Acelero Learning’s Public Comments on the New Head Start Performance Standards

Shine Early Learning is pleased to present Acelero Learning’s public remarks on the latest Head Start Performance Standards. We did not address all standards, but chose to focus on key proposed changes that we support and, in contrast, changes that we believe will not drive outcomes based on our expertise and experience. You can view the full, public document here

  • Training and Professional Development: We strongly support §1302.92(4), which requires that programs implement “a coordinated coaching strategy,” aligned with relevant aspects of their ECE approach. At Acelero Learning, we know that high-dosage, structured coaching is one element of our educational approach that has led directly to higher child outcome gains.
  • Curriculum: We also support §1302.32(a)(1)(iii), which emphasizes the need programs to implement a content-rich curriculum with an organized development scope and sequence. Based on external research and evidence in our own programs, we know that a curriculum that is scientifically valid and has an organized scope and sequence has a direct impact on closing the Achievement Gap.
    • With that in mind, we also have requested that OHS specify that the requirements with regard to scope and sequence do not apply to Early Head Start, where the expectations of sequential development are not always appropriate.
  • Teaching and the Learning Environment: §1302.31(b)(1)(iii) requires that program ensure that teaching practices integrate child assessment data into individual and group planning. We support this requirement. At Acelero Learning, teachers regularly analyze formative assessment data to make informed decisions about individual and small-group instruction. We have found great benefit in implementing the direct and embedded assessments in our Ready to Shine Head Start curriculum, as well as the Assessment Work Groups and Curriculum Collaboration Meetings to help promote this practice.
  • Family Partnership Services: Acelero Learning firmly supports OHS’s clear focus on fostering parent efficacy and skills to promote children’s learning and development, outlined in §1302.52 – particularly the emphasis placed on parenting curricula that integrate modeling and practice.
    • We also support the changes with respect to individualized family partnership services, which states that individualized family partnership services should take into consideration the urgency and intensity of identified family needs and goals.
    • We would request that OHS remove the “laundry list” of required family assessment areas in §1302.52(b) – reducing the likelihood of programs focusing on creating yet another “checklist” and allows programs to determine how best ot assess their families’ status in each of the PFCE Framework domains.
  • Center-Based Option: “Full Day” Head Start: Acelero Learning supports the emphasis the Office of Head Start has placed on full-day, full-year services, as outlined in §1302.21. The proposed Standards explicitly acknowledge that dosage matters and gives programs permission to reevaluate program options, even if it results in lower funded enrollment – while still allowing waivers for programs that experience high demand for half-day programming or alternative program options.

Click here to read more about items we have requested that OHS remove or clarify (including excessive paperwork on previously purchased facilities, and requirement on one-hour outreach on attendance), and a list of our proposed additional changes related to program administration, ERSEA, state-level coordination on education and child development, health administration and coordination CCDBG administration at the state level.

Did your program respond to the NPRM? What were your highlights? Email us with comments, questions or thoughts at!