Great news to close out 2017-18: the Office of Head Start informed us that we will not need to recompete! Those of you who were around for our last recompetition know what a blessing this is. Barring any unforeseen problems, at the end of this grant cycle next June, we can continue into the next one without competition.

This achievement is a validation of the past four years of hard work. Not only did we ace the reviews that determined our status, but the actions we took to prepare—such as all the facilities improvements and the concerted efforts to strengthen classroom interactions—will continue to benefit children, families, and teachers into the next grant cycle and beyond.

Now, we’re in the midst of planning for the next five-year grant, beginning with a strategic planning kick-off in March that was well attended by delegate agency directors and Policy Council executive members. I am thrilled that we are able to bring so many important voices into our strategic planning process. But we need more. Please help us ensure that all stakeholders are engaged and contributing. That’s how we can plan to meet all the diverse needs of our community.

Please also remember that while the OHS letter represents a tremendous accomplishment (and allows us to breathe a brief sigh of relief), we cannot let our guard down even for a moment. All of the recompetition triggers still apply. If we neglect care and supervision, fiscal oversight, enrollment, or any other aspect of our program, we may still be forced to recompete. Our babies deserve our best every day. Please continue to provide excellent services and oversight so that we can focus all our effort and energy on serving them and planning for their future, instead of recompeting for our grant.