National Donut Day
To move on from the image of me sitting in the office all day eating donuts, let’s discuss the “real work” I have been doing. It has been a long week and I am struggling to remember what I have been doing…or maybe that is the sugar in my brain clouding my memory.
What I have learned this week is that grant reporting requires a lot of counting, and when files are not on the computer, that also means a lot of filing. One of the reports we fill out for our funders asks questions about the participants regarding their housing situation, types of assistance they rely on for income, and whether or not they have health insurance. Unfortunately, the computer program we use to track participant progress through the parenting course does not have a place to input these things, so I went back through the files and tallied up the data. It really made me realize the importance of computer programs for not only tracking goal-related data, but also to have room for users to input additional descriptive fields for participants when generating reports. All this data tracking has made me feel dependent upon a program’s ability to compile and export data effectively.
Also, self-assessment interviews are well under way. I conducted four interviews this week and it has been fascinating (but also relieving for assessment purposes) to hear how consistent the answers are between staff members. I am amazed by how well the teachers know the policies. With all that they have to pay attention to in the classroom it seems crazy that they have room to remember how many feet above the floor a first aid kit must be stored, or the protocol for handling a child who arrives to school with an illness, because it is different depending on the illness. I keep hearing how the annual pre-service is boring and redundant, but the teachers are quick to answer questions and they know their stuff, so pre-service must be serving its purpose. What I am learning is that self-assessments, when enough people are included, make it evident where training is succeeding or needs to be improved, because the teachers are so incredibly consistent.
In other news, we have the refunding grant guidelines! This is exciting because Head Start is switching to a five year funding cycle so there may be differences in what the government wants to see in planning for a longer grant cycle. I will begin work on the application this coming week, and I am curious to see how much the program planning has changed since the last application was submitted.
Until then, Happy Donut Day!