Senator Tester awarded for work on behalf of Head Start

Senator Tester

The National Head Start Association is proud to announce it is presenting U.S. Senator Jon Tester with the Protecting Our Most Important Students Early (PROMISE) award for his work on behalf of Head Start.

NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said, “Head Start is in every community across the nation helping vulnerable children and families succeed, which is why we have such widespread support among members of Congress of all political stripes. We are grateful for Senator Jon Tester for being a champion in Congress, and thank him for keeping his commitment to Head Start in both his words and his deeds.”

Central Montana Head Start Executive Director Carra Godbey said, “Senator Tester has been a true champion for Early Head Start and Head Start, and for the children and families that are impacted by the services provided by Head Starts.”

Godbey went on to explain she met with Tester a few years ago on Capitol Hill, as part of a group representing Montana Head Start.

“I appreciated his passion for Head Start, his knowledge of the program and how current he was on the issues impacting Head Start at the time.”

Godbey said she values Tester’s advocacy for vulnerable children and families in Montana and nationwide.

“I am very pleased Senator Tester is a recipient of the PROMISE award,” she said.

Tester earned NHSA’s PROMISE Award for his passionate and consistent advocacy in support of Head Start. He has said that his experience as a teacher has both informed and inspired his work in the Senate on behalf of Head Start’s children, families and staff.

“Head Start helps Montana’s next generation thrive,” said Tester. “We owe our kids every opportunity to grow, learn and thrive—that’s what Head Start does. Head Start ensures that all Montana children, regardless of circumstance, are prepared and have an equal opportunity to excel once they enter kindergarten.”

As a U.S. Senator, Tester has supported policies that would help Head Start, including:

• Providing more flexibility for local Head Start programs to better meet the individual needs of their students and communities;

• Ensuring that the number of children who have access to Head Start is not reduced by unfunded federal mandates;

• Serving more infants and toddlers by providing new grant opportunities to enable Early Head Start to expand; and

• Increasing the quality of infant and toddler care by supporting the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program.

Tester has also been a frequent visitor to Head Start programs throughout Montana, where he sees firsthand the difference Head Start is making in the lives of children and hears directly from teachers and staff about how he can support their work.

According to John Filz, Executive Director of Ravalli Head Start, Inc.,”As a teacher, the Senator has a tremendous understanding of Head Start and Early Head Start; the outcomes we provide children and their families and how important those outcomes are to children’s readiness for school and life. He clearly understands the importance of that success to the State of Montana and the Nation. Senator Tester is a powerful champion for the 4,934 Head Start and Early Head Start children in Montana.”

The PROMISE Awards were announced during Head Start on the Hill Day (Jan. 24), which was part of NHSA’s 2018 Winter Leadership Institute. During the Institute, nearly 450 Head Start leaders from across the nation convened in Washington, D.C., for four days to plan for the future of the comprehensive early childhood education program.

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