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The results are in!

Head Start News

By Rebecca Bishop Ware, Director of Early Childhood Services and Stephanie Eames, Community Partnership Coordinator

Bennington County Head Start/Early Head Start was found to be fully compliant in all areas of the Focus Area 2 (FA2) monitoring review by the Office of Head Start (OHS) in the Administration for Children and Families. OHS used information gathered in the FA2 to evaluate if the grant recipient complies with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Act, and Federal Uniform Guidance. Areas reviewed include Program Design, Management, and Improvement; Education and Child Development Services; Health Services; Family and Community Engagement Services; Fiscal Infrastructure; and Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance. Achieving full compliance was only possible with the outstanding contributions of team members from across UCS divisions who engaged in rigorous interviews, quickly provided requested documentation, and responded to facilities’ needs. Strong Practices (strengths) were noted in the areas of talent acquisition and long-term human resource planning, staff collaboration and use of program data in regular planning to coordinate and individualize services for children, use of valid and reliable observation tools and evidence based-curriculum to promote teaching practices to social and emotional growth in children, substantial and ongoing strategies to address food insecurities to help increase access to food outside of the program day, and use of seasonal and locally produced foods regularly within the program.

In any five-year Head Start grant project period, the third required monitoring review event is the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) review observations. The CLASS is a way to focus, measure, and improve meaningful interactions between preschool teachers and their students. Video reviews consisted of a full hour of unbroken recording and lead teachers wearing microphones, conducted in our preschool classrooms as well as our center-based Head Start program partners. Our programs scored above the competitive threshold in Emotional Support and Classroom Organization, and impressively scored above the quality threshold in Instructional Support. These thresholds represent the expectations of the Office of Head Start for the quality of the learning environment in every Head Start program.

The summer program for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers began on June 13, and there are very few slots still available in North Bennington. The new school year program begins on September 5, and there are some slots left at most locations. To apply, please contact April Dunham, Family and Community Partnership Manager at or 442-3686 ext. 125.

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