UPDATE: Head Start Centers to Remain Closed Through April 17th

In response to ongoing health concerns related to COVID-19, and in accordance with Governor Tate Reeves’ executive orders, Hinds County Human Resource Agency Project Head Start centers will remain closed through April 17, 2020.

As we go through this very unusual and challenging time, HCHRA is encouraging our Head Start families to spend time together reading and learning.  To support those efforts, we are happy to provide our families with access to myON and The Healthy at Home Toolkit.

myON is an online collection of thousands of fiction and nonfiction digital books that you can access from home or anywhere you have Internet access!  You can also download books for offline reading.  About 10% of the titles are available in Spanish, and the book reader allows children to choose different reading support tools like audio narration (where the content of the book is said aloud as the child reads along), text highlighting (to show what word is being read), and there’s also a dictionary for every book. myON also gives you the ability to practice the Star Early Literacy Assessment – the reading test for students to take on a computer.  Below is all of the information you need to get started.

Website Address
School Name:  Hinds County Human Resource Agency
Username: headstart
Password:  read

The Healthy at Home Toolkit provides our families with free learning activities that are easy to implement and can meet the different learning needs of our Head Start children. This toolkit was created by Teaching Strategies, ReadyRosie and The Creative Curriculum – they are the very same tools our teachers use in the Head Start classroom everyday.

Click here to access the Healthy at Home Toolkit. If you have trouble accessing the link, go to healthyathome.readyrosie.com.

Although we can’t physically come together at this time, these tools will provide endless hours of great learning activities. So, let’s get started today!

We will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 while we seek guidance from our local and state officials to determine school plans moving forward.  We will be sure to keep you informed of any new developments.  We miss our students and families and can’t wait to see your smiling faces again.  Until that time, let’s all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any concerns that needs immediate attention, please dial 601-923-1822 and leave a message stating the nature of your call.  Be sure to include your contact information.  Calls are being monitored and a staff person will respond within 24 hours (excluding weekends). You can also reach us by email at HelpDesk@hchra.org.

Spring Break Extended Through March 27, 2020 for HCHRA Head Start Program

Due to the escalating health concerns related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Hinds County Human Resource Agency Project Head Start has decided to extend Spring Break through March 27th.  All Head Start centers will remain closed and all parent meetings have been cancelled during this time.

We regret the inconvenience the school closure may cause, but in an effort to protect the health and safety of our Head Start children and families and the staff, we must comply with the recommendations of our federal, state, and local leaders to close schools.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of any new developments.

To learn more about COVID-19 and what precautions you should take to protect you and your family, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov. The Mississippi State Health Department also has a hotline set up to take questions from the public.  It is currently available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The number is 1-877-978-6453. 

Head Start Centers Closed Until March 18, 2020

Due to growing health concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, Hinds County Human Resource Agency Project Head Start will extend Spring Break until Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  Children will not attend school on Monday or Tuesday.  All teachers and central office staff will report to work as normal on Monday, March 16 to prepare for the return of our Head Start students on Wednesday, March 18.

We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation while we seek guidance from our local and state officials to determine school plans moving forward.  We will be sure to keep you informed of any new developments.

A Message from Our CEO about the Coronavirus

What You Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Over the past few weeks, a lot of news about coronavirus has been reported as the infectious disease continues to spread worldwide.  It was reported that north Mississippi residents who came in contact with Tennessee residents infected with the disease had to been quarantined as a precautionary measure to prevent further infection.  And most recently, three new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Forrest County.

As the disease gets closer and closer to our community, everyone is concerned.  I want you to know that the health and safety of our employees and the children and families we serve is our first priority.  Here are a few of the most important things you need to know about the coronavirus.


  • The virus spreads easily between people through close contact (within 6 feet), or being in proximity of a carrier when they cough or sneeze. It is most contagious when the carrier is showing the symptoms, which can appear within 2-14 days of exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • It is suspected it may also be contracted through touching contaminated surfaces as some have been infected with the virus just by being in the area where it is present.


  • There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The recommended way to avoid contagion is to avoid close contact with those who are sick. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces regularly. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol content before you eat and after you use the bathroom, blow your nose, cough or sneeze.


  • If you are sick, you must stay home from work, school or any other social activities that would expose others, and call a doctor immediately. If you need to go to the hospital, please call the facility and report symptoms, recent travel and possible exposure BEFORE going there. Let them know if you have visited an area or come in contact with someone who has the coronavirus. They will determine with the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you need to be tested for the disease. If you HAVE to travel in public it is recommended that you wear a facemask to keep from infecting others and avoid public transportation like trains, buses and taxis. When you sneeze or cough use a tissue and throw the tissue away.


  • If you become sick, it is important you stay away from others at home. Stay in an isolated room and even bathroom if possible. Keep frequently touched objects and surfaces cleaned and sanitized. It is recommended that you avoid contact with pets as well during your illness. Do not share everyday items like dishes, silverware, drinking glasses, towels, or bedding with others in the house, and those items should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • If your symptoms worsen (e.g., it becomes harder to breathe), contact a healthcare provider immediately and inform them you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19.


  • For every HCHRA employee and family member covered under our health insurance plan, UnitedHealthcare will waive copays, coinsurance and deductibles for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines for all covered members.
  • Call your primary care provider right away if you believe you might have been exposed to COVID-19. Your provider will have special procedures for you to follow.  UnitedHealthcare members can find a network provider by visiting myuhc.com.

At the center of HCHRA’s purpose is our desire to help families and strengthen communities.  We are committed to taking care of our team and those we serve.  In the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to provide guidance and additional information to help keep you and your families safe.  To learn more about COVID-19 and for the most up-to-date developments, you can visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov at any time.

Safe regards,

Kenn Cockrell
President and CEO

HCHRA Head Start Posts Exceptional Gains in Literacy for 2017-2018

As three- and four-year-old students begin to return to Head Start classrooms for the new school year, HCHRA teachers are beaming with pride from last year’s results. According to newly released HCHRA data from the 2017-18 Head Start school year, HCHRA students showed a 19% gain in Star Literacy test scores.

Star Literacy scores represent how well a student understands concepts and possesses specific skills that are important in the development of reading. These scores represent a snapshot of where the student currently stands as it relates to literacy.

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, data showed that HCHRA had an average student score of 400.  A score of 300-487 places a child as an Early Emergent Reader.  Students in this category are beginning to understand that reading involves printed words and sentences, and that print flows from left to right and from top to bottom of the page. They are also beginning to identify colors, shapes, numbers and letters.

To ensure that each student was ready for kindergarten, HCHRA’s Head Start Program developed the “Early Literacy Race to 500” campaign. The goal of “Race to 500” was to ensure that HCHRA students transition from Early Emergent Reader to Late Emergent Reader.  Late Emergent Readers score 488-674. Students in this category identify most of the letters of the alphabet and can match most of the letters to their sounds. Students are also beginning to read picture books and familiar words around the home.

By the end of the school year, test results showed that HCHRA reached an average score of 476 among all four-year-old students tested.  “While short of our goal, I am proud to say that our Head Start staff delivered high-quality instruction and provided an excellent learning environment to ensure we saw exceptional gains in our students,” says Kenn Cockrell, president and CEO of HCHRA.  “We had multiple centers to surpass the 500 mark, and a few students even scored over 800 – a remarkable accomplishment.”

The gains came a year after HCHRA made curriculum changes and implemented evaluations that were better aligned with their curriculum. HCHRA also recognizes parents as the child’s first and best teacher.  To reinforce the learning that takes place in the classroom, HCHRA provides parents with at-home activities they can practice with their children to help them strengthen literacy skills until they return to the classroom.

Just last year, all Head Start programs across the state were wrongfully categorized as not having positive results in early literacy.  “When you group all students together, without considering income or opportunity, data is not properly analyzed, inaccurate generalizations are espoused, and programs are not fairly evaluated apart from the others,” said Cockrell.

Cockrell went on to explain that the teachers and staff at HCHRA are held to a high standard of accountability, which often surpasses federal requirements.  “In addition to ensuring that our education tools and methods produce results, we utilize measurement systems that ensure accountability and clearly communicate results to funders, community members and leaders throughout Hinds County.”

HCHRA operates 16 Head Start centers and satellite locations throughout Hinds County and has successfully run the Head Start program for more than 41 years.

Head Start Centers Closed Wednesday, January 17. Central Office and Neighborhood Services Centers Open at 10 a.m.

Due to the severe weather conditions in our area, all Hinds County Human Resource Agency Head Start Centers will be closed on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.  The centers will reopen on Thursday, and children may report to school at their usual time.

Central Office and all HCHRA Neighborhood Service Centers will open at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Should severe weather conditions persist throughout the day, HCHRA will post any updates or changes to Agency operations here on our website.  If no additional updates are posted, HCHRA offices will be open on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

All HCHRA Offices Closed Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Due to dangerous winter weather and road conditions, all HCHRA offices will be closed on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  Head Start Centers and HCHRA offices are scheduled to resume normal operations on Wednesday, January 17th.

If you had an appointment for assistance, we will make every effort to reschedule you within the next few days.  Please call 601.923.3950 to reschedule your appointment.

Conditions are favorable for ice formation on roads and bridges.  Authorities are encouraging everyone to stay off of the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary.

Head Start Centers Closed Tuesday, January 16. Central Office and Neighborhood Services Centers Open at 10 a.m.

Due to the threat of severe weather conditions in our area, all Hinds County Human Resource Agency Head Start Centers will be closed on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  The centers will reopen on Wednesday, and children may report to school at their usual time.

Central Office and all HCHRA Neighborhood Service Centers will open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Should severe weather conditions persist throughout the day, HCHRA will post any updates or changes to Agency operations here on our website.  If no additional updates are posted, HCHRA offices will be open on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.

Willowood Developmental Center Head Start Classrooms Will Open on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Willowood Developmental Center Head Start classrooms will reopen on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.  The center will remain closed until that time in anticipation of water pressure being restored to safe operating conditions.  The health and safety of our students and staff is very important to us, and we thank you for your patience as we have had to make adjustments during this challenging time.

As a reminder, don’t forget to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on Monday, January 15, 2018.  The King Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America.  On this day, we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence.  It is also a day of service all across the nation to help build the beloved community of King’s dream.


Still Doing Our Part

Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Head Start In-Service Training held on October 9, 2017 at the Jackson Convention Complex, led to another informative and engaging learning source for the staff of HCHRA. Professionalism, Accountability, Responsibility and Teamwork is what the acronym stands for in the theme “Together: Let’s Do Our PART”.

Workshop sessions included subjects on School Readiness, Digging Deeper: Looking Beyond Behaviors to Discover Meaning, Fair Labor Standards Act, and A Comprehensive Overview of the 2017 OHS Monitoring Protocol Process. Family and Community Services shared topics on An Overview of Community Action, Virtual ROMA, and Doing What Works – Performance Targeting. Early Head Start offered topics on Routines and Environment, Emotional Support & Self-Regulation, Facilitated Exploration and Exploration & Language Modeling.  There was also a session on CPR and Standard First Aid and Safety Training.







Hinds County Human Resource Agency’s Quality Assurance Specialists, Kynetta Shinard and Verlillian Williams attended the In-Service workshops and gained valuable insight and knowledge they say they can readily apply during their monitoring assessments for each of the Head Start centers. Shinard was impressed with knowledge she acquired in the Family and Community Service session.   “I  learned what Community Action Agencies are, I received a better understanding of the utilization of virtual ROMA and I developed a better understanding of CSBG (Community Service Block Grant)”, said Ms. Shinard.

Ms. Williams added, “The teacher sensitivity portion of the Emotional Support & Self-Regulation session really engaged me. We learned how to recognize and use natural instincts to provide comfort and support to babies, and gained a greater understanding of how infants and toddlers communicate at a very early age.” Ms. Williams also learned a new acronym from the Emotional Support & Self-Regulation session concerning teacher sensitivity and it is “H.E.L.L.O.”

is to have a conversation

E  is to extend into thick questions

L  is to listen and ask questions

is to listen and expand

O  is to (always) offer new words

In-Service learning sessions continued on November 20, 2017 as HCHRA staff once again convened at the Convention Center.  Various topics in the November training from Children’s Services included Classroom Management for Head Start Classrooms, Breaking the CLASS Ceiling: Maximizing Outcomes in Instructional Support, Fun with Phonics, and FY 2018 Head Start Monitoring Protocols.  Facilities and Field Services sessions focused on Basic Hand Tools, Environmental Health and Safety Practices, and Maintaining a Clean and Safe Environment.  Family and Community Services encompassed COPA Training – Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment and Attendance Procedures (ERSEA), Family Goal Setting and Planning, and Virtual ROMA.  Nutrition Services offered sessions on Foodborne Illnesses, Cross Contamination, and Civil Rights.  Transportation Services workshops included topics on Defensive Driving, How Transportation Staff Promotes School Readiness through Effective Communication, and Bridging the Gap in Transportation Safety in Schools.  CPR and Standard First Aid and Safety Training was again offered as part of the In-Service workshop sessions.

In addition to training offered each month, Hinds County Human Resource Agency offers a minimum of one pre-service and four in-service training session for Head Start staff each school year.  This is part of the Agency’s ongoing commitment to ensure that staff is properly trained, and equipped with the knowledge and tools to provide the best possible environment for children and families who are a part of the Head Start program with HCHRA.