The Office of Head Start National Centers have produced this series of papers to support programs in developing and implementing planning systems.
The Head Start planning system is an essential part of program operations. Thoughtful planning is critical as programs shift from an indefinite grant period to a five year project period. Federal Oversight of Five Year Head Start Grants (ACF-IM-HS-14-02) and the five year grant application require programs to describe:
- Long-term goals they will accomplish during the five-year period
- Short-term objectives
- Expected outcomes that are aligned with the goals and objectives
- Tools and methods for tracking progress
Grantees also must report on their progress in their yearly continuation applications.
Using the Planning Papers
Head Start leaders can use the planning papers to:
- Ensure a shared understanding of program planning
- Review and discuss training plans with management teams, T/TA providers, and governing body, Tribal Council, and Policy Council members
- Set goals, write objectives and outcomes, and develop action plans
- Evaluate current goals, objectives, and action plans
Accessing the Papers
Get started by reading the Introduction and downloading the papers. The strategies and templates in the papers can help program develop plans for tracking progress.
- Introduction: Program Planning in Head Start offers an overview of the series and includes a useful glossary of terms.
- Topic 1: Understanding Goals, Objectives, Outcomes, Progress, and Action Plans defines key terms within a Head Start context and provides tips for developing each.
- Topic 2: Plans in Head Start is a primer on the types of plans that Head Start and Early Head Start programs most commonly create and implement.
- Topic 3: Program Goals and School Readiness Goals—Understanding the Relationship addresses the importance of keeping goals alive. It includes frequently asked questions about the relationship between program goals and school readiness goals.
- Topic 4: Goals, Objectives, Outcomes, Progress, and Action Plans—Program Examples provides two examples of what a program’s goals, objectives, expected outcomes, and action plans may look like.
- Topic 5: Program Planning and Parent, Family, and Community Engagement clarifies the process for setting goals and objectives related to family outcomes.
You also can download the entire Foundations for Excellence: Planning in Head Start booklet.
To learn more, contact the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations at PMFOinfo@edc.org or (toll-free) 1-855-763-6647.