Yesterday, NHSA kicked off the 2014 Winter Leadership Institute with its preconference.

The conference itself starts today with a varied agenda. What sessions are of particular interest to you?

This year, we are especially excited about Vanessa Rich’s thoughts on the sequester restoration (today at 5), Yasmina Vinci, Tommy Sheridan and Emmalie Dropkin’s lessons learned from DRS Rounds 1, 2 and 3 (3?) (tomorrow at 5:30), Colleen Rathgeb and Amanda Bryans presentation on Head Start standards revision (Wednesday at 3:15), and, of course, the update from the Office of Head Start’s Ann Linehan, Collen Rathgeb, Shawna Pinckney, Ross Weaver, Sharon Yandian, Amanda Bryans, Frances Majestic and Adia Brown (Thursday at 8:30).  As good as these choices are, they are not our must-attend session.  Why not? Thoughtful and intuitive Zoe Beckerman suggested we pay attention to this other topic. And, no surprise, she was right…

Our top pick, can’t miss session, however, is at 2pm on Wednesday. It is called Critical Success Indicators and the Future of Monitoring, with Rick Fiene, Ross Weaver and Adia Brown.  

You’ll remember that in this 2013 webinar, “FY 2014 Grantee Webcast”, Ross and Adia discussed monitoring in 2014 and we were very interested in their section on the Head Start Key Indicator Research and screening tool (go to slide 27 on the PDF of the PowerPoint and approximately minute 29 of the webinar). They referenced the research conducted by Rick Fiene from Pennsylvania State University – conveniently presenting at our must-attend session on Wednesday. The research seemed solid and the purpose seemed reasonable.

The next webinar on this topic, “HSKI Screener Grantee Webinar” took our moderate interest in the Head Start Key Indicator (HSKI) to a whole new level. Just in case you missed it, this is the transcript of the webinar. While Ross and Adia referenced a group of grantees whose triennial review (October 2013-January 2014) would be supplemented by this HSKI tool, “to test of the tool not the grantee”, the specific HSKI webinar described a very different purpose and target group.

What’s behind the shift? We hope that Wednesday’s session helps us all understand the evolution and forward trajectory of this tool from intended use with grantees, generally, to a much more narrow and focused application to a very particular group of grantees. You can probably tell where this is going…

According to Danya’s Rosemarie Franchi, with assistance from Joy Trejo and Bert Sorongon, the HSKI Screener was designed for incumbent grantees. This is their definition of incumbent grantee: those that successfully re-competed for their grant through a competitive award process as part of the designation renewal process.

As of today, only DRS Round One winners have been announced (see the list) and we are still waiting on the Round Two winners to be publically announced (and, for that matter, Round Three to be listed at all).

For now, that means that the incumbent grantees (the winners of Round One) will, according to Rosemarie, be screened using the HSKI and any, “who is not successful in passing the HSKI Screener will receive a full review.”

The webinar indicated that incumbent grantees will receive a letter of notice 14 days prior to the screening visit and these were scheduled to begin in January. The screening visit is meant to last two or three days and sometime after the screening visit the incumbent grantees will receive a letter from OHS letting them know whether they passed or failed the screening. Details about the follow up review that will now result from the failed HSKI screening are meant to be in the letter from OHS.

So – current incumbents – how is this playing out for you? We’d love to hear about the experience of the incumbents, if any, who have had their screening review in these first 3 weeks of January 2014.

We’ll be in and out and would love to connect with you, and anyone else who’d like to chat, if you have an opportunity between sessions. Email or call Amy if you’d like to make a plan.

Thank you.

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If your agency has activated a ‘trigger’ and is facing recompetition – you might want or need guidance. In most cases, we can help you get through this critical period and, if we can’t, we’ll certainly help you find the support you need. 703-599-4329 or augenblick@foundationsforfamilies.com.

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