Volume 1124| 1 July 2024


One Clear, Powerful Voice

PA Head Start Association highlights our advocacy, promotes civic engagement, serves our members through professional learning and celebrates our programs. The Association values our program members and their mission-focused work along-side families, with children and within their communities.

Thank you to our Associate Partners!

Thoughts from the Executive Director

Dear Early Head Start and Head Start Friends and Community,

Summer is underway and I wonder how is the summer going for you?

What are you looking forward to doing or what have you enjoyed in the

past few weeks? Have you started a new hobby? What is growing in

your garden, which author are you reading to relax, and with whom are

you visiting?

I recently read about the birth of a white bison calf – with black eyes, a

black nose and black hooves - at Yellowstone National Park.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse noted, “The thing is, we all know that it was

born and it’s like a miracle to us.” He is the spiritual leader of the

Lakota, Dakota and the Nakota Oyate in South Dakota, and the 19th

keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman Pipe and Bundle. For

many Native American tribes the birth of the white bison is a sacred

blessing and fulfills a Lakota prophecy that predicts better times. A

naming ceremony took place for the calf at the end of June.

I have learned that the birth of a white buffalo holds deep spiritual

significance for many Native American tribes including the Lakota,

Sioux, Cherokee, Comanche, and Navajo peoples. There is a Lakota

legend that speaks of a woman who appeared during a period of food

scarcity. She shared the sacred gifts of a pipe and a bundle, “promising

to return and restore harmony to a troubled world.” She transformed

into a white buffalo upon leaving. The birth of the white calf is

prophecy for Chief Arvol Looking Horse and, are both, “a blessing and a


We face many troubles in Head Start. You are welcome to fill in the

blank with the one uppermost in your mind at the moment,

______________. We also have sacred blessings. We have dedicated

staff. We have supportive legislators. We have families registering their

children, choosing the 2 generation model of Head Start services. We

have tens of thousands of alumni over 59 years. And so many more.

Let’s use time this summer to “bestow a name” on a sacred blessing.

Tell and share a Head Start story from within your community about

yourself, a staff member, family, child, volunteer, Policy Council, Board

Director, community partner or alumni. Head Start is a sacred blessing

for all of us.


Kara McFalls

Executive Director

Bestow a Name

PA Head Start Association Survey

PA Head Start Association Stakeholder Survey 2024

Thank you for supporting our mission. We appreciate your commitment and your partnership as we explore the best ways to continue to serve our members, partners, and community.

Please complete our survey and share with all program member staff.


We engaged Helix Strategies to support PHSA’s strategic planning process including the creation of the following survey. We appreciate you and would love to receive your valuable feedback. Survey responses will be combined with data collected through other methods. The Board will use the themes identified to inform the rest of their strategic planning process.


Please complete by Wednesday, July 10th.


For questions about the survey, please contact Dr. Ivy Buchan at ivy@helixllc.org.

We look forward to receiving your feedback. Thank you very much.

Spotlight on Programs

Bradford-Tioga Head Start

At Bradford-Tioga Head Start, positive male role models are highly valued and encouraged to participate in visits.

'Children who have fathers or male father figures involved in their education are more likely to: get better grades; have better verbal and problem-solving skills; do better on achievement tests; and to demonstrate a higher tolerance for stress and frustration. Children are also more likely to have positive peer relationships.'

Bradford-Tioga News Article

Lebanon County Head Start Program

Amal, parent and a staff member, alongside her husband Emad, both recently took part in their naturalization ceremony! Congratulations for completing the process to become citizens of the United States! While in this process, the family also purchased their first home. We are proud to have you in the Head Start Community!

Luzerne County Head Start Program

Luzerne County Head Start and Leadership Northeast held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of a new sensory room at our Beekman Street Center in Wilkes-Barre!

Created in response to the heightened social-emotional needs of young children, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic, the sensory room provides a safe, calming environment meant to help with self-regulation and relaxation so students can feel better prepared to learn and interact with others. The sensory room will benefit all Beekman Street children for years to come and serve as a model for other LCHS sites.

Head Start Alumni Across PA

Head Start programs have existed in Pennsylvania since 1965, we have many Alumni! Meet a different Alumni each month through our newsletter.

-Introducing Jessica Peppler-

I first discovered the Head Start program when my son was 3 years old. As a parent, I immersed myself in the experience and saw firsthand the incredible impact it had on my child and our family. During the time my son attended Head Start, I earned my B.S. degree, inspired by the support and encouragement the program had given me. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to become an Early Head Start home visitor and family service worker, stepping into a role like the one that had provided us with so much help.

Jessica Peppler and son AJ

Head Start Alumni

Head Start Alumni Application

Head Start has profoundly shaped who I am today. The program taught me to embrace and cherish my role as a parent, showing me compassionate and effective ways to communicate and bond with my child. Witnessing the benefits of Head Start in my own life, I felt a deep desire to give back. In my role, I primarily worked with Hispanic families who did not speak English. As a bilingual person, I could bridge the gap for these families, ensuring they received the support they needed. From personal experience, I understood how crucial it was for parents to be present and engaged with their children, and I wanted to help other families achieve this.

Working with families who were often overlooked because of language barriers was incredibly fulfilling. I knew the importance of being heard and understood, especially when seeking help with financial, medical, or mental health issues. By providing these families with the resources and support they needed, I hoped to help them be more present for their children, fostering stronger parent-child relationships. My journey with Head Start has been transformative, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, just as the program did for me.


Be sure Head Start voices are heard

in this election year


Historically, income levels have impacted a families likelihood of registering to vote. When one economic bracket is over represented and another is under represented, election results are skewed.


Programs are encouraged to make voting a discussion topic with families during home visits, conferences, and initial intakes and applications.

Do families have an interest in voting and have they registered to vote? Is this something they need assistance with?

Register to Vote Pa

The Association is working to create a resource for programs to increase voter registration. If your program is working on this initiative, has ideas, or other content to share, please contact brandie@paheadstart.org to collaborate.

Head Start Policy: Political Activities

Save the Date

5th of November, 2024 Presidential Election

the opportunity for Early and Head Start Families voices to be heard

State Wide Advocacy Campaigns

The Association is a leadership partner with Early Learning PA. The coalition's mission is to secure adequate resources to ensure all Pennsylvania’s children and families have access to voluntary, high-quality early learning opportunities that capitalize on a child’s development and brain development – prenatal to age 5. Learn about, and join, the state-wide advocacy campaigns, in which the Association is a partner leader.

Learning, Education & Events

Administrator & Leaders Meeting

Join us at our one-day, virtual

Administrator & Leaders Meeting

on 10 July 2024

Register Here

Summer Board Retreat

Reminder for our two-day in person Summer Board Retreat from 17-18 July 2024.

Register Here

Hotel Block expires June 28

For more information about joining the Board visit our website.


The Penn State College of Medicine invites you and your colleagues to meet your Pennsylvania Mandated Reporter Training requirements (at no cost) by completing iLookOut’s online, interactive, story-based training.

iLookOut Information

Vaccinations for Head Start

a toolkit for providers

Use this free toolkit from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Foundation (PHF) to explore a variety of strategies and research based information to help families understand the importance of early childhood vaccinations.

Vaccination Toolkit

Family Services Staff Network

The PA Head Start Association is proud to partner with Dr. Pamela Waddell, Family Engagement Specialist with the Region 3 Head Start Training & Technical Assistance team.

Dr. Waddell will facilitate (FREE) quarterly virtual meetings for Family Services Staff so that they can network with their colleagues across the state, unpack national Head Start resources, engage in small group topic discussions of their choosing, hear from a guest speaker on occasion, converse among peers in Roundtables, highlight their successes, identify future content and so much more.

The next session kicks off in late summer.

Come join us, to return to your work with a new nugget of knowledge, having met a new Family Services Network Friend.

FSN Dashboard
Registration Link

Region III Training/

Technical Assistance

Professional Development

Bulletin Board

Professional Development Bulletin Board

Register to receive regional promotions and adverts.

Introducing our Newest Proud Partner: Kodo

Discover the Power of Head Start Learning Materials at Kodo!

Complete the form to receive direct access to our knowledgeable Head Start specialists. They'll help you curate the perfect collection of Head Start materials tailored to your students' needs.

Elevate your classroom experience with Kodo today!

Kodo Sign Up

Recent News

The First Five

Years Fund

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting the first-of-its-kind National Child Care Innovation Summit to bring together business leaders, stakeholders, and experts to discuss how investments in child care and early learning can help build a stronger economy. 


To learn more about the summit and the challenges facing businesses I sat down with Liat Krawczyk, Senior Advisor for Workforce and Child Care Strategy at the U.S. Department of Commerce CHIPS Program Office, and Caitlin Codella, the Vice President of policy and programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation who are each playing leading roles in organizing this event.

President Biden Announces New Actions to Advance Racial and Educational Equity

on 70th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring the educational success of every child, and to address racial segregation in our schools that leads to worse educational outcomes for children, including through investments in local efforts to increase diversity and equal opportunity.

Fact Sheet

Lack of Dental Coverage means Increase of Children with Oral Disease

Lisa Simmons, M.D., D.M.D., has gone to medical school in order to fight the injustice of services for individuals with medicaid and medicare. While working with Head Start programs, Dr. Simmons recognized a high number of students with oral diseased due to their medical insurance not covering dental needs. Dr. Simmons works to advocate to include dental funds into the medical assistance program, which has been banned since 1965.

Advocating for Dental Coverage with Medicaid and Medicare

Francine Bunch Awards

On May 22, 2024, the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, named Jaqueline Lapping (Poconos Services for Families and Children) and Gail Bethea (Community Services for Children, Inc.) winners of the Francine Bunch award at the Pennsylvania Head Start Association’s Annual Membership Meeting. Together Jacqueline and Gail have been part of the Head Start community for more than 79 years!

More Information on Francine Bunch
More Information on Recipients

Jeff Koppel Memorial Scholarships Fund

On May 22, 2024, the Jeff Koppel Memorial Head Staff Scholarship Fund in partnership with the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, named Bara'a Kamal (Kingston, PA), Emily Jacien (West Wyoming, PA) and Sabina Hoffower (Emporium, PA) winners of the fourth and final annual Jeff Koppel Memorial Head Start Scholarships at the Pennsylvania Head Start Association’s annual membership meeting. 

More Information on Jeff Koppel
More Information on Recipients
Press Release

PA Early Ed News June 2024

June 2024 News

Information for Programs

PHSA Office Closed

July 4, 2024

September 2, 2024

November 28-29, 2024

December 24-31, 2024

January 1, 2025

Post Open Positions with PHSA

On the website is the Head Start Job Widget. When your program advertises on the PHSA Job Board, the position is an eye-catching feature on our front page! Contact brandie@paheadstart.org

Head Start Job Widget

Our Programs Are On The Map

Thank you to all of our members!

Update program contacts in this new program year. Log in to the member profile to review and make the necessary changes, PHSA Program Map.

Download the PHSA Members Guide to refresh the map!

Meet Brandie Cool

Associate Director for

PA Head Start Association

Brandie began with the PHSA in May 2024. She comes from a background with Head Start as a home visitor. Read more about Brandie on our website.

National Head Start Association

NHSA Newsletter Sign- Up

When it comes to moving Congress, there's strength in numbers.

National Head Start Association relies on your voice for advocacy and engagement in DC and across the country.

Sign up for NHSA's mailing list to receive their action alerts and updates on policy issues relevant to Head Start.

Pennsylvania Head Start Association | PO Box 6445-Harrisburg-PA 17112 | paheadstart.org

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