The start of the new program year is here, and with it comes a new federal monitoring review season. During the last few years, there have been changes to content and format of reviews, due in large part to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we talk about what’s the same, what might be different, and how your program can prepare for a FY2024 federal monitoring review.

Content. Each program year, there are usually changes to monitoring protocols – sometimes minor and sometimes more substantial. For example, in FY2023, Focus Area 2 reviews tested Promising Practice questions. There were also new Health questions added about staff wellness, and most questions specific to the COVID-19 pandemic were removed.

The prior year (FY2022), a number of questions were added to the protocols. Specifically, questions related to addressing inequities and promoting diversity, belonging, and inclusion; the number of families engaged in goal setting and types of goals developed; and approaches to addressing food insecurity.

We are interested to see if there are any changes, or what areas are emphasized, in the FY2024 protocols. Stay tuned for more information, as the FY2024 protocols are expected in coming weeks.

Format. The format of FY2024 focus area reviews is consistent with last year, and all reviews will begin in October 2023. Focus Area 1 reviews will be held virtually, and Focus Area 2 reviews will be hybrid (virtual and in-person).

New for FY2024 CLASS reviews, “grant recipients will have the opportunity to self-record and submit their own videos or request an on-site CLASS review.” During FY2023, CLASS reviews were conducted as part of a video pilot. CLASS reviews were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, but prior to that, were conducted only in-person. This new approach is a blending of pre- and post-pandemic formats.

CLASS and DRS. An important update in a July 2023 IM from the Office of Head Start (OHS) is that, during the FY2024 program year, CLASS scores will be used for DRS determinations. During the past three years, CLASS scores were not used for this purpose. This means that FY2024 will be the first year that the updated CLASS condition of DRS will be used for determinations. In August 2020, a Final Rule removed the lowest 10% criterion and replaced it with quality and competitive thresholds.

Of course, no program wants to find itself in DRS. If your program receives a deficiency or its CLASS scores result in placement in DRS, it is best to be prepared. Consider subscribing to our DRS Updates blog for timely updates about all things related to DRS. OHS is about to release a large round of DRS grant competitions – 50 service areas across 26 states – and there is a lot that can be learned by following along the process.

Monitoring Readiness. Monitoring protocols are typically released by OHS in September, which is followed by an Aligned Monitoring System Virtual Expo in October. More information will come, and it’s not too soon to start thinking about federal review preparation.

We recommend giving your program time for federal review preparation. This might include a thorough review of protocols, practice responding to questions, and gathering data and reports. Taking these steps will also help to build staff members’ readiness and confidence for when the review takes place.

If your program anticipates a federal monitoring review this program year, we encourage you to explore Foundations for Families’ Consulting Services. If you need assistance preparing for a federal review, please be in touch. Our team of consultants will work with your program to determine a process, timeline, and approach that is the best fit for your needs.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading our blog. We encourage you to use our blog posts for thought, integration, and sharing. When using or sharing content from blog posts, please attribute the original content to Foundations for Families.

Sign Up to hear from us!

Promoting excellence in early childhood education to support families and strengthen communities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!