Arizona Head Start Association Newsletter

Arizona Head Start Association

November 2011 Happenings 




Greetings AHSA members and friends!


As we enter the holiday season, we have much to be thankful for.   Click here to read the article we wrote, with assistance from NHSA, that was published in the East Valley Tribune.


We also have tireless work to do to continue advocating for funding for our programs that so deperately help our most vulnerable children and families in our state.  As we reflect upon our lives this season, ask yourself 'Am I doing all that I can to help others?'  'Am I living each day with grace and humility?'  'Am I grateful for all of the things I do have?'


Click here to watch this poignant video, brought to us by The Devereux Center for Resilient Children Team.  


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

Upcoming AHSA Events:  Save these Dates ...


Phoenix - Southwest Human Development

January 26, 2012           Parent Leadership Institute


Phoenix - Southwest Human Development

February 16 & 17, 2012  Abriendo Puertes (Train the Trainer)


Phoenix - Location TBD

February 22, 2012          AHSA/AZ T/TA Training Day

February 23, 2012          AHSA Quarterly Membership Meeting &

                                           AHSA Committee Meetings

February 24, 2012          AHSA Board Meeting


Head Start Creates a 'Window of Opportunity' 


As part of part of the National Head Start Association's national effort to underscore the importance of investing in early childhood education, the organization created an original, two-minute animated video -- "One Window of Opportunity" -- to help capture a child's perspective of the vast possibilities Head Start offers America's youngest minds.  

One Window of Opportunity

One Window of Opportunity

Produced by creative agency SS&Kand narrated by Maria Shriver, the animated video spotlights the critical window of opportunity in the first five years of life, during which essential cognitive, social and emotional development occurs. 


The NHSA hopes the video will shine a spotlight on the enormous and still growing need for Head Start programs as more Americans slip into poverty while battling devastating unemployment.

With 46 million people living below the poverty line, including one in four children under age six, Head Start is a lifeline to almost one million at-risk children each year. With current funding levels, Head Start is only able to serve less than 50 percent of eligible children, with only five to six percent of children needing Early Head Start able to access programs.


"As Director of President Lyndon Johnson's Office of Economic Opportunity, my father, Sargent Shriver, created the Head Start program more than 46 years ago," said Maria Shriver. "My father understood with great clarity the importance of this window of opportunity and the tremendous value of Head Start, and he fought to get the program off the ground and to keep it alive. I am proud to join this new fight to ensure that our country's most vulnerable children don't lose their precious window of opportunity." 



Arizona's Birth-Grade 12 State Literacy Plan 


Arizona's Birth-Grade 12 State Literacy Plan has been posted online for public review and comment!  


The creation of this plan has been monumental, never before attempted work in Arizona.  We are very proud that it represents a true continuum from Birth to Grade 12.  A group of early childhood professionals participated on this statewide team with our K-12 colleagues. We are now asking for your expertise and comments about this plan.


Our hope is to take the feedback and make necessary changes to ensure a tight and highly effective Plan.  Feedback from a wide range of stakeholders is necessary for this project.  Please share this opportunities with others including parents.


At the end of each section, you will find an embedded survey link.


Thanks you for taking the time to comment on this important work.



Dental Home Initiative Update


AHSA was recently awarded a grant from OHS for $10,000 to continue our work around Dental Homes for Head Start and Early Head Start children!  Some of our work will focus on improving our PIR numbers (annual end-of-year Program Information Report) for dental exams and treatment, especially in our tribal communities, which are often difficult to serve.


If you are a Head Start program, or know of a young child from 0-5, who cannot find a dental home or treatment, please contact myself or one of our Zone Leads.  Our intent is to build community capacity so that every young child in Arizona has access to quality oral health care.


In the northern part of the state, contact Dr. Kirk Robertson

In the central part of the state, contact Dr. Rick Chaet

In the southern part of the state, contact Dr. Norman Bunch   



AzDEC is Accepting Nominations for

Outstanding Leadership Award!     


Do You Work With Someone Who Deserves an Outstanding Leadership Award


AZ DEC has established this award as a yearly honor and has named it the Arizona DEC Linda M. Levine Outstanding Leadership Award. It will be given annually to an Arizona nominee who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in supporting early childhood general/special education and/or inclusive programming. The award recognizes a teacher, administrator, related services professional, home visitor, or paraprofessional who demonstrates leadership qualities in going beyond the everyday demands of their position to create an exceptional environment resulting in improved services and impacting the lives of young children with exceptionalities and their families.


This award is not limited to AZ DEC members, but an AZ DEC member must make the nomination. The award is intended for any individual in Arizona who has demonstrated leadership qualities and who has accomplished something of significance, making a difference for young children with delays/disabilities/exceptionalities, ages birth through 8 and their families.


Information Sheet



Deadline for Submission:  December 31, 2011


Bonnie Williams and Claudine Sabel are members and can sponsor nominations!  

If you are interested, go to the AZ DEC website and click on the links that take you to the AZ DEC LML Outstanding Leadership Award information pages.   



Mental Health Problems in Early Childhood Can Impair Learning and Behavior for Life      


Harvard's Center of the Developing Child has a sobering article to share with everyone who works with young, impressionable children.  


"Significant adversity early in life can damage the architecture of the developing brain and increase the likelihood of significant mental health problems that may emerge either early or years later."  This is a finding in Harvard's Center of the Developing Child working paper, "Mental Health Problems in Early Childhood Can Impair Learning and Behavior for Life."  The report continues....

"Life circumstances associated with family stress, such as persistence of poverty, threatening neighborhoods, and very poor child care conditions, elevate the risk of serious mental health problems and undermine healthy functioning in the early years.  Early childhood adversity of this kind also increases the risk of adult health and mental health problems because of its enduring effects on the body and brain development.  Young children who experience recurrent abuse or chronic neglect, regularly witness domestic violence, or live in homes permeated by parental mental health or substance abuse problems are particularly vulnerable....

"All of these situations are stressful for children.  Persistent activation of biological stress response systems leads to abnormal levels of stress hormones that have the capacity to damage brain architecture if they do not normalize.  In the absence of buffering protection of supportive relationships, these hormone levels can remain out of balance.  Known as toxic stress, this condition literally interferes with developing brain circuits, and poses a serious threat to young children, not only because it undermines their emotional well-being, but also because it can impair a wider range of developmental outcomes including early learning, exploration and curiosity, school readiness, and later school achievement."

Another article, Some stressed moms get hostile, some seem insensitive shows that Parenting is often stressful, but new research shows why chronic stress impairs the way mothers react to children. Researchers measured the physiological stress responses of 153 mothers (about half low-income, half middle- to upper-income) and found that those facing ongoing stress, such as depression or poverty, were either more harsh and hostile or more insensitive and neglectful toward their toddlers.



Helpful Websites for Work with Families     


Strengthening Families from the Center for the Study of Social Policy


Little Kids, Big Questions from Zero to Three


State Child Care Assistance Policies 2011  from National Women's Law Center


The OSEP Spanish Glossary Project for special education terminology!


National Center on Parent, Family & Community Engagement


National Association for Family Child Care 



 Office of Head Start Monitoring Reviews      


Welcome to FY 2012 Head Start Monitoring. On this page, you will find links to helpful information and tools related to Monitoring including the FY 2012 Grantee Webcast, the On-Site Review Protocol, information on Monitoring 360, and much more. On the right-hand side of this page, you will find additional tools and information that may be helpful for your program.


The focus of the Protocol is on making connections between program systems and collecting data on critical indicators of success in promoting school readiness. The Protocol organizes elements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Act, and other regulations into seven (7) sections against which compliance will be monitored:

  1. Program Governance (GOV)
  2. Management Systems (SYS)
  3. Fiscal Integrity (FIS)
  4. ERSEA
  5. Child Health and Safety (CHS)
  6. Family and Community Engagement (FCE)
  7. Child Development and Education (CDE)

Each section of the Protocol is organized by Compliance Frameworks and Compliance Indicators. The Targeted Questions for each Compliance Indicator appear with the corresponding Compliance Framework. Additional information on the enhancements to the Protocol is detailed in the Introduction section of the FY 2012 Office of Head Start On-Site Review Protocol.



Arizona's 'Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge'

Grant Application      


Click here to read Arizona's 'Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge' Grant Application - all 342 pages of it!  Arizona, by formula, is eligible to receive up to $70 million to continue early childhood system development.  This document, worked on tirelessly by staff at First Things First and many other stakeholders, outlines our work, should it be funded.  We should hear of the federal decision by December 31, 2011.


The RTT-ELC grant competition will focus on improving early learning and development programs for young children by supporting States' efforts to: (1) increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children in each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs; (2) design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services; and (3) ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council's reports on early childhood.  Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive early learning education reform. 



Hearing Screening & Training Information      


Statute mandates that newborns must receive a hearing screening.  Statute also mandates that schools conduct hearing screening for school age children.  In partnership with others, the Sensory Program would like to offer organizations the opportunity to borrow audiometers, tympanometers, OAE's, and combination units to conduct hearing screening on children ages 1-5.  In order to do this, we are loaning hearing screening equipment to trained hearing screeners to screen children ages 1-5.  We will continue to loan equipment to screen school age children.  If you know of any organizations that would like to borrow hearing screening equipment, please make this information available to them.


Trained hearing screeners may call the following contact numbers to reserve hearing screening equipment:


Phoenix: Arizona Department of Health Services
Bureau of Women's and Children's Health
150 North 18th Avenue, Suite #320
Phoenix, Arizona 85064
(602) 364-1400


Flagstaff: Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind
1000 East Butler
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(928) 774-0655


Sensory Program


Locate Trainers & Learn About Becoming a Trainer 



Child Care Gets Technical Assistance Centers     


ACF, OCC name four new National Child Care Technical Assistance Centers

The federal Office of Child Care (OCC) announced four new national centers that will provide child care technical assistance to states, territories and tribes to improve the quality of school-age care and early care and education.

"Our focus is to raise the bar on quality in child care across the country," said George Sheldon, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. "Child care programs provide vital support for working parents. Our children deserve the best care possible- care that promotes healthy development and success in school."

More than 12 million American children regularly rely on child care. Of these, over 1.6 million children receive a child care subsidy from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program each month. The Child Care Technical Assistance Network redesign is aimed at furthering OCC's goal to ensure all children have access to high-quality child care.


In coordination with OCC's new State Child Care Systems Specialist Network, the following new OCC technical assistance centers will help CCDF grantees reach CCDF plan goals:


The National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement, contract award to ICF International, Inc., in partnership with the BUILD Initiative, will provide targeted technical assistance to states as they help more child care programs reach for higher standards of quality tied to school readiness and academic excellence.


The National Center on Child Care Professional Development Systems and Workforce Initiatives, jointly funded by the Office of Head Start and awarded to Zero to Three, in partnership with Child Trends, the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Alliance Registry contract award will build State capacity to support the estimated 1.2 million early childhood educators and afterschool teachers in child care centers and family child care homes by creating pathways for career advancement, and developing strategies for higher qualification and improved compensation.


The National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability, contract award to Walter R. McDonald and Associates, Inc., will support CCDF administrators as they develop and maintain strong subsidy systems that are child-focused, family-friendly, fair to child care providers and increase accountability and integrity of programs to ensure that funds are used appropriately and efficiently.


The National Center on Tribal Child Care Implementation and Innovation, contract award to the Community Development Institute, will focus on the unique needs of tribes to ensure that tribal communities have access to the technical assistance they need to provide high-quality child care and share tribal-state innovations.


Click here to read more.



Upcoming Conferences & Trainings


2011 Children's Obesity Conference     Come & visit the AHSA table!

December 1, 2011

Phoenix, AZ


27th Annual ITCA Indian Child & Family Conference

December 7-9, 2011

NEW Casino Del Sol Resort and Conference Center

Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation

Contact:  Warren Kontz or call 602-258-4822


28th Annual Head Start Parent Training Conference 

December 9-13, 2011

New Orleans, LA 


Professional Development Conference 

presented by AzAEYC, Head Start, First Things First, and ADE 

January 21, 2012

Phoenix, AZ


NHSA's Winter Leadership Institute

January 21-26, 2012

Washington , DC 


Coordinated School Health Conference       Come & visit the AHSA table!

January 26-28th, 2012

Fort McDowell, AZ

Contact:  Breann Westmore or call (602) 364-2371   


NHSA's 39th Annual Head Start Conference

April 16- 21, 2012

Nashville, TN


Head Start's 11th National Research Conference

June 18-20, 2012 

Washington, D.C. 


Are you interested in joining AHSA as an Affiliate Member or a Corporate Sponsor?  Depending on your level of joining, your membership or sponsorship 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 almost 2000 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 us!  Please 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!



Bonnie Williams, Executive Director
Arizona Head Start Association

602-338-0449 (phone)  

PO Box 11281 

Phoenix, AZ 85064 (office hours by appointment only)