Region 10 Collaborates with Community to Boost Head Start Educators’ Futures
By Leslie Jenkins, OHS Program Specialist, Region 10
In November 2010, ACF’s Region 10 Office in Seattle initiated a successful collaboration with various partners to improve the education and lives of area Head Start educators who are in need of bachelor’s degrees.
ACF partnered with the University of Oregon, NEDCO of Springfield, Ore., (an Asset for Independence [AFI] grantee), the Office of Head Start (OHS) along with an OHS Training and Technical Assistance contract and local OHS grantees to enroll OHS teaching staff into the Early Childhood Education (ECE) degree program at the University of Oregon.
The collaboration was long and sometimes difficult. However the collaborators were committed to excellence, which resulted in 20 Head Start teachers who will transfer to the University of Oregon to continue their education requirements this fall. The name of the degree program is Family and Human Services with an emphasis in ECE.
The foundational concepts of this unique project were threefold:
- Provide existing teachers a method to gain their credentials while on the job. This ECE degree was connected to the National Supervised Field Study program.
- Create access for teachers who do not live near the university, and may live in very rural areas. For this reason, about one third of the curriculum will be taught interactively, using the Black Board Learn technology.
- Develop a classroom curriculum, with rich academic expertise and peer interactions. To meet this level of quality, courses will be taught at the university during holiday breaks, as if the program were designed like a graduate-level intensive course.
In July 2013, Michael Bullis, dean of the College of Education, hired Dr. Kathleen Moxley-South to coordinate the program for Head Start teachers. Dr. Moxley-South comes to the University of Oregon with a variety of ECE experience and formal education.
This collaboration is just the beginning and the future holds many possibilities. Region 10 is considering expanding this bachelor’s degree opportunity to other ACF programs:
- Child Care Providers
- Tribal, Seasonal and Migrant Teachers
- Early Childhood Teachers from other Oregon programs and other states
- Providers from AFI grantees
All this success was brought to you by a leadership committee facilitated by Kelly Warren, the assistant director of Family and Human Services at the University of Oregon's College of Education. The committee included three subcommittees: recruitment, financial support and academic development. Individuals who have provided key support from the very beginning included Dr. Arthur Pearl, co-author of New Careers for the Poor; University of Oregon Dean Michael Bullis; Director of Lane County Head Start Annie Soto; and Oregon Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Manager Lilli Carrillo.
Region 10 is grateful for the ongoing, tremendous academic support from giants in the field, which include:
- Dr. Jane Squires, contributor to the nationally used assessment tool for young children called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire.
- Dr. Lauren Lindstrom, head of the educational psychology masters program.
- Dr. Dan Close who will teach our Head Start teachers at University of Oregon.
- Dr. Arthur Pearl, national expert in education and poverty, who will also teach our Head Start teachers at University of Oregon.
Regional OHS Program Specialist Leslie Jenkins led the project with guidance and support from OHS Regional Program Manager Dr. Nancy Hutchins. Regional staff members Thomas Jensen, former AFI consultant, and Caron Dwyer were instrumental in obtaining the funding from AFI grants. Dwyer also provided a communication link between this project to the region’s Acting Regional Administrator and project supporter, Janice King-Dunbar.