December 2017 Collab Corner

I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays and is looking forward to the new year and all of the possibility it holds. There are some exciting things coming together for 2018 based on the work between the Oregon Early Learning Division and Oregon Head Start Association. Workgroups established over the summer have continued to meet and information generated from these groups is helping to inform practice and policy in the work that we are all doing. A newer workgroup that has been added this fall is one looking at Contracted slots in Oregon between Head Start programs and the Office of Child Care. If you are familiar with this topic or have questions around it; feel free to contact me or Kelli Walker ( about joining this group, or just drop me an email with your thoughts/questions.

I will be on leave frequently in the coming months and will have limited availability. Feel free to reach out to Michael Connor ( if you have questions relating to Oregon PreKindergarten and Dawn Barberis ( if you have questions on other topics, if she can’t help you- she is great at knowing who can.

November 2017 HS Collab Corner

This past month I had the pleasure of accompanying Micker (Mike) Richardson, the Head Start Collaboration Director for Region 11 AIAN (American Indian and Alaska Native) programs, on a site visit to a couple of Oregon’s Tribal Head Start programs. At Ca-Uma-Wa Head Start we met with Margaret Gunshow, the program manager for Head Start, and the Education Director, Modesta Minthorn-Pinawollenmay. We learned about the strong investment and support from tribal leaders and community members to enhance the work done with children and families. Cradle BoardsOne example of this was some beautiful cradle-boards crafted by Cleo Agnes Dick, an elder with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation; specifically for the Head Start classrooms.

At the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, we met with Cheryl Tom, who oversees the Head Start program, and was quick to invite her content area managers so that they could share more with us about their work and the uniqueness of the supports they provide. We also learned about a generous gift of regalia from a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to assure that each child had an item to wear for a Pow-wow that was occurring later that week. The work of these programs is vital to children and families and the connection between the priorities of the tribes and the goals of Head Start for children and families was clear. It was a first step in continuing to build a meaningful relationship with these valuable providers in our state.


October 2017 Collaboration Office Corner

Welcome to National Head Start Awareness month! This is the time of year that programs can connect with their partners to share with them the exciting work that is being done and learn the ways we can better partner together. The National Head Start Association has launched a “Books building bridges” initiative which encourages Head Start programs to reach out to their local law enforcement agencies to invite officers to read books to children. You can learn more at You can also use your own individual venues to get the word out about Head Start. If you share your story and your excitement on social media be sure to tag #HeadStartAwareness !

Recruiting and enrolling families is an important part of the work of our Head Start programs. We are constantly trying to find the families who need our services most. In the past couple of years Head Start programs across the country are facing enrollment challenges. The mobility of families, the rise of minimum wage, the challenge of finding the exact family that fits your exact opening, new programs offered in the area, and the lack of bussing has added to this challenge. As partners to Head Start you are invited to reach out to your local program and better support them reaching their enrollment targets. This is increasingly important as programs that are below 97% enrollment at the end of 12 months, after implementing their enrollment improvement plan, will have Federal recommendations to reduce the program’s funding and enrollment. It is important to keep the funds where the children are, so if there is a continued need in your community be sure to support your program in reaching their enrollment targets.

Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

Collaboration Office Corner September 2017

Serving children furthest from opportunity is a tenant of Head Start. Our goal is to understand our communities, learn where the greatest needs and barriers exist for young children, and then work with their families to address those needs and give them a head start in school and in life. What do we mean by children furthest from opportunity? The beautiful thing about that terminology is that it can mean a different thing in every community. Embedded in our Performance Standards is the priority for children in poverty, children with disabilities, children who are without homes, and children in the Foster Care System. Our children of color and English language learners are definitely furthest from opportunity, and our rural and frontier families are also a far stretch from opportunity. Head Start programs also work with their parent driven Policy Councils to set areas of priorities for specific populations in their community that they feel are furthest from opportunity; teen parents, single parents, grandparents caring for grandchildren, and so on.

Follow this link for a document that contains links for data on and information to support many of these populations that Head Start serves:

As the school year begins, and each of these children and their families join with our important work, I hope everyone who works in Head Start will take the time to set an intention to care for yourself while doing this important work. In doing this work the staff are the change agent, their ability to engage with children and families, their ability to reflect on what each child is needing; these are what will move the needle on how these families and their children succeed at school and life. In order to be that change agent, you need to care for yourself. Take a minute to review these resources on how to better at stress: or peruse this newsletter from the National Center on Health and Wellness: or one of our other resources on the Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center:


Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

Collaboration Office Corner August 2017

Many of you are familiar with the annual needs assessment required of Oregon Head Start PreKindergarten programs, you may not be aware that the Head Start Collaboration Office has a similar requirement. The assessment by the state’s Collaboration Office looks at the needs of programs statewide; especially as they connect to priority areas and current initiatives.

A copy of the 2017 Oregon Head Start Collaboration Office Needs Assessment is attached for your review. An important highlight of this assessment is the need for support to local programs around increasing the duration of classroom school days and school year. It is also notable that the survey given to OPK directors showed their priority for the Collaboration Office was continued support around Memorandums of Understanding (as required by the Head Start Act) with other publicly funded preschool programs in their area, as well as continued collaboration with Spark (Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System for early care and education programs as well as child care providers).

I hope you all enjoy the last month of summer and that things are going smoothly as programs ramp up enrollment to prepare for the 2017-18 school year.

Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

July Collaboration Office Corner

June has been a busy month in Oregon’s Collaboration Office. Summer Institute was a great success and we look forward to sharing more data in regards to our participants once that comes available. Staff at the Early Learning Division, including our Interim Early Learning Systems Director David Mandell, were able to join Oregon’s Head Start Directors for the final morning of their three-day June meeting. This was a valuable opportunity for the two groups to learn more about the priorities for the coming biennium and map out how the Association and Early Learning Division can work together. Multiple workgroups were established and are being organized. Information from their work together will be shared at future Director’s meetings.

Work on Spark (Oregon’s quality rating and improvement system for child care) continues to move along steadily. We have released the second draft of the new Tiers and Standards; they can be found on the Early Learning Division website under the page for the Spark Revision Ad Hoc Committee; June meeting materials “Spark Standards draft 6-9- 17” (

The Early Learning Division is excitedly awaiting our new Early Learning Systems Director, Miriam Calderon. Miriam is set to begin in mid-July and is scheduled to meet with regional staff from the Office of Head Start in early November. There are various vacancies at the Early Learning Division which we hope to fill once the hiring freeze is lifted.

Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

Collaboration Office Corner June 2017

It is hard to believe that summer is upon us and that our programs operating part year are winding down their work with children and families and celebrating the exciting gains that children and families have made over the past school year.

We are gearing up for the Summer Institute that will be happening in Albany at the end of the month. This learning opportunity was inspired by our partners at Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education that wanted to create a cross sector learning opportunity to bring together folks who work in Early Childhood for a training that was free to participants and had sessions that allowed a deeper dive on a topic and offered college/graduate credit for participants. We are very excited that the 3 sessions sponsored by the Early Learning Division (School Readiness from emotional intelligence to self-regulation, Toxic Stress and Trauma: Supporting children, families, and systems, and Practice-Based Coaching for Instructional leaders to improve practice and develop systems) are full with wait-lists. Registration closes on June 9th, but there were still a few openings if anyone is interested!

I have only had the opportunity to visit a couple of our programs, but each time I do I am heartened by the incredible work that is happening in the field. The impact made by Oregon Head Start PreKindergarten is evident in the lives we have touched. Congratulations on another year of success.

Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner.

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

May 2017 Collaboration Office Corner

The National Head Start Association has announced a unique partnership with This website is intended for individuals to make donations to support specific projects that individual teachers from around the country post. Thanks to PNC (a bank found primarily on the East Coast) Head Start programs have officially been added so that teachers can post projects. Even more exciting is the fact that for the first week the project is posted PNC will match donations dollar for dollar!

The first Head Start teacher in Oregon to post; Mrs. Ramsey from North Central ESD Early Education Head Start (which serves Sherman and Wheeler counties) had her project funded in a number of days. We are thrilled with this result and look forward to other Head Start teachers posting their projects as well!

The Office of Head Start recently held the Leadership Institute in Chicago to discuss and present the new Head Start Program Performance Standards as well as their implementation. During the monthly Director’s webinar (from April 13th) I was able to present some of the valuable clarification offered and questions answered. Here is the link to that webinar:

We continue to focus on Early Learning Partnerships across the state varying from connecting with Preschool Promise and other local providers to better connecting and establishing the work of programs that only offer state-funded Oregon Head Start PreKindergarten with local providers of dually-funded Oregon Head Start PreKindergarten.

The Early Learning Council has created an ad hoc committee that will look more deeply at, and make recommendations on, the proposed Spark (formally QRIS) revisions. We are excited that Pam Greenough Corrie, Director, Mt. Hood Community College Head Start and Sabrina Ersland, EHS Education, Training and Development Coordinator, Albina Head Start applied and were accepted as members of this committee. Their knowledge of Head Start, the ORO system, and current Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) will be a great asset to this committee.
Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner!

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

February 2017 Collaboration Office Corner

As we move towards full implementation of the new Head Start Program Performance Standards that were released in the fall (which intend for nearly all Head Start programs to offer full school day and full school year services by 2021) it is exciting to know that 16 of the Head Start programs in our state have been awarded extended duration grants. These grants only support a portion of classrooms (as requested by grantee and up to 40% of enrollment) and are only one step in this process.

Congress allocated these funds as a down payment toward ensuring that nearly all preschool-age children in Head Start attend programs that operate for a full day and full school year. This supplemental funding allows Head Start programs to choose the models that work best for their communities when designing programs with more total annual hours. Programs work with parents in deciding to add days at the end of the year, to shorten the summer gap, to add more hours per day or a combination of both; with 1050 hours being the goal and timeframes mirroring Kindergartens in their service area. The operational funds awarded to each grantee will become part of the grantee’s base funding subject to appropriations. The following programs will be implementing their extended duration classrooms with varying timelines, but all should have classrooms operational by the fall of 2017.


Albina Head Start

Clackamas County Children’s Commission

Community Action Organization

Community Action Team Inc. of Columbia County

Community Services Consortium

Eastern Oregon University

Head Start of Lane County

Kids & Company of Linn County

Klamath Family Head Start

Mid-Columbia Children’s Council, Inc

Mt Hood Community College


Oregon Child Development Coalition

Oregon Coast Community Action

Southern Oregon Child & Family Council, Inc.

Umatilla Morrow Head Start, Inc.

For more information see:


Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner!

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director

January Collaboration Office Corner

In early December the Early Learning Division hosted an Early Learning Partnerships meeting between Head Start Directors and Hub leaders in areas where we have Preschool Promise programs. Attendees reported that they appreciated this opportunity to come together and the conversations held were robust and diverse depending on the community and where programs were in developing their relationship and understanding of how to best work with each other. We will continue to build on these meetings by surveying current participants on the best way to build this work out. Feel free to contact me with any thoughts or constructive feedback on how to continue this work!

Over the past year the Early Learning Division has been working closely with our partners in Region 10 to renew a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding that had helped to outline our work together. The result of this work is the “Partnership for Oregon Head Start Guiding Roles and Responsibilities”. This guiding document outlines the way that Office of Head Start Region 10, programs represented by the Oregon Head Start Association, and the Oregon Early Learning Division work together to support the unique funding model for Oregon programs.

Delaying Compliance Date on Background Checks

On December 6, 2016 the Office of Head Start released a notice that will delay the compliance date for background checks procedures, which was originally described in the Head Start Program Performance Standards final rule that was published in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016. The new effective date of September 30, 2017 aligns with background check requirement deadlines for systems in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, 20 U.S.C. § 1431 et seq., 20.

Because the Child Care Registry in Oregon currently runs on a 2 year cycle it will be imperative for staff to immediately comply to new standards as they renew in the registry.

Knowledge for knowledge’s sake

As we start 2017 it is exciting to look back at some of the wonderful research that was released in the past month to support the work that we do and also that helps guide us moving forward.  Recent research from the University of Chicago published in December “shows that high quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment – a rate substantially higher than the 7=10% return previous established for preschool programs serving 3- to 4-year-olds.” All of this is very exciting as programs look at how to assure their work with families starts earlier. Benefits shown were looked at over a 30 year period making it possible to measure “Lifecycle Benefits” things like eventual labor income, years of education, high school graduation rates, health, and crime involvement. The specific programs whose results were studied provided care for more than 9 hours a day over the course of five years (as well as incorporating nutrition and access to healthcare). Which speaks to the importance of scaffolding developmental supports and offering services for enough hours to support stability for children and parents an opportunity to pursue educational and career goals (

The National Institute for Early Education Research also released the “State(s) of Head Start report” which provides a breakdown of what is happening in states across the country. The exciting news for Oregon ( is that we are exceeding both the national average and the research-based threshold in Emotional Support and Classroom Organization for Classroom Quality Scores.  It also reported that only 11% of the children served by Head Start in Oregon have at least 1,020 hours of service per year, compared to the national average of 42% of children. Consequently there is a lot of work to be done in order to increase duration and children’s exposure to our quality classrooms. Region 10 Office of Head Start is working with a number of grantees to increase duration to this threshold as soon as Fall 2017; and sooner for Early Head Start.

Feel free to let me know if there are other things you would like to see in this corner!

Respectfully submitted by Shawna Rodrigues, LCSW
Oregon Head Start Collaborations Director