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New Director Resources

Welcome new Head Start Director! In your role as Director, you are expected to manage and direct a full range of functions that must be coordinated to ensure that quality services are delivered to children and families every program day. Knowing what you need to know is sometimes difficult for new directors of any program. Head Start can be especially overwhelming with the volume of regulations, the numerous daily management issues, and the ongoing monitoring needed to implement quality services to children and families. To help you navigate all of these requirements, NIHSDA has created a list of New Director Resources. The information and links below are designed to provide you with important and basic information to help you get a quick overview of expectations for the role of a Head Start/Early Head Start Director.


Many of the links take you to the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website. The ECLKC (pronounced “e-click”) is the official communication channel for Head Start and Early Head Start grantees, TA network, regional offices, Head Start parents and families, OHS consultants, and anyone else involved with Head Start. There you will find the latest information on OHS priorities, policies, and programs. The ECLKC also offers tips and promising practices on many early childhood topics including child development, education, and health. 


NIHSDA is here to support you in your new role as a director. We are the only national organization which represents American Indian and Alaska Native HS/EHS programs exclusively, and our goal is for every AIAN program to be successful. If you are a member of NIHSDA, you also have access to the NIHSDA listserv which provides users the opportunity to seek information, guidance, and other support from over 100 other AIAN HS/EHS directors. We hope that the resources provided will empower you and help build your capacity as a leader in your program.



Frequent Contact Information


Document Checklist


Key Due Date reminders



State Collaboration Office - Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCO) facilitate partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state entities that provide services to benefit low income children and their families. HSCO are awarded funds under Section 642B of the 2007 Head Start Act. (You can find links here to information on USDA, Early Learning Standards, Child Care Licensing, and EPSDT)


Office of Head Start Organizational Chart


OHS Region XI and TTA


AIAN Head Start Directory


State Transportation

Head Start Grant

Five Year Grant Application Instructions


Grant Application FAQs


Grant Application User Guide


Annual Program and Budget Planning Calendar


Payment Management System - This system must be used by Head Start grantees to drawdown Head Start grant funds and to submit quarterly cash disbursement reconciliation reports. The website provides Help Desk assistance and frequently asked questions that provide guidance on how to create user identification.

Program Management

OHS Monitoring Process

Fiscal Management

Organizational Leadership



Head Start Act - The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-134) authorizes Head Start funds at specific levels and outlines how they will be allocated. The Act outlines the intent of Congress for the program; types of services offered; population served; and reporting, evaluation, and administrative requirements.


Head Start Program Performance Standards - The Head Start Program Performance Standards (45 CFR 1301–1311) outline the mandatory regulations that grantees and delegate agencies must implement to operate a Head Start or Early Head Start program. The Performance Standards define the objectives and features of a quality program and provide a structure for monitoring and enforcing quality standards.

Timeframes Required in HSPPS - This resource for programs describes the various timelines and timeframes described in parts 1302 and 1303 of the HSPPS.


Uniform Guidance

Uniform Guidance IM

Frequently Asked Questions


Program Instructions - The Office of Head Start issues Program Instructions (PIs) designed to help Head Start programs fulfill various legal requirements. Grantees should review all PIs for the current year. PIs from previous years can also be helpful resources.


Information Memorandums - The Office of Head Start distributes information relevant to all Head Start programs using Information Memorandums (IMs). IMs provide grantees with recommendations, tools, models, and techniques for program improvement and development. It is recommended that grantees review all IMs for the current year. IMs from previous years can also be helpful resources.


Order of Precedence


Program Services

Caring For Our Children Basics - ACF is pleased to announce Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education. Caring for our Children Basics represents the minimum health and safety standards experts believe should be in place where children are cared for outside of their homes.


Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework - The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five (HSELOF, 2015) replaces the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (HSCDELF, 2010). The HSELOF presents five broad areas of early learning, referred to as central domains. These domains reflect research-based expectations for learning and development. The HSELOF emphasizes the key skills, behaviors, and knowledge that programs must foster in children ages birth to 5 to help them be successful in school and life.


Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Interactive Framework - The Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework is a roadmap for progress in achieving the types of outcomes that lead to positive and enduring change for children and families.



PIR - The Office of Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) provides comprehensive data on the services, staff, children, and families served by Head Start and Early Head Start programs nationwide. All grantees and delegates are required to submit PIR for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.


Annual Program Report – The Head Start Act (section 644(a)(2)) requires each agency to make available to the public at least once in each fiscal year a report that contains eight elements. 


Monthly Enrollment - All Head Start programs are required to report on a monthly basis their actual enrollment. If the actual enrollment is less than the funded enrollment, programs must report the reasons for shortfall. In addition, enrollment reports often include average daily attendance rates as center-based Head Start programs are required to have at least an 85 percent monthly average daily attendance rate. If the monthly rate is less than 85 percent, the Head Start program must analyze the causes of absenteeism.


Financial Report



Suggested Action Steps


Head Start Enterprise System (HSES)





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