The Office of Head Start (OHS) Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) system supports program staff in their delivery of quality services to children and families. The current system consists of three levels of T/TA: national, state or regional, and grantee. While each level has distinct and unique functions, they are designed to complement each other. Structured, intentional, high-quality T/TA best supports the school readiness of all children and families.
Leading the delivery of T/TA at the national level are six centers:
- The National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations
- The Early Head Start National Resource Center
- The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning
- The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement
- The National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness
- The National Center on Health
Each Center’s specialized area of focus is staffed by experts with extensive experience with Head Start and evidence-based practices that positively affect the lives of young children and their families. Each Center provides local programs and T/TA specialists with materials and resources appropriate in a variety of program settings and populations served by Head Start. The team formed by these six centers works in close collaboration with OHS. In this collaboration, they advise on current research and emerging best practices.
Next, T/TA is provided at the state or multi-state level by two categories of specialists:
- Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialists
- Grantee Specialists
ECE specialists, serving as the grantee point of contact with the larger T/TA system, provide support in four distinct categories: school readiness; parent, family and community engagement; staff development; and collaborative work at local, state and national levels. Each grantee has an ECE Specialist.
Grantee specialists are assigned by the regional offices in some cases to work on specific needs of programs identified through on-site reviews, PIR results or through other data. Time permitting, grantee specialists may also work with programs focused on strengthening their internal systems to more effectively support school readiness.
These early childhood education and grantee specialists receive ongoing support from National Center staff and OHS. This ensures that specialists stay current and are prepared in a timely way to fulfill their roles within the larger T/TA system.
Local or Individual T/TA
The third level of T/TA is the local or individual grantee level. Each grantee receives training funds to address their own program improvement efforts. These direct funds represent at least 50 percent of the total Head Start T/TA funds available. OHS encourages programs to use their funds to supplement other T/TA provided in order to most fully meet the individual needs of their programs. Programs are encouraged to stay up-to-date on OHS T/TA and to take advantage of opportunities provided by other associations and organizations.