January-February-March 2017

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Early Childhood Education Update: Head Start/Early Head Start Transfers to DPI

By Tara Fuhrer-Bitz, Office of Early Learning Acting Director

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) announce the transfer of the North Dakota Head Start State Collaboration Office from the North Dakota Department of Human Services to NDDPI. The change will help strengthen and clarify how early childhood education services are provided in North Dakota. State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and Maggie Anderson, the interim executive director of the human services agency, began discussions about moving the office to NDDPI shortly after the incumbent administrator resigned in September.

Superintendent Baesler said the change will strengthen NDDPI’s emphasis on early childhood education, and assist cooperative efforts among various early childhood education agencies and programs.

“Our goal is to help low-income families prepare their children to begin school, and to increase their children’s chances for success once they start,” Baesler said. “This change will help to comprehensively support the healthy development of our North Dakota young people in the first years of their lives. At NDDPI, we already strive to address many of the same things that Head Start and other early learning programs promote within our state.”

The Head Start State Collaboration Office will be housed in NDDPI’s Office of Early Learning. The position is currently in the process of being filled. For further information regarding the department’s early childhood education programming, please visit the Early Childhood website or contact Tara Fuhrer-Bitz, Office of Early Learning Acting Director.