AMS 2.0: What has changed for FY 2019?
Last Thursday, the Office of Head Start (“OHS”) released the new monitoring protocol for FY 2019. Have questions about what has changed? We have answers!
We spent some time studying the new monitoring protocol.
And here’s what we think are some of the biggest changes in FY19.
1. School Readiness
If you’ve been following the activity of OHS at all this summer, you know that school readiness is an important focus of this administration. This is in large part because the new director of OHS, Dr. Deborah Bergeron, was a K-12 school administrator prior to being named the director. She has published vlogs emphasizing school readiness and, specifically, “receiving school readiness,” which focuses on preparing children for the specific school to which the children will transition at the end of the school year. Both Focus Area One and Focus Area Two now have independent sections related to receiving school readiness.
Given this new focus, all programs — including those gearing up for monitoring reviews — should be sure that they have made connections with and understand the unique features of the schools that will receive their children at the end of the year. Programs should also demonstrate that they have used that information to inform programming.
2. Fiscal infrastructure
The fiscal infrastructure portion of the monitoring reviews has expanded, most significantly in Focus Area Two.
The monitoring protocol in Focus Area Two emphasizes program-wide involvement and competency in fiscal issues. For example, reviewers seek to evaluate how program goals and objectives inform the development of the budget. Reviewers also want to know how training has been provided to staff, the governing body and policy council to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities related to fiscal issues.
The program-wide emphasis in Focus Area Two is consistent with the Head Start Program Performance Standards, which also underscore the need for program-wide, coordinated approaches to management, and effective cross-training.
The fiscal section of Focus Area Two also includes two independent sections on compensation and procurement. Grantees would be wide to ensure they are well-versed in Head Start Program Performance Standards and Uniform Guidance provisions related to both areas.
3. Less emphasis on community engagement?
The monitoring protocol seem to have fewer questions related to community engagement. It is unclear at this point, however, whether this is an unintended consequence of streamlining the monitoring protocol, or whether it represents a policy choice on the part of OHS.
4. Small changes to CLASS
CLASS has been a matter of significant controversy in the Head Start community. OHS recently signaled that it was interested in revisiting the use of CLASS as a trigger for the Designation Renewal System when it published a request for feedback about changes to DRS. While OHS hasn’t taken any action based on that request, it did announce that for FY19 CLASS observations, there will be two CLASS observers per program, but still only one CLASS observer per classroom.