Eight Steps to a Successful Head Start Summer Program Proposal

There is hope during this difficult time. Even with a slowed down economy and abrupt school and child development center closings – we still have a way of moving forward. The Office of Head Start is funding a supplemental summer program which is a practical, effective, and timely response to the reversal of children’s academic gains in the summer. This is program is an opportunity to bring some normalcy back to children and families.


Here are my eight steps to a successful Head Start supplemental summer program proposal.

Step One: Plan

DREAM BIG – Our children need us more now than ever

Dream Big: Our Children Need Us More Now Than Ever

Create a Cohesive and Optimistic Team


Include a Fiscal Officer on the Team


Read the Program Instruction. Together!


Outline the Requirements


Gather Input & Approval from the Policy Council


Gather Input & Approval from the Governing Body


Engage with Community Partners


Engage with Local Leaders and Politicians


Meet with the School Board Transition Specialist


Design Ideal Program

4/27/20 - 5/1/20

Write Your Proposal

5/4/20 - 5/8/20

  • When you meet with your local community partners, politicians and your School Board, be ready with a short (and exciting) description of your program and specific requests. It is much easier to say “Yes, we can help your parents apply for unemployment,” then to answer the question, “How can we help?”

  • When you meet with your School Board’s Transition Specialist discuss the transfer of immunization, health records, and even children’s work samples to the new teachers.

Step 2: Outline your Ideal Program.

This is the heart of the matter. I recommend a virtual retreat with document sharing. Start by reading about teamwork and make time to develop a cohesive team.

  • Remember according to Google’s research all teams need five traits, including emotional safety, and dependability to thrive.

  • Remember Microsoft’s research that adds constructive tension as a necessary attribute for the best creative product to emerge.

Step 3: Design a High-Quality Summer Program

High quality summer programs are based on evidence. Evidence and data show that the best programs are challenging and engaging, combining academic content with hands-on and experiential learning.

Example: Science and nature capture the imagination of four-year old children. A common, if not the most common question is “Why?” Why are dinosaurs extinct? Why are there waves in the ocean? Why does the wind blow? Why is science. Research supports that science learning enhances children’s school readiness with generalized skills. that supports learning science helps preschool consolidate math and language. Additionally, pairing students together to conduct experiments or find worms, teaches social skills. “Big books” with real-life illustrations help children make sense of printed words and science content.

Step 4: Invest in Your Teaching Staff

Hire highly qualified staff, pay them commensurately and reserve a half day of every week for professional development. Engage your staff in on-line training through myTeachstone or the Pyramid Consortium. Engage your staff in professional learning communities. Be sure to train your staff in infectious disease information along with cleaning, sanitation and disinfection procedures. Include training for all staff on talking to children calmly about frightening situations. A professional development curriculum for teachers mirrors a high-quality curriculum for children: engaging, challenging with a combination of academic content and hands-on, experiential learning.

Step 5: Provide for Support Staff

Family workers are essential to this program. Families, more than ever, need social services. An important aspect of this program is connecting families to those resources you have established with community partners and local leaders and politicians. Your family workers will need to be connected to their families and well-grounded in the resources of your community network. Do not forget to incorporate services for domestic violence including prevention, education, and support. Create a streamlined on-line application that families can fill out, or family workers can complete with a family member on the telephone.

Step 6: Include Social and Emotional Well-Being

A full-time mental health consultant will be able to model appropriate behavior for teachers working in the classroom and can also provide wellness resources for parents. Again, this is where initial meetings with community partners is important. Provide mental health services to your staff as well. Provide wellness opportunities, too - bring in a Zumba class instructor after work, or a yoga class after professional development workshops. It is most important that you enable your staff to be fully invested in the program. Relieve them from the planning duties for the upcoming school year.

Step 7: Enroll the Children

Identifying and locating rising kindergarten children requires an updated ERSEA technology system to identify children by age and provide relevant contact information. Invest, before summer begins, in on-line support, technological updates, and a quality assurance coordinator to monitor data entry.

Have your family workers text, email, and telephone the families until enrollment is full, enrolling four and five-year old children along with children with special needs (IEPs) and ensuring other vulnerable populations (homeless children, foster children, and dual-language learners) are also served.

Programs are more successful with children’s consistent attendance. Invest in an attendance social worker – one who knows and understands the difficulties of attendance for low-income families – especially during the summer months and particularly in the age of coronavirus.

Step 8: Construct a Budget

Determine your budget costs. A sample budget below outlines some of the major expenses. The underlying program design is a high-quality, resource-rich, STEM based curriculum, which is evident in the budget.

Constructing a Budget
Teacher Salaries 15 Teachers @ $21.00 per hour @ 35 hours for 12 Weeks $132,300
Teacher Assistants 15 Teacher Assistants @ $19.50 per hour @ 35 hours for 12 Weeks $122,850
Family Workers 6 Family Workers @ $21.00 per hour @ 30 hours for 12 Weeks $45,360
Licensed Mental Health Consultant 1 LMHC @ $65.00 per hour @ 40 hours for 12 Weeks $31,200
Program Manager Cost Allocated @ 20% $5,280
Quality Assurance Coordinator 1 QA @ $21.00 per hour @ 25 hours for 12 Weeks $6,300
Fiscal Officer Cost Allocated @ 20% $2,760
Benefits 20% of total salaries $69,210
Total Salaries $415,260
Rent & Utilities $12,000
Maintenance $6,000
Classroom Supplies (Science Materials 15 classrooms @ 2000.00 each 30,000
Science Books 15 classrooms @$100.00 each $1,500
Staff Computer Tablets 6 @ $1000.00 $6,000
Children's Computer Tablets $1000.00 for 3 per classroom @ 15 classrooms $45,000
Training Costs myTeachstone $3,000; Pyramid Consortium $2500; Workshops $6,000 $11,500
Total Program Costs $527,260

Following these eight steps will get you to a competitive supplemental summer program within the allotted time frame. Contact us at http://www.sunshinenonprofitsolutions.com for further resources, or to discuss your plans. Good luck!

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