By: Melanee Cottrill, Executive Director, Head Start California

Happy New Year – I hope it’s off to a great start. As I look ahead to what’s in store for 2024, I cannot help but also look back at what an incredible year fiscal 2023 was. I joined Head Start California in late July, only a few weeks after the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year. It was immediately clear that we have an incredibly talented team; looking back over everything that was accomplished only makes that excellence even more apparent. Despite the friendly departure of a long-time executive director and having only a part-time interim for six months, the team kept moving full speed ahead. The team’s 2022-23 progress set Head Start California up for even bigger accomplishments to come.

I hope you’ll join us on January 11 for our Annual Membership Meeting, where you’ll learn more about the team’s accomplishments and what we have in store for the coming months. In the meantime, here are our top ten achievements for fiscal year 2022-23.

In 2022-23, we…

  1. Thoughtfully crafted HSC’s first-ever Strategic Plan, with five strategic goals based on five strategic pillars, all centered around moving Head Start and the Association forward together.
  2. Held our second annual Head (Start) to the Capitol Advocacy Day – more than twice as many folks attended! We marched on the capitol with 116 staff and parents from 40 programs, to visit 52 state legislators.
  3. Sold out our annual Leadership and Wellness Seminar, and then added an extra day!
  4. Restructured our board committees to better meet your needs as a member.
  5. Provided 11 free live music and movement webinars to 311 attendees.
  6. Strategically invested in interim leadership and an executive search firm to replace our long-time executive director.
  7. Joined forces with early childhood education advocates throughout the state to secure an increase in reimbursement rates for state childcare providers.
  8. Attended 25 cluster meetings to connect directly with you and keep our offerings relevant.
  9. Headed to Washington, D.C. in August and January with 119 Head Start staff and parents to visit congressmembers.
  10. Held four HSC conferences, with 855 attendees – 97% rated the conferences as good or excellent.

And a bonus item 11, because 10 just isn’t quite enough, we also:

  1. Posted 1,189 jobs on Jobs@HeadStart, with over 17,000 searches and 63,000 views!

All of this is summarized in our Annual Report, which can be found here.  In the coming year, let us carry forward the momentum of our past successes and channel it into even greater accomplishments. Together, we have laid a strong foundation, and with collective effort, we hope to better support you as you make a lasting impact on the families you serve.

Cheers to a bright and prosperous 2024!

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