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Mel Gravely

Advisory Committees: Are you in?

head start advisory committeeOne new and exciting part of the new Head Start Performance Standards is a section on Advisory Committees. Now remember, this is still part of the program governance section – 1301.2 Governing Body (aka your board). I quote:

“Advisory committees.

  1. (1) A governing body may establish advisory committees as it deems necessary for effective governance and improvement of the program.
  2. (2) If a governing body establishes an advisory committee to oversee key responsibilities related to program governance, it must:
    1. (i) Establish the structure, communication, and oversight in such a way that the governing body continues to maintain its legal and fiscal responsibility for the Head Start agency; and,
    2. (ii) Notify the responsible HHS official of its intent to establish such an advisory committee.”

In determining if your program would benefit from an advisory committee, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are your board meeting constantly derailed by topics your board is struggling with?
  2. Do you feel additional input is necessary or beneficial?

An advisory committee may be very helpful if you are constantly struggling to work out a certain part of your program. Say you’re having trouble with school readiness. Your goals aren’t working well, the teachers haven’t caught on to the assessment, some are flaunting the rules. An advisory committee specializing in this may be helpful.

However, you must remember, the buck stops at the board. By establishing the advisory committee, you aren’t absolving your governing body of the legal and fiscal responsibilities. To the contrary, you must be vigilant that these standards are maintained throughout your entire program, including the advisory committee/s.

Don’t forget, as noticed above, you’ll need to notify your program specialist about your intent to establish such a committee. Is the red tape going to prevent some agencies from establishing such committees? Perhaps.

Share your opinion about advisory committees in the comments and help your Head start friends!


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