The Nevada Head Start State Collaboration Office (NVHSSCO) is located in the Office of Educational Opportunity at the Nevada Department of Education in Las Vegas, Nevada. "All Nevadans Ready for Success in the 21st Century" is the Nevada Department of Education's vision. Their mission is to improve student achievement and educator effectiveness by ensuring opportunities, facilitating learning and promoting excellence.
Through statewide partnerships, the Nevada Head Start Collaboration and Early Childhood Systems (HSC&ECS) Office enhances relationships, builds systems, and promotes comprehensive, quality services to meet the needs of young children and their families.
Major partnerships include:
- HSC&ECS Office
- Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Head Start (OHS)
- Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Grant
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)
- Director's Office of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
- Nevada Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC)
- Nevada Department of Education
- Nevada Head Start Association
- Nevada Expanding Opportunities
Nevada's ECAC is managed by the HSC&ECS Office. The director has served as the chair and coordinator of the ECACsince its inception. Assembly Bill 79, passed during the 2013 legislative session, established the council in statute. It defines membership and duties, and charges the governor with appointing ECAC members.
The major goals of NVHSSCO include:
- Enhancing collaboration and coordination between Head Start and other entities providing early childhood education and development services, including: health care; mental health care; child welfare and protective services; community service activities; family literacy services; reading and school readiness programs; services relating to children with disabilities; development for limited English proficiency (LEP) children; homelessness; and foster care.
- Assisting Head Start agencies to develop a plan for the provision of full-day/full-year services for children enrolled in Head Start programs that need such services.
- Enabling Head Start agencies to better access professional development opportunities for staff to meet the degree requirements, including providing distance learning opportunities for Head Start staff where needed to make higher education more accessible.
- Supporting the Head Start agencies to better conduct outreach to eligible families.
- Improving Head Start's coordination with state and local school entities to foster the seamless transition of children and continuity of services between Head Start and elementary schools. This will better integrate Head Start into a continuum of services that will positively impact the school readiness and long-term success of Head Start children.
- Promoting sharing between the Head Start data systems and those of state preschool and K-12 systems, which includes the assignment of unique State Assigned Student Identifiers (SASIDs) that remain with students throughout their pre-K to grade 12 public education.
- Ensuring the Head Start Program Performance Standards are included in Nevada's Quality Rating and Improvement System's (QRIS) standards to support state system building efforts and eliminate duplicative and burdensome requirements.
In addition to the contributions listed above, NVHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Developed the Expanding Opportunities workgroup to increase inclusion opportunities for young children in all settings. The members include representation from state and local agencies, Head Start, and higher education. Public awareness, higher education and professional development, and alignment of inclusion with state standards are the focus areas of the group. The group supported the Home Visiting Summit and shares information during other early childhood professional development conferences. The group created a statewide systems map that provides a visual representation of the services and support systems in the state that promote inclusion for all young children.
- Supported Head Start grantees in building relationships with stakeholders and partners statewide and in their communities. Strategic planning provides information on goals and activities that the Head Start provides.
- Continued to offer support for the Nevada Technical Assistance for Social Emotional Intervention through funding materials, travel, and personnel. The project provides training and technical assistance to early care and education programs on tools and skills to support positive social emotional development. Three Nevada Head Start grantees are pilot sites for the project.
- Partnered with the Nevada Head Start Association to develop a Nevada Head Start Fact Sheet. The document is geared towards community and statewide stakeholders and provides information, data, and local stories on the benefits and impact that Early Head Start and Head Start have on communities, families, and the state.
- Worked with the Nevada Department of Education and the Nevada Head Start Association to develop a memorandum of understanding that Nevada Head Start grantees can use with local school districts to provide a seamless continuum of services for children with special needs.
- Provided guidance on allocating funding and support for early childhood projects that impact Nevada Head Start programs. The HSC&ECS Office director facilitated the meetings.