Navajo Head Start to Stay in Window Rock

Navajo Head Start2

Published October 25, 2016

WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Land Department approves a plot of land for Navajo Head Start to build a central administrative building.  Mike Halona, Navajo Land Department Manager, writes to Sharon Henderson Singer, Assistant Superintendent of Navajo Head Start, “Enclosed for your information and use is an approved land withdrawal for Navajo Head Start.”

Navajo Head Start Administrative Center land withdraw is approximately 1.5 acres located within the Navajo Government Administrative Reserve.  The land withdrawal is within walking distance between the Department of Diné Education and the Administrative Building One in Window Rock, Arizona.

“The approval includes Navajo Head Start to construct, operate and maintain a government building at the location,” Halona said in his Letter of September 27, to Navajo Head Start.

Sharon said, “Navajo Head Start continues to make it a priority to provide high quality early childhood programs and services for our nation’s youngest children.”

Navajo Head Start operates 119 classrooms with 1,340 students throughout the Navajo Nation. According to a Navajo Head Start report, 20 chapters have approved Intra-Governmental Partnership Agreements (IPA) with NHS.  Other chapters are processing IPA.  According to the same report, NHS receive 14 new 2016 school buses.  Inspection on these new buses have been completed and NHS has accepted them. Overall, NHS operates 112 buses.

In accordance with the National Head Start Act, NHS conducts tribal, county, state and federal criminal record checks, qualification assessments, past employer reference checks and physical exams, including negative TB tests.

“The Health, Education and Human Services Committed, on August 1, passed a resolution to allow NHS to conduct its own background checks,” said Sharon, Assistant Superintendent. “As a result, NHS’s background checks are completed more efficiently and effectively during the recruitment and selection process.

Professional Development is a major priority and emphasis for NHS.  “All Head Start Teachers must have a minimum of an A.A. Degree in early childhood education,” said Sharon. “NHS is working on a case-by-case basis to assure success toward achieving greater numbers in the Head Start Act’s highly qualified workforce requirements.”

According to NHS’s report, the Head Start Act requires at least 50% of NHS teachers must have a bachelor’s degree.  “We have exceeded the 50% requirement,” said Sharon.  “48 teachers have a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, elementary education, education, or closely related field.  62 NHS employees are currently attending college or university.”

Navajo Head Start is moving forward to construct an administrative building on its new land.

The Navajo Nation Design and Engineering Services will provide site planning and design, including civil engineering and design services to determine suitability of the NHS project site.

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