Head Start, Public Schools Partnership to Strengthen Transition to Kindergarten

Topics:

Early Childhood

A new effort to support America’s earliest learners was launched today. The Office of Head Start (OHS) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families formalized partnerships with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the School Superintendents Association (AASA) to improve the transition of Head Start children as they enter elementary school. These partnerships were formalized with a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which was signed this morning at Higher Horizons Head Start and Early Head Start in Falls Church, Va.

“Compared to their peers, Head Start graduates are more likely to finish high school, go to college, find employment and enjoy good health. But they also need the support of teachers and leaders in their next school environment to be successful,” said OHS Director Dr. Deborah Bergeron. About 320,000 Head Start children in the United States enter kindergarten each year.

Dr. Bergeron, informed by her work as a former public school principal, has championed collaboration between Head Start programs and the elementary schools which will receive Head Start children. The relationship is a critical pathway to improve child outcomes.

"Head Start programs and elementary schools are working together on school readiness to improve outcomes. Smooth transitions help children keep their ‘head start’ in learning. Those gains are precious,” said Dr. L. Earl Franks, executive director of NAESP.

“We know firsthand that quality early learning opportunities serve as a game-changer for our students. When school systems collaborate with Head Start programs, it makes the best use of public funds and prepares children for success,” added Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA.

The agreement will identify helpful practices and offer guidelines to support collaborative relationships. The memorandum of understanding will focus on:

  • participation in the Head Start public schools demonstration project. Head Start will bring together leaders from public schools and Head Start programs. The findings will inform national policy, technical implementation and professional development.
  • promoting “Bring a Principal to Head Start Month” each October
  • sharing National Head Start data, such as the annual Program Information Report
  • disseminating resources which support collaboration between local elementary schools and Head Start programs

Quick Facts

  • The agreement will identify helpful practices and offer guidelines to support collaborative relationships.
  • The memorandum of understanding will focus on participation in the Head Start public schools demonstration project. Head Start will bring together leaders from public schools and Head Start programs.

Quotes

“Compared to their peers, Head Start graduates are more likely to finish high school, go to college, find employment and enjoy good health. But they also need the support of teachers and leaders in their next school environment to be successful."
Dr. Deborah Bergeron, OHS director
"Head Start programs and elementary schools are working together on school readiness to improve outcomes. Smooth transitions help children keep their ‘head start’ in learning. Those gains are precious."
Dr. L. Earl Franks, executive director of NAESP
“We know firsthand that quality early learning opportunities serve as a game-changer for our students. When school systems collaborate with Head Start programs, it makes the best use of public funds and prepares children for success.”
Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA
Last Reviewed: December 17, 2019
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