The Ohio Head Start State Collaboration Office (OHHSSCO) is located in the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness, Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The mission of the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness is to ensure that all children enrolled in programs under the ODE's jurisdiction are provided a quality program in a safe environment and are ready to enter kindergarten.
OHHSSCO coordinates federal, state, and local policy to support an efficient and effective early care and education system. Priority areas include health care, welfare, child care, education, community service activities, family literacy services, activities related to children with disabilities, and services for homeless children.
Major partnerships include:
- Early Childhood Advisory Council
- Governor's Office
- Parent Information Network
- English language learner professional development modules
- Ohio Head Start Association
- Head Start statewide needs assessment
- Key state departments, including the Departments of Health and Mental Health
- Early childhood agencies, associations, and advocacy groups
- Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program
Ohio identifies with the Early Childhood Advisory Council, and the OHHSSCO is an appointed member.
The major goals of OHHSSCO include:
- Promoting a coordinated early care and education system that includes Head Start through active collaboration with state, federal, and community partners and support for service and policy alignment.
- Supporting a coordinated health care delivery system for Head Start children.
- Supporting a coordinated social and family services system for improved Head Start family outcomes.
- Improving the collaboration of and access to family literacy and education support services for Head Start families.
- Collaborating with the early care and education professional development system to ensure alignment and understanding across state and federal programs.
In addition to the contributions listed above, OHHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Improving Head Start's coordination with state and local school entities to foster a seamless transition of children and continuity of services between Head Start and elementary schools.
- Supporting the implementation of the Early Childhood Advisory Council.
- Ensuring the Head Start Program Performance Standards are included in recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS).
- Promoted collaboration among statewide early care and education partners and played a key role on the leadership team for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant reform agenda.
- Worked with the Ohio Departments of Health and Mental Health and other organizations to ensure the physical, social, emotional well-being of children.
- Supported the planning, development, and implementation of the MIECHV Program.
- Implemented the Ohio Parent Information Network website and ensured the work was leveraged with Ohio's RTT-ELC work to create a parent and family communication and information tool aligned with the governor's early learning reform agenda.
- Supported dual language learners (DLLs) and their families by reinforcing both their home and English language development.
- Worked with the 619/Part B coordinator to increase awareness and collaboration of disability services.
- Served as leader on the Professional Development Network to coordinate revisions to Ohio's Core Knowledge and Competencies and greater involvement of higher education in professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers.
- Worked with the Ohio Head Start Association to ensure Head Start programs and directors are provided with information and professional development opportunities.