Arizona Head Start Association Newsletter
Arizona Head Start Association
January/February 2013 Happenings 


Greetings from AHSA in the New Year!


If you follow the federal budget like we do here at Head Start, you'll know that 'no news' news! We are temporarily relieved that the potential sequester didn't occur when the New Year rang in...but it's only very temporary relief. Continue to follow the news and contact your senators and representatives to make your thoughts known...remember, WE elect THEM to do OUR work!

Best wishes for a fantastic year of learning and serving children and families!


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


Upcoming AHSA Events:  Save these Dates ...


Register at AHSA Website

Bonnie for assistance)

Parent Leadership Institute
Phoenix - Southwest Human Development
February 7, 2013            FREE for Early/Head Start Parents.

AHSA Quarterly Meetings and Training - Phoenix
February 20, 21, 22 - 2013
Wednesday, February 20      Strategic Planning - by invitation only
Wednesday, February 20      Challenging Behavior Training
Thursday, February 21           General Membership/Committee Meetings
Friday, February 22                Board Meeting

AHSA Health Institute - Phoenix
April 12, 2013                        Open to Early/Head Start staff only

AHSA Quarterly Meetings and Training - Phoenix
May 15, 16, 17, 2013
Wednesday, May 15            Training - TBD
Thursday, May 16                 General Membership/Committee Meetings
Friday, May 17                      Board Meeting

AHSA Quarterly Meetings and Training - location TBD
September 11, 12, 13, 2013 - Note NEW DATES
Wednesday, September 11    Training - TBD
Thursday, September 12         General Membership/Committee Meetings
Friday, September 13              Board Meeting

7th Annual Mental Health Symposium - Phoenix
October 17 & 18, 2013

AHSA Quarterly Meetings and Training - location TBD
November 20, 21, 22, 2013
Wednesday, November 20     Training - TBD
Thursday, November 21          General Membership/Committee Meetings
Friday, November 22               Board Meeting

Fiscal (Cliff and other) Issues!

Dates to watch:

March 1, 2013: the date an $85 billion sequester is supposed to occur (an across-the-board spending cut, which was delayed from January and could be avoided if Congress reaches an alternative budget agreement).

March 27, 2013: the date that the current continuing resolution (CR) expires (i.e. federal spending was extended for 6 months at the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1, 2012) and therefore, the remaining 6 months of the current fiscal year hang in the balance until funding decisions are made).

April 15, 2013: this is the date that Congress is supposed to approve a budget resolution - an overall blueprint for spending and savings, which does not become law - instead, it is supposed to be used as an internal fiscal management guide for committee action.

NAEYC does a good job of outlining these issues.

The Fiscal Cliff Deal for Kids from First Focus also provides a good explanation of the implications of budget decisions.

Does Head Start Work?         

Since Head Start began in 1965, researchers, practitioners and policy staff have been debating it's merits - or shortcomings - in a variety of studies and reports. The latest report, the Third Grade Follow Up to the Head Start Impact Study reports that gains fade after third grade. This is a narrow and misunderstood view of the huge benefits that Head Start children and families experience. Many articles and pieces have been written to address the 'findings'.


NHSA Executive Director, Yasmina Vinci, offers her opinion in this Reuters article. 'While the study documented children's significant gains at the end of the Head Start experience and the flattening benefits of Head Start attendance at the end of third grade, it did not examine a range of factors that could have contributed to the losses and cannot predict whether Head Start children may yet show outcomes into adulthood. A wealth of other studies address these questions and document Head Start's long-term effectiveness'.


Research sponsored through Head Start funding over the past decade has provided valuable information not only to guide program improvement in Head Start itself, but also to guide the field of early childhood programming and early childhood development. Dozens of Head Start programs have collaborated with researchers in making significant contributions in terms of program innovation and evaluation, as well as the use of systematic data collection, analysis and interpretation in program operations. Examples of Head Start Research can be found here.
Brushing Up on Oral Health



Oral health for young children gets a lot of attention these days and several programs in Arizona are working together to get this message out to families and community members. Head Start provides an easy way to get up-to-date information and resources on this subject.

Click here for the latest newsletter issue from the Head Start National Center on Health and click here to subscribe so the newsletter comes right to your inbox. You don't need to be employed with Head Start to do this. The information is applicable for all programs that work with young children and their families!
A New Look at Families


Most of us reading this newsletter work with young children and their families in some capacity. Some of us work directly with children and families, others of us work on their behalf. Whether we realize it or not, if we work with the youngest of children, we work with their families as well. The families that we work with may look very much like our own...or very different...or somewhere in the middle. Families have changed a lot in the last few decades. In my own family, we have step-parents, step-children, divorce of spouse, death of spouse, children who are adopted and the traditional 'biological' affiliation.

This article in "Child Care Exchange" offers a look at this subject of families: Today's Families: Who Are We and Why Does It Matter? I'm sure you will find it interesting and helpful to your work.  


Resources on Homelessness
Expanding Early Care and Education for Families Experiencing Homelessness      


Ensuring the early learning and development of our country's youngest children is essential to the work of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Supporting the well-being of these young children and their families is an urgent task and one that is critical to improving the long-term educational outcomes of children nationwide.

Several federal policies and programs are already in place to strengthen the ability of early care and education providers to serve young children experiencing homelessness. Whether you are in a Head Start program, early childhood program, or work at the state level on early childhood systems and services, the resources listed below will assist you in ensuring that these young children are prioritized for services that support their learning and development.

ACF Homeless Policies and Procedures

ACF Homeless Strategies

ACF Homeless Resource List

2013:Good Data, Bad Data, No Data:
A Critical Challenge Facing Arizona's Public Schools      



Education experts and legislators from both political parties agree that Arizona suffers from an antiquated, patched-together state education data system that is seldom able to provide the reliable, real-time information that parents and educators need to determine which programs are working for which students, and which are not.

The key problem, Arizona education experts agree, is an antiquated, patched-together state education data system that is seldom able to provide the reliable, real time information that parents and educators need to determine which programs are working for which students, and which are not.

In Head Start and early childhood, we've been talking about data for some time now, hoping the state's larger system will be ready for us soon! We've transitioned to one common assessment, Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG), Head Start has had PIR data for years, our newer Quality First! and Home Visiting programs have tried to stay ahead of the curve, building in common data elements from the start and the P-20 Coordinating Council (now defunct) cited a "high-quality data system" as one of the "four pillars" of educational reform. Of the Data Quality Campaign's "10 State Actions" which provide a roadmap to a culture that collects and uses quality data, Arizona has achieved four.

The goal - for Arizona as well as for other states - is the development of a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS), a unified, searchable, continually updated database that would enable officials, teachers and parents to track the performance of students, teachers and programs throughout a child's school career and even into the workforce.


Mental Health Issues
Executive Function
Social & Emotional Development
Brain Development       


A working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions like home visiting are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health and parenting of the next generation. The entire article, The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain, can be downloaded from the site.

In the article, Overcoming Impact of Adversity on Learning, authors describe how Washington state has transformed the way its agencies work together and in partnership with researchers to address the effects of early adversity on learning and to help disadvantaged children build resiliency and other so-called executive-function skills they need to learn and grow. In the process, officials hope to create a national model for rapidly translating new research in fields like cognitive and neuroscience into usable practice.

Executive function skills help us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time and revise plans as necessary. A new evidence base has identified these skills as being essential for school achievement, success in work, and healthy lives. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has published a new two-page summary, InBrief: Executive Function: Essential Skills for Life and Learning (2012), outlining how these skills develop, what can disrupt their development, and how supporting them pays off in school and life.

See also, the Center's related 5-minute video, Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning (2012), as well as a new online training module to help early care and education providers better understand and support the development of executive function skills, produced by the Washington State Department of Early Learning, in collaboration with the Center's Frontiers of Innovation initiative.

Child Care Aware offers this resource paper on Executive Function and School Readiness, much like our theme of last years Mental Health Symposium. Executive Function is something that early childhood educators are hearing more and more about. In this article, discussion focuses on how getting ready to start school is about more than just learning the ABCs. Educators and other experts say that in order to be successful in school, young children need to develop skills in executive functions.

It's long been known that early childhood experiences can have a profound affect on later opportunities and life chances. Now, a collection of new studies suggests that those experiences may actually affect the size and workings of the brain. This article, Childhood environment affects brain growth and function, new studies find, discusses several interesting studies. Some of the findings cite 1) One study showed a correlation between parental educational and economic status and later brain capacity in certain regions involved in memory and cognitive control; 2) Another study found that children exposed to abuse at a young age as adults exhibited "enhanced stress response"; and 3) A third study found that adults who grew up in poverty showed more memory deficit than others from different economic backgrounds.

The 'good news' part of the article showed that the team also found that a) if parents and children from lower-income families participated in an eight-week training session, their memory development improved significantly; and b) relatively minor differences in the home environments of young children might affect their later brain development.

Professional Development Opportunities


AzDEC Conference
The Incredible Flexible You: Teaching Social Thinking in the Preschool and Early Elementary Years 
March 2, 2013
Mesa, AZ

ASCC/ACCA Conference
22nd Annual Celebrate the Young Child Conference
March 9, 2013
Glendale, AZ

Office of Head Start's 2nd National Birth to Five Leadership Institute
April 28-30, 2013
Washington, DC
*** in conjunction with ***
NHSA 40th Annual Conference
Securing our Success: Kids Ready for School and Life
April 28-30, 2013
Washington, DC

ADE-ECE Boot Camp
3rd Annual ECE Summer Boot Camp
June 10-13, 2013
Mesa, AZ

NAFCC Conference
Building Relationships that last a lifetime
July 18-20, 2013
Scottsdale, AZ

FTF Summit - save the date - details coming soon!
Building Strong Systems
August 25-27, 2013
Phoenix, AZ

AHSA 7th Annual Mental Health Symposium - save the date - details soon!
October 17-18, 2013
Phoenix, AZ



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!

Arizona Head Start Association
602-338-0449 (phone) 
480-540-9987 (cell) 
PO Box 45483. 
Phoenix, AZ 85064 (office hours by appointment only)
Note - Our fax number has been discontinued!    


AHSA Website