Early Childhood

More Than 600 Head Start Programs to Lengthen Hours Under New Funding

By Christina A. Samuels — January 03, 2017 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Office of Head Start announced Tuesday that it will distribute $290 million to 665 Head Start and Early Head Start programs around the country that they can use to expand their full school day and year offerings.

Congress appropriated the supplemental funding in a fiscal 2016 budget bill for the federal preschool program for children from low-income families, and the money is now part of Head Start’s base funding, subject to congressional approval.

The $290 million adds up to about a third of the $1 billion increase Head Start has estimated that it needs to provide full-day, full-year programs for all the children currently enrolled, which Head Start defines as 1,020 hours per year. For center-based Early Head Start programs serving children from infancy through age 3, the minimum hours are 1,380 per year. Before adopting the standards in September, Head Start programs were required to operate for a minimum of 3 1/2 hours per day and 128 days per year, or 448 hours per year. Thestandards would create a nearly six-hour day over standard 180-day school year for preschool students.

A major revision of Head Start standards announced in 2016 will require nearly all programs to offer a full-day and full-year program by 2021. The standards, however, allow the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services discretion to place that portion of the standards on hold, pending congressional funding. Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, is Donald Trump’s pick to lead the department. (In 2007, Price advocated on behalf of a pilot program that would have placed Head Start under state control in up to eight states.)

The additional money was targeted at grantees that have fewer than 40 percent of their slots currently operating on a full-day and full-year schedule, said Colleen Rathgeb, the director of policy for the office of early childhood development at the administration for children and families.Programs have several options to increase their programming, including adding days to the end of the school year to shorten a summer gap, adding hours of operation to the school day, or both. The money can be used to pay for additional staff or to help provide facility upgrades for programs that are currently running double sessions. Most parents will see a change in the upcoming school year, but some programs may be able to use the funding to make changes more quickly.

A recent analysis of Head Start programs by the National Institute for Early Education Research found wide disparities in the program year for many Head Start grantees. For example, almost all Head Start children in the District of Columbia and in Georgia were served in full-day programs that last an entire school year. In Idaho and Wyoming, only 1 percent of children were in full-day, full-year programs.

Part of the variation in Head Start programs was built into the system; since its creation in 1964, Head Start has been overseen by about 1,700 individual grantees, and those grantees create programs that best serve their local communities. However, recent research has shown that children are better prepared for school in programs that last for a full school day and year, Rathgeb said. Working in critical learning skills, play, lunch, nap, and all the other important elements of a preschool program is difficult to do in just 3 1/2 hours, she said.

Head Start is also continuing to support professional development work that will allow teachers to best take advantage of the extra time, said Ann Linehan, the acting director of Head Start. “It’s one thing to have children in for longer hours, but the quality of the teaching and ongoing professional development is absolutely critical,” she said.


Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Opinion Waterford Upstart on Providing Remote Learning to 90,000 Pre-K Kids
Rick Hess speaks with Dr. LaTasha Hadley of Waterford Upstart about its use of adaptive software to close gaps in kindergarten readiness.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Early Childhood Opinion How Two Child-Care Centers Put Competition Aside and Created a Partnership During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, two early-childhood centers put their competition aside to work together to support families during the pandemic.
Charles Dinofrio
7 min read
Early Childhood New Players Fill Child-Care Gap as Schools Go Remote
As school districts move to remote instruction for the fall, day-care providers, dance studios, and after-school programs step in to fill school-day child-care gaps.
7 min read
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
Courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
Early Childhood Will Kindergartens Be Empty This Fall?
As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, parents around the country are struggling with whether to send their child to kindergarten this fall. Some say they won't.
6 min read
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Courtesy of Satiria Clayton