Arizona Head Start Association Newsletter
Arizona Head Start Association
June/July 2012 Happenings


Greetings AHSA members and friends!


I'm not sure how June flew by so quickly but at this late date, I thought combining June and July's issues seemed to be in order!  Our apologies!


We have been busy electing new officers, closing down our physical office location, gearing up for our 6th Annual Mental Health Symposium by issuing our Call for Papers and Vendor/Exhibit Application, planning for our August Training and Meetings in Prescott, printing our Annual Report, closing out our grant for our Dental Home Initiative support and putting new resources on our website!  Whew!

Congratulations to Mindy Zapata, Head Start Director at Southwest Human Development, as the AHSA Vice President, and to Kristin Andrew, Early Head Start Director at Crisis Nursery in her continued role as AHSA Treasurer.  In addition, Natalie Alvarez, Head Start Director at Greater Phoenix Urban League will be transitioning to AHSA President and Melanie O'Neil, CEO EHS/HS Director at Pinal Gila Community Child Services will transition to AHSA Past President!  Their new roles will begin in August.  AHSA is fortunate to have such a well qualified group of volunteer leaders.    

Did you know...that your Head Start program can pay their membership dues online this year!  The AHSA membership year runs from July 1 through June 30 of each year.  Our goal is to have all 33 programs throughout the state join AHSA.  Together we are STRONGER!    Join here!


Our mailing address has changed.  Be sure to use our new address...  


AHSA, PO Box 45483., Phoenix, AZ 85064 



Are you trying to find a Head Start program?  Just click here!   


Upcoming AHSA Events:  Save these Dates ...




Quarterly Meeting  

Prescott - Prescott Resort & Conference Center - registration available now  

August 22, 2012               AHSA Training Day
August 23, 2012               AHSA Quarterly Meeting & Committee Meetings
August 24, 2012               AHSA Board Meeting

Phoenix - Desert Willow Conference Center - registration available mid-August
October 18, 2012             6th Annual AHSA Mental Health Symposium
October 19, 2012             6th Annual AHSA Mental Health Symposium

Quarterly Meeting
Phoenix -
November 14, 2012        AHSA Training Day
November 15, 2012        AHSA Quarterly Meeting & Committee Meetings
November 16, 2012        AHSA Board Meeting

Parent Leadership Institute
Phoenix - Southwest Human Development
February 7, 2013

Quarterly Meeting
Phoenix -
February 20, 2013          AHSA Training Day
February 21, 2013          AHSA Quarterly Meeting & Committee Meetings
February 22, 2013          AHSA Board Meeting

"Response to Intervention in Early Childhood Education" ..


Have you ever wondered what Response to Intervention - or RtI - is all about?  Do you wonder what the experts say about using it for children ages birth through 5?  If you like to be on the cutting edge and voice your opinion, you should read and comment on this document, Response to Intervention in Early Childhood Education.  The document is jointly drafted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), and the National Head Start Association (NHSA).   


The three associations began this effort 3 years ago growing out of a concern with the use of RtI in early childhood education programs serving children birth through age 5. We know that there is considerable controversy and misconceptions about the use of RtI in early childhood education. The associations' intent is for this paper to serve as a resource that will inform the conversations regarding RtI in ECE, addressing the controversy and misconceptions. For example, we do not consider it appropriate to duplicate K-12 models of RtI in ECE programs. In addition, there is a need to reach an understanding of the common features among RtI models that align with recommended practices in ECE, as definitions of RtI have appeared rather "fluid" given the early stages of research on RtI as it pertains to ECE.     


Comments are due bJuly 12, 2012.   


New Website for the Administration for Children and Families 


The Office of Head Start (OHS) is pleased to introduce you to the Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) new website. The new site was designed to share the stories of the people affected by ACF's programs, while also providing clear, easy-to-understand information for the public. This is the first phase of development; the site will be a work in progress throughout 2012. While content is being updated daily, you'll find much of the detailed ACF information you need still lives on the old site. By fall of 2012 the new website will be complete.

I'm also pleased to introduce you to
OHS new home page, where you will find the latest OHS news, stories of those who have participated in Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and links to useful resources. OHS will continue to maintain its Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) and many of the links will link you there.

As we develop the new ACF website through the coming year, we would like your feedback on how to improve what we are building. As you navigate through the new site, please look for the blue "Was this helpful?"  tool in the sidebar of every page and let us know your thoughts. And please encourage others to use the email list sign up on OHS' home page so that we can keep you informed. 


Arizona names Literacy Director 

Thanks to the award from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the appointment of Terri Clark as literacy director for the state of Arizona was recently announced. Working in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education, Arizona Head Start Collaboration Office, First Things First, and other local philanthropic partners, Piper Trust is investing in this full-time consulting position to lead statewide efforts in early literacy.  We can't wait to see what good things are in store for Arizona's children!


Early Childhood Systems Work:  Data  

If you anything about Head Start, you know that we collect and report data!

There is much work being done in terms of building Arizona's System of Early Childhood Development.  Recently, the following Q & A was provided from ADE/HSSCO:

Is Head Start adequately represented on your state's data team?


ADE's Early Childhood Data Collaborative has Head Start representation from a program as well as the AZ State T/TA Center. These members make up 15% of the total group.


How do state data elements align with HS data requirements?


We will be piloting this with a local program this summer as we begin issuing SAIS Id numbers to Head Start Students as part of their participation in TSG.


Can data be collected via existing systems and integrated vs. creating a new system?


Teaching Strategies GOLD is currently our shared system for collecting data. Soon, SAIS will be our means of housing and the longitudinal tracking of this data.


How is the "unique child identifier" being addressed for HS?


ADE's IT unit has just completed the development of a process for enabling Head Start programs and private child care centers to generate SAIS ID numbers for their children. We are currently creating the instructions for this process and hope to share them with the field in the coming weeks.


How will the data be used and reported?


First and foremost, on-going progress monitoring data is the only data collected that is inclusive of Head Start. The primary intention should always be on the local levels ability to use the data to plan instruction and meet individual student needs. Administrators have the ability to use the data for program wide analysis and reflection. Lastly, ADE does use the information to complete Federal Reporting Requirements. At this time, ADE is focused on ensuring the fidelity of the data through professional development.   ADE anticipates the development of a systematic process for reporting statewide data in the near future.



Your Chance to Comment:   

Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge    


Proposed Requirements for Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge - Phase 2 

The Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services propose requirements for Phase 2 of the Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) program.  In this phase, we would make awards to certain States that applied for, but did not receive (i.e. Arizona), funding under
Phase 1 of the RTT-ELC competition held in fiscal year (FY) 2011.  

Click here to submit your comments electronically.

Comments are due by July 20, 2012.


Disaster, Emergency and Evacuation Preparation (DEEP)       

Due to an increased understanding of the importance of developing a strong and effective disaster, emergency and evacuation plan, the Bureau of Child Care Licensing is participating with other Arizona governmental agencies to improve our support of communication and evacuation efforts during emergencies.


We have developed a form - "Emergency Disaster Contact Form" - to help organize facility information useful in the event of a disaster/emergency.

  1. Please fill out the identifying information for your facility - if you have more than one, please use a separate form for each location - and complete the first section "BEFORE a Disaster".
  2. Return a copy of this completed form to Karen Mahacek at the Bureau of Child Care Licensing ASAP.
  3. We recommend you review the entire form, as it contains important information that will be helpful, and in some cases necessary, in the event of an emergency.

We also suggest you check out our new informational flyers titled "D.E.E.P. Thoughts" available on our website under Emergency Preparedness in Childcare Settings addressing drought and extreme heat.  These are the first two in a continuing series of informational flyers designed to provide you and the children in your care with up-to-date information about pertinent subjects related to disasters and emergency events.


We appreciate your responses and feedback, so please call if you have any questions!  Thank you for your help as we work together to improve our disaster and emergency management! 



Final Report on Head Start Tribal Consultation in Arizona  

The Office of Head Start (OHS) convenes Tribal Consultation sessions as required by Section 640(1)(4) of the Head Start Act and in conformity with the Department of Health and Human Services Tribal Consultation Policy. The consultations provide a forum for discussing how to better meet the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native children and families. Tribal Consultation reports reflect comments and recommendations raised by Tribal leaders and their representatives; comments and responses from OHS; and areas identified at the Tribal Consultations as requiring follow-up by OHS.  Read the entire report here. 


Autism in the News...   

For young children with autism, directing attention boosts language - An intervention in which adults actively engaged the attention of preschool children with autism by pointing to toys and using other gestures to focus their attention results in a long term increase in language skills, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health.  Read the article here.

Infant Head Lag May Signal Autism - Babies with developmental delays in head and neck muscle control more likely were to be diagnosed with autism later, researchers found. One study of 40 children showed that 90% later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder had head lag at 6 months of age. The preliminary findings will be presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research in May.  Read the article here.

Younger siblings of children with autism show developmental delays - One-third of children with an older sibling diagnosed with autism, or who has social interaction or communication problems, showed developmental delays or autism-related symptoms by age 3, according to a study that will be presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research.  Read the article here.

Proposed diagnostic criteria don't change prevalence of autism cases - The proposed diagnostic criteria for autism and the current criteria yielded nearly the same number of children diagnosed with the condition, according to preliminary data presented at the American Psychiatric Association meeting. Using both criteria did not lower the prevalence of autism, but there were some cases where children were diagnosed by one criteria and not the other, one researcher said.  Read the article here.


Defending the Early Years...   

Defending the Early Years (DEY) is a new project encouraging early childhood educators to speak out on current school reforms affecting early childhood programs and young children's development and learning.  Started by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Diane Levin, and directed by Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, the DEY project is conducting an online, nationwide survey of early childhood professionals' experiences with and attitudes about such reforms as mandated high-stakes testing and the common core standards.   

DEY is asking those who are working in early childhood settings to complete the questionnaire and to help spread the word to colleagues about it.  Responses are anonymous.  Completing it will take 15 to 20 minutes.  DEY will use the results of this research to guide and support efforts to advocate for more child-centered, humane, and effective policies in the education and care of young children.  
Thank you in advance for completing the DEY Survey prior to July 15


AzEIP - Early Intervention -  

Making a Difference for Infants and Toddlers   

Did you know that NAU-IHD-ASDTP (that's code for Northern Arizona University, Institute for Human Development, AzEIP Staff Development and Training Project) has a series of training videos that you can watch about Early Intervention?  There are many choices for both staff and parents.  These videos give parents and staff useful and practical information about what early intervention looks like for children from birth to three.

See the menu of video options here.

For the latest, 7 Key Principles for Providing Early Intervention Services, click here.

The Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) provides Early Intervention services to children birth to three, using a team-based approach. The team's focus is on collaborative coaching of families as the primary intervention strategy. The family and team work together to implement goals that achieve important functional outcomes in natural environments.


Office of Head Start  

Designation Renewal System     


These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) provide information about the implementation phase of the Designation Renewal System.  To learn about what others are asking and to see responses, click here.  


Upcoming Conferences & Trainings


2012 Arizona Early Childhood Summit  

August 19, 2012  

August 20 and 21, 2012 

Phoenix, AZ

September 17-21, 2012
Washington, DC

6th Annual Arizona Head Start Association Birth to Five Mental Health Symposium - registration available mid-August
Theme:  Building Social Emotional Foundations for School Readiness
Call for Papers
Vendor/Exhibitor Application
October 18-19, 2012
Phoenix, AZ

DEC's 28th Annual International Conference On Young Children With Special Needs & Their Families
October 28-30, 2012
Minneapolis, MN

NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo
November 7-10, 2012
Atlanta, GA

27th National Training Institute (NTI)
November 29 - December 1, 2012
Los Angeles, CA

December 1-5, 2012
Dallas, TX

National Head Start Winter Leadership Institute
January 28 - February 1, 2013
Washington, DC

AHSA Parent Leadership Institute
Phoenix, AZ
February 7, 2013

10th Annual National Training Institute on Effective Practices: Supporting Young Children's Social Emotional Development
March 20-23, 2013 
Clearwater Beach, FL

40th National Head Start Conference - info coming soon
April 28 - May 2, 2013
Washington, D.C.


Are you interested in joining AHSA as an Affiliate Member or a Corporate Sponsor

Depending on your level of membership or sponsorship, your participation includes a menu of benefits such as attending AHSA events at member prices, vendor tables at our annual conference, speaking in person to AHSA membership & board, company logo on AHSA website, and sending email to our list of over 2200 recipients!

                  Contact Bonnie for more information or an application! 


We hope you have enjoyed this issue of the AHSA Happenings.  If you would like to have information included, please contact usPlease forward to members of the Head Start community and our ECE Friends.  Encourage them to 'subscribe' to learn more about what is going on in Arizona's Head Start programs!

Arizona Head Start Association
602-338-0449 (phone)  
PO Box 45483. 
Phoenix, AZ 85064 (office hours by appointment only)