Head Start California’s first ever Virtual Managers & Directors Institute held this past month was a huge success, thanks to you, our Head Start Leaders. Nearly 500 Head Start Managers and Directors made the pivot to virtual with HSC! It was an exciting two days of workshops, Q&A time with speakers, a live stream session and several interactive opportunities. We are so thankful and happy that you joined us!

We are especially grateful to the more than one dozen speakers who provided content on short notice as we hurried to assemble workshops centered on COVID-19, emotional well-being, connecting with families during the pandemic, managing Head Start programs during the COVID crisis and planning for re-openings. Speakers stepped up to quickly create COVID-19 content and record these sessions virtually for you!

HSC pivoted, our speakers pivoted, and you did too! The goal was to deliver practical content that matters now, in an easy to use platform, with flexibility to view at your own pace. We hope we hit the mark! Here is some of the feedback we received from participants:

“Well you know how to plan a conference because every single workshop was essential for the work we do in our roles.”

“This was an efficient way to get great timely information with low cost and no travel! I would do it this way even if we were not under SIP order. Hope you do more of these!”

“It was fabulous to have it corralled within a time frame and with freedom to choose. It was easy to see what was available. It was easy to find handouts. It was relevant both to current times as well as the long haul.”

Here are a few highlights from MDI 2020:

Cynthia Yao, Program Manager for Region IX Office of Head Start, along with Maureen Burns Vermette, Jeffrey Arciero and Noelle Granato presented updates from the Office of Head Start and answered questions from the field. Cynthia also shared successes from local programs on strategies for connecting with families during the stay-at-home orders.


The first day wrapped up MDI Afterparty, which was hosted by Lakeshore Learning and featured Coy Bowles from Zac Brown Band. Coy led the attendees in a toast to the Head Start managers, directors and educators in California for all of the wonderful work you do.

Coy shared his inspiring story and passion for music and writing. He also discussed his road to three Grammy’s, performed music from his new album, Music for Tiny Humans, and introduced his new project, Behind the little Red Door.

It was so much fun to see the many smiling faces from our Head Start community and raise a glass to you in honor of your continued dedication to California’s most vulnerable children.

Close to 100 attendees participated in the Facebook MDI Event page with four photo challenges, bingo cards and stretch breaks. Congrats to the four winners who received the most votes in four photo categories.

While nothing can beat face-to-face interaction, we appreciate everyone who interacted with us virtually. If you registered for MDI, the entire library of conference sessions is available to you for viewing until June 26. If you did not have the chance to register, you can still purchase access to the sessions here. This was our first virtual conference, but it won’t be our last. We hope you’ll join us again!



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