Designation Renewal System Changes in 2020

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The Designation Renewal System has been around for almost 10 years and has brought about many positive changes for the Head Start programs, the grantees, and our kids, families, and teachers. The DRS has put a focus on continuous improvement. The DRS final rule has had a few changes made to it in 2020 that we wanted to give you a quick overview of. If you are running a Head Start program and are looking to apply for a DRS grant, our team at Sunshine Nonprofit Solutions can help! Learn more and get in touch with our team today.

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Deficiency Condition

The final rule of the DRS is changing deficiency conditions. The original condition allowed for one deficiency during the five-year grant period, requiring competition if a deficiency came out during any of their monitoring reviews. The idea that one strike could put people into competition, may have put too much focus on one incident rather than allowing people to focus on how they could prevent problems. By changing this condition, it allows for more creativity and innovation in Head Start programs. The new condition allows for two or more deficiencies in the five-year period. Grantees will only have to compete when there is a pattern of compliance issues.

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CLASS Condition

CLASS, or Classroom Assessment Scoring System, assesses teacher-child interactions in three domains — the domain of emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support. These three domains have an importance on the quality of the classroom and influence a child’s learning and development. The CLASS scoring system is being modified in the final rule. The original CLASS condition was that any grantee that scored in the lowest 10% in any of the three domains would be designated for competition. The original CLASS condition also had absolute thresholds set up. If a grantee was below these thresholds, they would also have to compete. In this final rule, the CLASS have been changed to help focus on continuous improvement and help make it easier to identify low-performing grantees. The final rule CLASS conditions now has two parts — new quality thresholds and a new competitive threshold.

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Fiscal and Audit Condition

The last change of the final rule is the fiscal and audit condition. The original condition put a grantee into competition if they had an audit that found they were at risk of failing to be a going concern or failing to continue as a going concern. While this condition is mostly staying the same, a new fiscal condition is added that will pay attention to material weakness or a questioned cost. When two or more findings are present, competition is required.

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Purpose of Changes

The purpose of these Designation Renewal System changes is to help ensure that Head Start programs are being improved and grantees are always looking for ways to improve. These changes can help ensure our Head Start programs are better for children, families, and teachers.

If you are running a Head Start program and want to apply for a Designation Renewal System grant, our team can help. This is a difficult process and our experts can ensure you are doing it correctly. Contact Sunshine Nonprofit Solutions today!

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