R7HSA Head Start Sand Box Winter 2017-18

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Winter 2017-18


SAND BOX Growing Strong Partnerships

Where Young Learners Play to Learn

Beyond Our Region Stuff vs. Experiences and much more! On the Road to School Readiness www.R7HSA.com


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18



Easy-to-use handheld OAE Screener for students of all ages

Quick Guide to TE 1

Turn the unit ON


Visually inspect the ear and select an ear


Place the probe in the ear so it fits snugg


If you would like to use the Child Mode,

Easy touch screen

MADSEN Alpha OAE is a handheld hearing screener for students of all ages. Designed to meet the minimum requirements for hearing screening. The large touch screen; pictured below, is intuitive and simple to navigate. A built-in probe check cavity ensures testing accuracy by allowing the screener to check the probe in an instant. MADSEN Alpha OAE even incorporates an engaging “cartoon” designed to reduce squirming and fidgeting during the testing process. MADSEN Alpha OAE is DPOAE only. It includes a single protocol and a predefined pass/refer criteria that will produce results in seconds. This device has the capability of storing up to 50 tests. An optional label printer is available.

navigation MADSEN Alpha (OAE) Select the Test Ear. The speaker check and calibration will begin. If probe fit is acceptable, the test will automatically begin.

At the end of the test, select one of the following

855.283.7978 www.audiologysystems.com/alpha ALP1702-SB


The Prob

1 Place Test the other ear

Retest the same ear

2 From prob

HAPPY 2018

Winter 2017-18

REGION VII HEAD START FAMILY! With a new year come new opportunities, new challenges, and a time to refocus and reinvigorate your passion for

What’s Inside?

what you do for children and families each day. Thank you to our contributors whose stories and updates

5 Contributors

showcase who Region VII Head Start is, and the lasting impact your dedication has on the community. As you


Letter from Ann Linehan

read the inspiring stories in this issue, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the importance of the

8 Beyond Our Region

work you do. Thank you also to our dedicated business partners who chose to invest their marketing dollars in the production of this publication. They are inspired by the work you do, and they want to be a part of it. Their ongoing support of Region VII Head Start makes this powerful publication possible, by offsetting much of the production cost associated with the hundreds of copies making their way around the region and nation. I encourage you to reach out to these wonderful organizations and learn

10 Stuff vs. Experiences 12

A Family Investment

14 Shared Learning 16

Growing Strong Partnerships

20 Partner Sites Increase Access and Quality

more about the products and services they provide to Head Start programs.


Calendar of Events

If you have an idea for a story for a future issue of the Sand Box, please let me know!

Inspired by you,

Mike Baugher D irector of Executive Services,

and Publisher of the Region VII Head Start Sand Box TM magazine

Contact us at: R7HSA, 312 SW Greenwich Dr., Ste. 105, Lee’s Summit, MO 64082 Phone: 816.550.6388 Email: mikebaugher@r7hsa.com | R7HSA.com



Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

The Region VII Head Start Sand Box™ Magazine is published by Region VII Head Start Association. Articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect R7HSA’s opinions. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent. R7HSA does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Information in the Region VII Head Start Sand Box™ Magazine is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.

Region VII Head Start Association, Thank You for all you do for Early Childhood!

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Acting Director Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Head Start (OHS)

Regional Program Manager Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Head Start (OHS)




Director Project Eagle University of Kansas Medical Center

Director Project Eagle University of Kansas Medical Center

Speaker, Artist, Author, & Co-Founder of Escape Adulthood



Director MATURA Head Start


Marketing Director Youth In Need

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Office of Head Start | 330 C St., SW, 4th Floor, Washington DC 20201 | eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov

January 3, 2018 Dear Head Start Grantees and Delegate Agencies, I hope the holiday season was filled with joyful times with your loved ones and some respite to refuel. As the New Year begins I want to bring attention to two requirements that have, in some cases, resulted in unnecessary and potentially detrimental actions taken by the grantee. First is the reporting requirement found in CFR 1302.102 (d)(1)(ii) requiring grantees to report immediately or as soon as practicable any significant incidents affecting the health and safety of program participants. Second is Standards of Conduct, CFR 1302.90 (c)(1)(i)(ii)(A)-(I),(iii),(iv),(iv) and (v), describing the positive strategies adults must implement when interacting with children, a list of prohibited actions endangering the health and safety of children, and ensuring no child is left alone or unsupervised. Over the past year, reports of child health and safety incidents have increased. We are uncertain if the increased reporting is due to compliance with CFR 1302.102 (d)(1)(ii), whether more incidents are occurring, or both. We suspect it is due to the increased reporting, and we want to acknowledge grantees’ compliance with the requirements. However, the Office of Head Start (OHS) has observed unintended consequences of these requirements that we want to bring to your attention. In some cases, grantees are reporting minor incidents that do not require selfreport. More importantly, some agencies immediately terminate staff involved in incidents, which may not be, in all cases, the best course of action for the child and staff. Reporting OHS has zero tolerance for any situation that places a child in harm’s way. Grantees’ hypervigilance in keeping every child safe and secure and feeling loved every moment while in their care is foundational to Head Start and Early Head Start programs. However; some grantees may believe they are required to report all health and safety incidents, even when they are not significant incidents and do not harm or endanger children. Grantee characteristics like climate, locale – urban, rural, remote, shared facilities including playgrounds, level of security systems, just to name a few – vary greatly, and it would be impossible for the Office of Head Start to issue a definitive list of what are considered non-reportable insignificant incidents. To determine which incidents are reportable, grantees should work with management, governing bodies, Health Advisory Committees, mental health consultants, and local or state licensing agencies to develop guidelines that differentiate between staff, consultant or volunteer practices, and/or behaviors that need improvement but do not harm or endanger children, versus reportable practices or behaviors that harm or endanger children. 6

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Personnel Actions Personnel policies and procedures must include appropriate penalties for staff, consultants and volunteers who violate the Standards of Conduct. Many grantees move to immediate termination of staff involved in these violations. We are concerned grantees believe OHS expects termination of staff who violate the Standards of Conduct and will view it as correcting the violation. This perception is not correct. OHS expects that each incident will be carefully assessed and appropriate actions will be taken holistically, not just with the individual involved in the incident. Grantees should determine whether they have adequate ongoing support, supervision, and training necessary for staff to succeed. If necessary supports are not ongoing, systemic, and available to staff, consultants, and volunteers working directly with children, the problem is more likely a systemic management weakness, and firing an individual will not correct the problem long term. Investing additional supports for staff committed to professional development and improvement may be, in some cases, a far better investment than termination. Children and parents may abruptly lose a beloved teacher, which can be disruptive to social and emotional development and erode continuity of care. Additionally, programs then face a period of time when staff are anxious, less experienced substitutes step in, and the likelihood of another incident increases. We recognize growing and maintaining highly competent staff is a tough job, and not every day will be a perfect day; however, every day a child leaves their Head Start or Early Head Start program they should feel safe, valued, special, happy and bathed in love. Sincerely,

Ann Linehan Acting Director Office of Head Start


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Beyond Our Region My Hurricane Response Experience by Clarence Small, Regional Program Manager Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


hile most of the country paid attention to the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, many were unaware of the impact to the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). The USVI consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, and other surrounding minor islands with a population of approximately 107,000. Hurricane Irma was the first to hit the islands in September 2017. Irma’s effects were most profound on Saint Thomas and Saint John where at least 12 inches of rain fell. Compounding response efforts in areas already struck by Hurricane Irma just two weeks prior, Hurricane Maria caused additional widespread catastrophic structural and infrastructural damage to neighborhoods and businesses. I was asked by the Central Office of Head Start and the Region 2 Office of Head Start to be part of a 5-member Human Service Team to deploy to the Virgin Islands. Each Subject Matter Expert (SME) was assigned specific Administration for Children and Families (ACF) programs to assess, evaluate, and provide technical assistance where appropriate. My areas were Head Start and Child


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Care. After meeting the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of Human Services, I spent the first couple of days assessing the damage to facilities and working with staff on projected timeframes to clean up, repair, and reopen. This was critical to the health, welfare, and safety of children, their families, and the staff. A majority of my time was spent touring facilities and meeting Head Start staff. In the Frederiksted district of St. Croix (which was the hardest hit area on the island), parents were anxious for the largest Head Start facility (200 children) to reopen. Knowing that their children would be in a safe, clean environment provided the opportunity for parents to take care of critical needs, such as applying for SNAP and other emergency assistance. In my daily reports, I recorded the issues and concerns. Due to the loss of electricity, the countryside was littered with generators, and noise pollution was a major issue causing sleep deprivation. During evening debriefs, as I reported out, our team lead would convey messages to federal agency partners such as SAMSHA, FEMA, EPA, and SBA. As we received information about vital resources/timelines, my goal was to share that information with Head Start and Child Care providers. Assessing the needs

of staff was another area of focus. “How are we to take care of our children when we need help ourselves” was a question asked during one of my conversations with Head Start teachers. I began concentrating on accessing mental health services for Head Start staff. Over the course of time spent looking at Head Start services, I visited numerous centers on St. Croix and St. Thomas. Before I left to return home, unfortunately, only 2 of the 19 centers were able to open on modified double session timeframes.

and when I approached the two, Ms. Janet let it be known her disappointment that I had not visited her classroom. From that day forward, we forged a friendship that I will treasure. In fact, she thought I was from FEMA. Her house had been completely destroyed and her first words after “Who are you?” was, “I need a house.” I couldn’t promise her a house, but I did promise to ensure that everyone I came in contact with would know her situation. I took a picture of my new friend and every evening during debriefings, I would remind the team, this is Ms. Janet Parker and she needs a house. Another Head Start teacher was leaving in just two days for Houston, Texas, to witness the birth of her first granddaughter. Visibly stressed, as we began to talk, I reminded her of what’s truly important and guaranteed that holding her new grandbaby for the first time would put things in perspective. I met a Child Care Director in St. Thomas who shared all the obstacles she faced as a direct result of the storm. I asked her a simple question, “What is your immediate need?” and I got an unusual answer, “red crayons.” Her primary concern wasn’t on her needs for repairs or even electricity. She wanted normalcy for the children in her care, and she lacked crayons and paper for them to color and create. I was profoundly struck by that answer, and I informed her that I would do everything I could to ensure I got her some crayons.

Child Care was in worse shape. At the time of my arrival, there was no power, limited road accessibility, no phones, and Government Child Care staff were still trying to make contact with providers. I accompanied them on several trips to locate Child Care facilities. The majority of child care businesses were renovated rented houses. I learned Child Care providers were paying high rental rates to landlords who enjoy comfortable revenues for properties that were less than stellar prior to the storms. The overwhelming issues were: (1). The cost of reestablishing their child care business (2). The loss of income affecting creditors and staff compensation (3). The loss of staff due to post-storm struggles (4). Landlords requiring payments although no revenue was being generated. The island’s high cost of living makes those properties a hot commodity, despite their conditions/ locations. I witnessed overwhelming human heartache. I toured homes, Head Start facilities, and child care businesses damaged/destroyed, too many without insurance. I talked with families that were sick from drinking unsafe water, residing outside in the dark in extremely humid and unsafe conditions with no electricity, nowhere to go, and not sure of next steps towards normalcy. And yet, on the other hand, I met and talked with people who were taking things in stride and with hope in their heart. Many families and staff I met exhibited an upbeat “this too shall pass” optimism. I mutually laughed with a lady who share her humorous experience of being chased from room to room as if Hurricane Maria was a person. Ms. Janet is a teacher at the Frederiksted Head Start Program. The center serves up to 200 children. On the day of my visit, staff was there cleaning. I introduced myself to teachers and staff as I walked throughout the building. I was in the car about to leave when Ms. Janet summoned the driver, Mr. Richards. Mr. Richards quickly motioned for me to come


When I returned to the Regional Office, I shared this story with staff, and everyone has been donating items. In fact, our TTA System Specialist reached out to several of our vendors and I want to give a personal shout out to Discount School Supply, Constructive Playthings/US Toy, and Lakeshore for their generous response and donations.

Child Care facilities on St. Thomas and St. Croix that were affected.

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Overall, I want to thank Ann Linehan, Acting National Director, OHS, Fran Majestic, Program Operations Director, Region 2 Regional Administrator Joyce Thomas, Regional Program Managers Carolyn Baker and Magdamari Marcano. It was an honor to be asked and I consider it a privilege to have served ACF – OHS. I also want to thank Region 7 staff for carrying on in my absence and to those of you who sent good thoughts and well wishes my way. Let’s continue to keep Puerto Rico and theVirgin Islands (especially our Head Start/Child Care colleagues) in our thoughts and prayers. Their recovery will be a long one.

JASON KOTECKI Speaker, Artist, Author, & Co-Founder of Escape Adulthood


s the ho ho hos of the holiday season abruptly transitioned to the ho ho hums of winter, I came across this abandoned television on a walk around the neighborhood. (Sad face added by me.) No doubt this technological marvel was the highlight of some Christmas past, but there it sat on the side of the road, amidst dirty piles of old snow, valueless. Here is what I was inspired to write: The beauty of the light from a hundred candles in a darkened church on Christmas Eve, the afternoon spent together covered in flour while baking snickerdoodles, tucking some deliriously excited but exhausted kids into bed after a late night at Grandma’s; these moments that rush by too fast — rudely neglecting to warn us of their importance as they go — are more valuable than a million big screen TVs. Indeed, the intangible things grow more valuable every passing year. We usually wish we had savored them more when we had the chance. In many ways, this year will be the same as the last: filled with temptations to chase the tangible, as well as thousands of opportunities to seek out, embrace, and savor that which is not. 10

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Now, I’d like to add to my Funko Pop collection, and I wouldn’t turn down a KitchenAid mixer, but just as no one on their deathbed ever said they wished they had spent more time at the office, no one ever said, “I wish I would have accumulated more stuff!” But certainly more than a few people have wished they’d taken more family vacations, thrown more parties, undertaken more adventures, or created more memories with the people they loved. When we spend money on stuff, it usually depreciates in value over time. This year’s musthave Christmas gift is next year’s Goodwill contribution. However, the money we invest in experiences is different. The memories we make appreciate in value as we get older and loved ones move on. The money we spend on experiences is always a bargain and leaves us with longer lasting feelings of happiness. This is not really a rant against “stuff.” After all, The Lemonade Stand at my website is filled with goodies that make great gifts, and I loved seeing my kids unwrap their treasures on Christmas morning. This is really a call for mindfulness. Just maybe there are opportunites where instead of buying a “thing” for someone you care about, you might consider gifting them an experience of some kind. It could be a simple weekend trip, concert tickets, a nice dinner out, a scholarship for an art class, an evening of bowling, or a visit to a spa for a massage. The possibilities are endless. My goal is to look for more ways to invest in memories that get more valuable each passing year than accumulating a future ornament for the end of my driveway.

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Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Manuel Cintora, left, adds strips of bacon to a patron’s plate Sunday, as Aidan Sparks looks on at the Clarion Inn Convention Center during the Kansas Children Service League’s annual Red Stocking Breakfast. The pair, both Keneth Henderson Middle School seventh graders, were among the Junior Leadership Corp students from KHMS and Horace Good Middle School volunteering at the event. [BRAD NADING/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER]

A Family Investment by Diana Henderson / Special to The Telegram, Garden City, Kansas


hristmas trees, decorations, volunteers, families, and even an appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus were all part of the annual Red Stocking Breakfast held Sunday morning, December 17. The breakfast, which took place at the Clarion Inn, 1911 E. Kansas Ave., was a fundraiser for the Kansas Children’s Service League, with tickets $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Cecilia Douglass, grant development manager with the KCLS, said this is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. “We are the program provider for Head Start and Early 12

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Head Start,” she said. “And pretty much everything we raise here is going to benefit Finney County.” Early Head Start supports parents by providing home visitation for children younger than 3. Head Start provides center and home-based programs for children ages 3 and 4. “Building a solid foundation for success in school and later in life is the aim of KCSL’s Early Education programs,” according to the KCSL website. “In addition to school readiness, these programs focus on children’s health, nutrition, and social development, as well as provide support and resource referrals to families.”

Douglass served as a volunteer at the Red Stocking breakfasts in 2014 and 2015. Because it’s been two years since the KCSL had a breakfast, she doesn’t know how much money the event will bring in. “I’ll be happy with anything we can raise today,” she said. “There is a void in perinatal education. These services help educate expecting families, so we can help prevent cases of child abuse and better equip parents with what to expect with a newborn, because that’s stressful.” KCSL Red Stocking breakfasts also took place in Emporia, Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City. “It really just helps us out to support the program because we are federally funded,” Douglass said. “There’s quite a bit to this program. While those grants are designed to help in certain areas, there are also areas where we are required to provide the funding.” According to Christie Reed, director of Head Start for KCSL, the program serves approximately 180 families in Finney County. She said that a federal grant the organization receive requires a 25 percent match from the community in either dollars or volunteer hours. “The most important part of this breakfast is that it was all put together by parents of our program and community partners,” she said. “It’s important for communities to be invested in services provided for families.”

Irvin Chacon, 13, was one of the Horace Good students who volunteered. “I think it’s a good cause because you get to help out the community. You get to help out the city,” he said. “You get to help other people.” He said he has learned leadership, respect and responsibility from his volunteer work. Chacon was joined by Horace Good classmate Julliain Martinez, 14. “What I’m learning is you’ve got to meet people to know people,” he said. “It takes a big responsibility to help them.” Marco Rodriguez, 31, and Graciela Valera-Mendez, 29, of Garden City, volunteered by selling tickets for the event. Marco Rodriguez said their 4-year-old son, Saloman, has learned a lot by attending Head Start, including brushing his teeth and sharing with his 9-year-old sister. “We want to get the other parents more involved with it, to be involved with their kids,” Marco Rodriguez said. “Because a lot of us focus on work, and at the end of the day our children is what is important.”

Several area businesses donated items for a raffle, ranging from movie passes and a certificate for an auto detail to tote bags and a basket of coffee and chocolate.

Building a solid foundation for success in school and later in life is the aim of Kansas Children Service League’s Early Education programs.”

Randy Sleep, 51, of Holcomb, is the Junior Leadership Corps teacher at Kenneth Henderson Middle School. He brought six of his pupils, plus six from Horace Good Middle School to volunteer at the breakfast. He said the class teaches being a servant leader by giving of yourself and time. “This is an important opportunity for the kids to get out of the class and do that,” he said. “They learn a lot of social skills as they do that.”

~ KCSL website

Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Neidis Franco, 30, of Garden City, said three out of four of her children have attended the Head Start program. “I think it’s a great event where we can get more awareness of child abuse,” she said. “Anything I can do to help them out, I’m here for them.”

Franco’s children had their pictures taken at the photo booth inside a frame decorated with red and white stripes, a stocking and a picture of Santa. She said she would like to make this event a Christmas tradition for her family. “I want my kids, in the future, to support great causes like this,” Franco said. “I think they make a difference in their community. I want them to learn it’s nice to receive, but it’s better to give.”

December 18, 2017 http://www.gctelegram.com/news/20171218/family-investment Reprinted with permission. 13

Erin Davignon, 31, of Lakin, brought her family to the event. She said her mother has donated to KCSL in the past, and their six children like to come and eat breakfast. They enjoyed a meal of eggs, bacon, potatoes and biscuits and gravy. “The breakfast is always good, and the kids love seeing Santa,” she said.

Educare Symposiums are a component of the shared learning that takes place as part of an Embedded Professional Development model.

Shared Learning: A Component of Embedded Professional Development by Jessica Haremza Diop, Educare Director, Project Eagle, and Heather Schrotberger, Director, Project Eagle


n a recent Friday, teachers and staff members at Educare Kansas City gathered for a morning of shared learning from the experts, which, in this case, were each other. Two times per year, as part of the embedded professional development model at Educare Kansas City, teachers and staff prepare presentations for the Educare Summer and Winter Symposiums. All teachers, master teachers, and family support staff are asked to participate either individually or as a member of a team. Collaboration amongst members of teaching teams or various school community of practice groups is encouraged. Staff members submit their topics and descriptions a few weeks ahead of time for review and approval by school leadership. Presentations last approximately 5-10 minutes and must be related to a professional development topic from the past several months.


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

Educare Kansas City carries out an embedded professional development model. When intentionally implemented as it is at Educare Kansas City, an embedded professional development model assures that teachers and school staff receive ongoing mentoring and support, engage in reflective practice and supervision, and participate in focused professional development. In this way, the program can link gains in teacher practices and classroom quality and sustain them over time as a component of a reflective organizational culture. The leadership of the program protects and values time for the growth and development of teachers, recognizing the impact of this approach on children’s outcomes. These Educare Symposiums are a component of the shared learning that takes place as part of this embedded model. Each teacher and staff member receives a comprehensive professional development guide

at the beginning of the school year that describes the role of the symposiums in the ongoing professional learning. In addition to providing a platform for peer sharing, the symposiums provide teachers with an experience that allows them to strengthen and practice their proposal and presentation skills. The whole process is modeled after submitting a presentation at a professional conference. Educare Kansas City teachers and staff are encouraged and provided opportunities throughout the year to share their experiences and expertise with other early education professionals and future professionals through local, state, and national conference presentations; articles in local and regional newsletters and journals; and two on-site professional development evenings for local and regional providers. Many of the topics for these presentations and articles originate at these symposiums. For instance, two Educare Kansas City teachers first presented “The Power of Choice in an Infant Toddler Classroom” at the symposium, sharing ways the teaching team had implemented offering choices in their classroom and the outcomes. These teachers then grew this presentation and added elements of curriculum delivery to it and presented at the River Bend AEYC conference.

At Educare Kansas City’s most recent Winter Symposium, presentation topics focused mainly on social and emotional development, as this was the program’s professional development focus for the year. Topics from the day’s eighteen presentations ranged from how music can support social and emotional development to using intentional language in the classroom to support social and emotional needs. Peer presenters highlighted innovative strategies for promoting social and emotional development in the classrooms and working with families and provided the Educare Kansas City school community opportunities to reflect together on how the different strategies and techniques worked across the program. The morning offered an opportunity for teachers and school staff to celebrate their successes, and to reflect on lessons learned over the past months, as well as creating time and opportunity to consider how the practices and experiences of their peers might influence or inform their own practices with Educare Kansas City’s children and families. *Note: Educare Kansas City is a program of Project Eagle at the University of Kansas Medical Center. As a provider of Early Head Start services in Wyandotte County, KS, Project Eagle focuses on preparing children, engaging families, and promoting excellence.

Educare symposiums provide teachers with an experience that allows them to strengthen and practice their proposal and presentation skills.


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18



rue partnerships are seldom easy, can be scary, and don’t come quickly. MATURA Head Start has been partnering with the Bedford Community School District for approximately 10 years and it wasn’t an easy road. There have been lots of meetings, tons of conversations, masses of emails, and numerous “tweaked” agreements until we finally have what we truly believe is the “utopia” of preschool settings! Our Head Start classroom began in the “Purple Palace” community building in the late 60’s before having some initial discussions with the Bedford School District in 2007. The district was moving a mobile home unit to the school property in the early days of Statewide Voluntary Preschool and Head Start was invited to be a part of this venture. Head Start didn’t have a great name during


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

this time, and we really wanted to change that thinking. Soon, a new preschool building was discussed with lots of conversations about the facility, playground, and Head Start regulations. The building was completed in the spring of 2010 which held two preschool classrooms, an office, and small kitchen right beside the elementary building. How exciting it was to begin the next school year with all 4-year-olds receiving full-day services in fully-integrated classrooms! It was a dream come true and continues to be the wish for all of our MATURA Head Start classrooms. It wasn’t always easy as we worked toward implementing the Head Start Performance Standards. Head Start Director, Julie

YOUR TM SAND BOX JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER! Clockwise from top left: Shannon Weed, Education/Disabilities Coordinator, Dana Nally, Elementary Principal, Julie Lang, MATURA Head Start Director.


Lang along with district principal, Dana Nally worked through the growing pains for several years. New teaching staff for both the district and Head Start almost every year was definitely a challenge. Shannon Weed began her Head Start career in 1997 as a teacher associate. She went back to school to finish her teaching degree and then get her special education endorsement continuing as the teacher. She has seen all the changes as well and weathered the storms of staff turnover now sitting on the “other side” as the Education/Disabilities Coordinator for MATURA Head Start. Since Shannon also lives in the same community, she sees the small town atmosphere which she claims can be a strength and a challenge. “You already know everyone, which is great but can also be a challenge at times,” she says. “Everyone knows everyone else’s business and there also aren’t a lot of resources in a small community.” As we get ready to begin a new recruitment and enrollment season, it feels so good to know that we just work together with the school to get those classrooms filled. We’ll review the joint handbook that we tweak every year, talk about what worked and what didn’t, look over our agreement, and be ready to start a new year together. And when the superintendent, board member, MATURA staff, or community person walk into one of the classrooms, they won’t see low income/high income; they’ll just see all kids playing and learning together like it is in the rest of the school district.


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

To find out how to advertise or include a story in upcoming issues of the Region VII Head Start Sand Box magazine, send an email to mikebaugher@r7hsa.com.


Is it Time to Reconsider your Program’s Curriculum?


hen was the last time you implemented a new curriculum? Are your teachers grumbling or do you find yourself stuck with a curriculum not meeting your program’s needs? Are you tired of having to go outside of your curriculum to add-in missing components? Do you find you’re not really satisfied, want to make a change, but don’t want the hassle? Are you having to constantly invest in more training but don’t feel you are gaining greater fidelity or more joyful classrooms? Then it’s time for a change. A good curriculum should be research-based, comprehensive and easy to implement and supervise. It should not create more stress, more confusion, and more work for your teachers. A good curriculum provides a better managed classroom and a happier learning environment for both children and their teachers.


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

It should provide easily accessible resources, access to professional development and include easy-to-use learning tools. There is a buzz in the early childhood community; a company called Frog Street Press, LLC is bringing back the joy into teaching!! Frog Street early childhood programs are the perfect fit for every age and every stage Birth to 5. Their bilingual comprehensive curriculums written by senior authors Dr. Pam Schiller and Dr. Brian Mowry are built on four key cornerstones: Early Brain Development Research; Developmental Learning Domains; Intentional Instruction; and Social Emotional Development. All Frog Street programs are aligned to Head Start Early Learning Outcomes, as well as state standards,

ADVERTISEMENT and meet NAEYC early childhood program standards. The innovative FSPK curriculum is designed to produce measurable gains in student achievement. Some of the highlights are: Integrated lessons with a defined scope and sequence of instruction; Social-emotional development using Conscious Discipline® strategies; Differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners including English Language Learners and children with special needs; Innovative technology for teachers and children including ABCmouse® lesson activities; and A joyful approach to learning. Have you ever tried to adapt or modify curriculum to meet the diverse needs of the children in your care? We understand that as children grow, their needs change. Frog Street programs offer developmental and learning continuums that allow children to build on previously mastered skills to more readily achieve new skills in a

seamless and continuous way. Are you looking for ways to increase your CLASS® scores? Classrooms using Frog Street programs, which are designed around the latest early brain development research, have reported an increase in CLASS instructional support scores in the first year of program implementation! Do you search for ways to help your children achieve the social competence and emotional stability you know they need to be successful learners? Frog Street early childhood programs place a special emphasis on social and emotional development through the implementation of Dr. Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline®. As children practice daily rituals that invite them to unite, calm, connect, and commit, they are laying the foundation for invaluable life skills. Frog Street Curriculum, “Built by teachers for teachers” is worth checking out.

We asked a few Region 7 Head Start programs what prompted them to make the switch to Frog Street curriculum: “School readiness is such an important part of early learning. It was not a tough decision for our early childhood team to take the leap with Frog Street! We knew it was time to look for a new curriculum. Our program is no different than others when it comes to having a healthy combination of both experienced staff and those who you hired … yesterday. We were looking for a curriculum that would fully prepare both experienced and new staff to strengthen program outcomes. This is our first year using Frog Street Pre-K and Frog Street Threes curriculum. We have been very pleased with the curriculum. The context is caring and supports active learning. One remarkable strength of the Frog Street curriculum is the ease of onboarding with both experienced and new staff. When your teaching staff is confident, they instruct with confidence.” ~ Jennifer Biehler, Director of Head Start Futures Unlimited, Inc. “With the revisions to the new Head Start Standards, we were challenged with the task of choosing a developmentally appropriate curriculum that not only aligned with our Framework, but was user friendly. Our team looked at several curricula choices. After much research and teacher input, we chose Frog Street. The curriculum provides at-level activities across all domains. If a child is functioning at a lower or higher level than expected, a teacher can easily find activities that are more appropriate. It is developmentally appropriate and easily aligned to our Framework and meshes well with our assessment piece. The program is easy to use, both from a planning and paperwork perspective. All of our Early Head Start staff were trained via a Frog Street instructor and as new staff are hired, we provide them with an overview of how the program works. We are very satisfied with the Frog Street program and would recommend the curriculum to colleagues!” ~ Tamara HolmesGorsch, Education Coordinator for Community Action of Eastern Iowa

To learn more about Frog Street programs and to schedule your free consultation, visit www.frogstreet.com or call us at 800-884-3764. You can also contact one of your area representatives: Angie Meyer • angie@gentryrose.com • (785) 608-1103 Kerry L. Tummons • ktummons@gmail.com • (785) 608-9857


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

From left: Pat Holterman-Hommes, Youth In Need’s President and CEO; Mary Kessler, Youth In Need’s Childcare Partnership Director; Twuana Price, Urban Sprouts Child Development Center’s Teacher of the Year; and Ellicia Qualls, Urban Sprouts Child Development Center’s Founder and Executive Director.

Partner Sites Increase Access & Quality for St. Louis Families by April Klutenkamper, Marketing Director, Youth In Need

“It takes a village to raise a child.” And perhaps nothing describes “partnership” better than this notable proverb. Parents. Grandparents. Family. Friends. Health providers. And educators. So many people partner together in some capacity to raise a child, and education is no different as one of the most essential elements in shaping a future of possibility. Educators and partnership are at the forefront of service delivery in Youth In Need’s Head Start and Early Head Start program. A recipient of a $1.5 million expansion grant in 2015, Youth In Need added 120 infant and toddler slots—that’s 40 classrooms!— 20

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at nine individually owned and operated childcare partners throughout St. Louis City and County. By partnering with these additional providers in the community, not only has Youth In Need been able to extend its impact beyond its own facilities, serving more children and families, but this expansion grant has helped partner sites improve and expand their services to those they serve as well. Partners have received financial assistance to enhance their learning facilities for the youngest learners and training to ensure teachers have the skills needed to be successful educators.

Hilltop Child Development Center and Every Child’s Hope, two of Youth In Need’s partners, for example, didn’t serve infants and toddlers when they joined as partners. So they underwent extensive room renovations to build the necessary accommodations to serve this new student population. Other partners didn’t need much in the way of facility improvements but needed new equipment to bring partners up to speed on Head Start and Early Head Start Performance Standards. Likewise, it was critical that training be individualized for staff at each partner site. And because Head Start Performance Standards require that any teacher working in Early Head Start must have a minimum of a CDA credential or certificate, Youth In Need contracted with Program for Infant Toddler Care to train teachers on this highly regarded approach to working with children. Regularly monitored, ongoing quarterly supportive training has helped improve staff retention across partner locations. “This approach covers the gap of hiring teachers who may not have the proper education by supporting them as they work on furthering their educations,” said Mary Kessler, Youth In Need’s Childcare Partnership Director. Beyond training and facility improvements, ongoing support is essential to strengthening these partnerships. And just like training and facility improvements, support services, such as health or mental health screenings, have been individualized for each partner as well. Each partner has a partner manager who visits sites weekly and a family advocate who connects parents with social service needs. “Our partners had tried to offer these services in the past,” Kessler said. “But they didn’t have the resources or capacity to execute. Thanks to this grant, we are able to offer support in the form of an early intervention manager to monitor chil21

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dren in the classroom and contracted service providers who can offer the services.” The amount of preparation providers put forth to become a partner site was intensive and also extremely beneficial for the communities they serve in St. Louis. In appreciation of that labor of love, Youth In Need held an awards dinner at the end of the 2016-2017 program year to celebrate those partners and their outstanding teachers who have worked so hard to build a thriving learning environment for their students. Youth In Need honored nine teachers, one from each partner site, at the Missouri Botanical Garden event for their commitment to helping children grow. Partner sites identified teachers who actively sought out professional growth opportunities, those who acted as role models for other teachers, and those who were emerging leaders, demonstrating excellence, creativity, and initiative. Each awardee received $500 to purchase materials for their classroom as well as $2,000 in educational assistance to support their continued professional development. To further nurture those partner relationships through nature, each partner site also received a two-tiered planter, full of resources and materials to bring nature into the learning environments at the centers. “These partnerships have allowed us to collaborate and build a bigger and better team to help all these children,” Kessler said. “Where each center was operating independently and figuring things out on their own, we now have a collective that can get more resources for kids and families. We’re building these great relationships, and we work on strengthening them with staff and with parents and kids daily.”


March 6 – 8 • Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center

Management Acceleration Program (MAP) April 16 – 20 • Location TBD

Fiscal Institute

May 8 – 10 • Regional Office, KCMO

Pre-K CLASS Observation Training

July • Greater Kansas City Area, Location TBD


Region VII Head Start Sand BoxTM | Winter 2017-18

CALENDAR OF EVENTS STATE EVENTS IOWA For more information contact: Tonya Weber, TWeber@newopp.org. Mental Health Coordinator Networking January 9 Practice Based Coaching Networking January 9 Family Support PBIS Training January 22-24 Reflective Supervision Training January 30 Practice-Based Coaching Training Institute March 20-21 KANSAS For more information contact: Karen Brichoux, kbrichoux@ksheadstart.org. APM & Networking January 18 Practice-Based Coaching Institute January 25 Everyday Mindfulness February 5 & 26 APM & Networking April 5 MISSOURI For more information contact: Tina Bernskoetter, tina@moheadstart.org. Health, Mental Health & Disabilities Services Community of Practice January 26 CLASS Training February 6-7 Head Start: A Critical Link Annual Event February 8 Family & Community Engagement Community of Practice February 9 Practice-Based Coaching Institute March 8-9 Early Head Start Community of Practice March 16 I am Moving, I am Learning Training April 10-12 Education & CLASS Community of Practice April 13 Family Leadership Conference April 25-26 NEBRASKA For more information contact: Cindy Nordby, cnordby@hshn.org. NeHSA Advisory Council/Board Meeting

February 14

Home Observation Visiting Rating Scales (HOVRS) April 5 - 6 23

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