Policy Council Minutes March 2021Submitted on: April 14, 2021
March 15, 2021
Members Present: Dorett Gunter, Corine Schrieber, Brittany Lyles, Donnittia Robinson, Kanisha Davis, Lisa Butler, Sylvia Vandross, LaShun Martin, LaKeisha Johnson, Donna Mansell, Jana Bridges, Chaquanna Smith, Yaniqua Eyabi, Joycelyn Carter
Members Absent: Tiffany Norris, Malcolm Wiley, Rovanda Dunlap, Lily Farciert, Sharterria Rucker, Millicent Glenn, Bethany Stokes, Leslie Witschi, Lashell Davis, Bretani Robinson
Excused Absence: Sandra Harrison
The meeting was called to order by Dorett Gunter, Chair. A quorum was met.
The Policy Council received an update from Tara Cannon, Director of Human Resources, concerning the Interim Director of Children and Family Development position. Ms. Cannon informed the Council that at last month’s meeting, John Dendy, former Head Start employee, was presented and approved by the Policy Council to serve as the Interim Director of Children and Family Development. Ms. Cannon explained that after the meeting, John Dendy, rescinded the offer. Ms. Cannon further explained that Shannon Vaughn, Early Childhood Services Facilitator, was appointed to serve as Interim Director of Children and Family Development. She informed the Policy Council that we are actively recruiting until a permanent Director of Children and Family Development is identified. Shannon Vaughn was provided an opportunity to address the Policy Council. She stated that she had worked in the role of Early Childhood Services Facilitator for 19 years and had served in other capacities in previous years. She will continue to do her best for our children and families. LaKeisha Johnson, Policy Council, asked how long will Ms. Vaughn serve in this capacity. Ms. Cannon informed the Policy Council that Ms. Vaughn will serve until a permanent Head Start Director is identified through the interview process. After discussion, Brittany Lyle made a motion to approve Shannon Vaughn as Interim Director of Children and Family Development. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
- The minutes from the last meeting were reviewed by the Policy Council (See Attachment). Donna Mansell made a motion to accept the minutes as presented. Jana Bridges seconded the motion. Motion carried.
The Personnel Report was given by Melissa Botsoe, Information Coordinator II. All Perspective New Employees have been interviewed and being recommended for employment with our program. All applicants are subject to Background Investigation as mandated by the S.C. Department of Social Services. This includes State and Federal Background Investigation and the Child Registry Search to determine if any abuse or neglect has been made against a child and Pre-employment Drug Screenings. Also, we will conduct reference checks on all perspective new employees. Appointments are conditional based upon the receipt of satisfactory references, state, and federal background investigation and approval from the Head Start Policy Council. Each full-time employee must serve a three-month introductory probationary period before obtaining regular appointment status. Substitutes are on an as needed basis. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the perspective employees as presented. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Early Head Start
Tommie C. Brooks
High School Diploma. She has some experience with young children volunteering at a military child development center while she was enlisted in the military. She is currently pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Greenville Technical College.
Grant Narrative Overview
Ms. Shannon Vaughn, Interim Director of Children and Family Development, presented information to the Policy Council on the importance of the 2021-2022 Refunding Grant Application. Ms. Vaughn explained the requirements of the grant. She explained that the Community Needs Assessment for our agency tells us the demographics of our service areas and the needs of our community which leads into the services and program options for our program. The community needs assessment is fully implemented is every five years.
APPROVAL OF COMMUNITY WIDE STRATEGIC NEEDS ASSESSMENT:
The Policy Council received a copy of the 2021 Community Wide Needs Assessment (See Attachment). Cynthia Sosebee, Community Partnership Facilitator, informed the Policy Council that the community assessment provides our Head Start program with a mechanism for ensuring that we are responsive to the needs of the children and families we serve. The community assessment provides a starting point for understanding our community strengths and identify gaps in services. It helps us to mobilize necessary resources for the families that we serve. When used in conjunction with other program data, it informs program planning. The community assessment was conducted by reviewing data from the federal, state, and local statistical sources, needs assessments conducted by other community agencies, and data collected from our parents, families and Head Start and Early Head Start staff. Ms. Sosebee informed the Policy Council that key findings from the community assessment were affordable and quality childcare for ages birth to 3, poor birth outcomes, healthy child weight and jobs with sustainable wages. We will continue to identify resources and services to address these identified needs. After discussion, Donna Mansell made a motion to accept the Community Wide Strategic Needs Assessment as presented. Jana Bridges seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF SURVEY PLAN RECOMMENDATIONS:
The Policy Council revisited the Survey Plan for program year 2021--2022 (See Attachment). Shaylunn Tolbert, Social Services Facilitator, discussed the process of Selection Criteria and the proposed Target Areas and Center Locations. Ms. Tolbert informed the Policy Council that our program options would not be changing. We will continue with the center-based option. We will continue with providing a virtual classroom instruction due to COVID 19. We currently have 20 Head Start / Early Head centers throughout our four county service areas. We no longer have the Pendleton center due to the school district needing the space. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the Survey Plan (target areas, center locations and program options) as presented. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF SELECTION CRITERIA:
Selection Criteria is the point system that we use to score children coming into the program. There is an application that is completed by parents and the selection criteria is used to score the most needed families. Due to COVID 19, we have updated the point system to include families having no technology accessibility (no tablet or computer), no internet access, children with childhood obesity and families having food insecurity. Ms. Tolbert explained that our funded enrollment is 1337. Because of COVID, we have reduced the number of children in the classrooms to comply with social distancing regulations. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the Selection Criteria as presented. LaShun Martin seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF TRAINING PLAN
Ms. Shannon Vaughn explained to the Policy Council that we are required to update a training plan annually that reflects mandated trainings from the Office of Head Start (OHS) (See attachment). Additional trainings are included from SC DSS Licensing and anywhere where we see training is a need, inclusive of Child and Family Outcomes. Additional trainings have been added to the training plan due to COVID 19 and health and safety concerns for staff and families. We are hoping to be up and running next year. We are considering keeping virtual options as we cannot predict when COVID-19 will cease. Having virtual classes will also be beneficial to our program when there is inclement weather and students cannot report to class. We will be able to still count child attendance through an at home virtual E-learning day. Brittany Lyle, Policy Council member, asked Ms. Vaughn when do we expect for face to face classroom instruction to be restored. Ms. Vaughn explained that we are still receiving positive COVID results from staff. We are trying our best to promote the health and safety of all staff and children. We will re-open classrooms when we feel COVID is no longer a health risk. We will continue to monitor and track COVID cases within our program. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the training plan as presented. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF SCHOOL READINESS GOALS:
The School Readiness Goals for the 2021-2022 school year was presented to the Policy Council by Shannon Vaughn, Head Start Director. Ms. Vaughn explained that School Readiness goals are specific to the learning domains and outcomes for children. Each year we monitor our goals to see what is working and what needs to be updated. We have added PFCE goals which aligns with the learning goals for children. We have identified that there is a need to increase our communication with parents and families due to COVID-19 challenges. We are providing more training for our teaching and family advocate staff. Particularly, we are focusing more on the social and emotional goals for children due to the stressors of COVID-19 and its’ impact. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the School Readiness Goals. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF PROGRAM GOALS:
Our Program Goals are statements of long range intended outcomes for our program (See attachment). Our program goals are established by staff reviewing program data and determining challenges that have had an impact on the program. In determining program goals, we have taken into consideration the impact that COVID 19 has had on children and families. Goals and objectives are written based on program goals. Our program staff meets regularly to review and update goals and objectives to determine if progress is being made in reaching established goals. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve Program Goals as presented. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL CHART:
The Organizational Chart was presented to the Policy Council by Shannon Vaughn, Head Start Director. Ms. Vaughn explained that the organizational chart outlines positions and the hierarchy within our agency. The organization chart begins with the SHARE Board of Directors, Policy Council, President/CEO and other positions within our agency (See attachment). In the area of Early Childhood Services, we have added a Mental Health Specialist position. This position supports all of the children that we are currently seeing with challenging and behavioral issues. In the area of Family Services, we have added Lead Family Advocate positions to support and assist with all of the data and PFCE expectations that are outlined in the performance standards. In the area of Program Design, we have created a Facilities Project Coordinator position. This new position will offer more support and will assist with the needs of facilities. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the Organizational Chart as presented. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF BUDGET NARRATIVE AND FUNDING APPLICATION:
The Budget Justification was provided by Doris Pitchford, Director of Business and Finance. We are in the process of completing our grant application for 2021-2022 which is due by April 1st. The budget amount did change. The 2021-2022 budget amount is $15,625,057. Ms. Pitchford explained budget categories. She informed that Policy Council that Personnel includes salaries, fringe and indirect costs (See attachment). There is a difference from last year’s budget and this year’s budget in the amount of $99,333. This difference is due to receiving less quality funds this budget year. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to accept and approve the budget as presented. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT (COLA)
Doris Pitchford explained to the Policy Council that we have received a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in the amount of 1.22%. All staff will receive this increase. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the COLA increase. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF IN-KIND WAIVER REQUEST:
The request to submit an In-Kind Waiver was presented to the Policy Council by Doris Pitchford, Director of Business and Finance. Ms. Pitchford explained that we are requesting to submit an in-kind waiver due to parents and community members not being able to volunteer in the classrooms. We are expected to match our budget in the amount of 20% in in-kind contributions. After discussion, Jana Bridges made a motion to approve the In-kind Waiver Request. Donna Mansell seconded the motion. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF PERSONNEL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:
The Personnel Policies & Procedures was presented to the Policy Council by Tara Cannon, Director of Human Resources and Pamela Sims, President/CEO. Ms. Sims informed the Policy Council that program must establish written personnel policies and procedures that are approved by the governing body and policy Council. Personnel policies and procedures are available to all staff. Our personnel policies and procedures have been reviewed by an attorney. All policies must be adhered to by all staff. Some of the policies are specific to the Head Start and Early Head Start program. (See attachment). Ms. Sims explained policies throughout the document and allowed feedback from the Policy Council. She pointed out that our program is currently short of staff and there is an on-going need to hire staff, especially staff that are hired to work as Substitutes. We are asking Policy Council to consider hire for substitutes in the beginning of each year due to hiring individuals to work in this position is much needed and is on-going throughout the year. Ms. Sims referenced policies and procedures as it relates to the hiring of substitutes. She explained that a one-time approval of substitutes will make it much more feasible and will save time throughout the year. After discussion, Donna Mansell made a motion to approve the Personnel Policies and Procedures inclusive of the advance hiring of substitutes as presented. Brittany Lyle seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Due to the length of the meeting some of the Policy Council members had to leave the zoom call. We continued the meeting with the remaining members. It was decided by our Policy Council chair to continue with the Director’s report and Budget Review. We will follow-up with an e-mail to Policy Council on their approval of these two items due to a quorum not being met. Patrice Hawthorne, Family Partnership Facilitator, agreed that she would seek approval for the Director’s report and Budget review following the meeting.
The Director’s Report was given by Shannon Vaughn, Interim Director of Children and Family Development. The February monthly report was emailed to the Policy Council which provides information from each service area in Head Start and Early Head Start. Ms. Vaughn asked the Policy Council if they had any questions regarding information from the monthly report (See Attachment). Ms. Vaughn informed the Policy Council that we have provided baseline data in the area of Education. Data is showing that children are learning and increasing knowledge. She explained that PFCE data is included in the report. Data from this area shows how parents and families are making progress on established goals. We will provide a more detailed report at next month’s meeting. Ms. Vaughn explained that we are providing meals to families that have requested meal delivery. We will continue making sure that families’ needs are being met. We will be seeking approval closer to the end of the program year from the Policy Council to submit a Disabilities waiver request. We are not quite at the 10% of children having disabilities due to low enrollment and the impact of COVID 19. Ms. Vaughn informed the Council that the Mental Health Specialist position was filled by Tobita Posley-McKinney. Ms. Posley-McKinney background is in disabilities services. Ms. Vaughn shared that we are continuing to increase our enrollment numbers. Enrollment is still low due to COVID-19. We will begin offering mini trainings, as the Board receives, at the beginning of each Policy Council meeting. This will ensure that members of the Policy Council are receiving on-going training so that they can better provide input into various aspects of our program. We will continue to keep the Policy Council informed as we receive pertinent information throughout the year. After discussion, the Policy Council approved the Director’s report by stating their approval via email.
The Budget Review was provided by Doris Pitchford, Director of Business & Finance. The Policy Council received copies of the financial reports, CACFP and credit card expenditure reports. Ms. Pitchford reviewed reports with the Policy Council and explained that year to date, we have spent 56.64% from our Head Start budget and 57.24% from our EHS budget. Budget percentages are in line with where we want to be this time of year. We have spent 53% of the COVID budget which is also in line with this time of year. After discussion, the Policy Council approved the Budget as presented.
No further business, meeting adjourned.
Recorded by………………………………………………. Brittany Lyle, Secretary
Dorett Gunter, Chair