HEAD START WORKS! This has been the mantra for many years from those of us who have seen it work. Through funding ups and downs, through discussions about “school readiness” and what it means, through challenges and inspirations - we have continued to see success after success after success.
The best way for a Head Start or Early Head Start program to show that it is working is to share results! Every program must demonstrate that children are meeting outcomes. Every program must show that most children make significant progress while in Head Start or Early Head Start. Every program must report to the Office of Head Start (and ultimately, members of Congress) every year. And programs don’t just track children’s progress. They also report on outcomes in the areas of health, mental health, social/emotional growth, and parent involvement, to only name a few of the other components of this comprehensive program that has lasted for over 45 years.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs are mandated to publish a report for the public each year. Many programs go above and beyond what is required – they include statistics that prove effectiveness. Programs should not only make sure those reports are shared with community partners, etc. They should use local media, their websites and Facebook to highlight what they are doing in their programs and how successfully they are doing it. Head Start works – and programs in Indiana are demonstrating just how well it works!
Cheryl Miller is IHSA Executive Director.