood issues, including defining a unified network of public and private support services that prepare young children for success in school and life.
The major goals of MNHSSCO include:
- Fostering seamless transitions and long-term success of Head Start children by promoting continuity of services between the Head Start Child Development and Learning Framework and state early learning standards, including pre-K entry assessment and interoperable data systems.
- Collaborating with institutions of higher education to promote professional development through education and credentialing programs for early childhood providers in the state.
- Coordinating activities with state Child Care Development Block Grant program and resource and referral agency to make full-day/full-year services available to children.
- Supporting Regional Office priorities such as: family and community partnerships; health, mental, and oral health; disabilities; and support to military families.
In addition to the contributions listed above, MNHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Made a commitment to continue to work together towards a coordinated referral system for home visiting. Partners include: Minnesota Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV); representatives from the Minnesota Department of Education Office of Early Learning; Early Head Start; and the Minnesota Head Start Association.
- Supported the development of data sharing agreements through the Head Start Research Partnership. This work will ensure a better understanding of how to support children and families as they transition from Early Head Start to Head Start to local school districts.
- Supported the Parent Aware QRIS. As of March, 2014, 90 percent of eligible Head Start and Early Head Start grantees participate.