The Head Start Program in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is under the auspices of the Public School System (PSS). In the fall of 1984, the CNMI Department of Education was awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services a grant to operate the CNMI Head Start Program. Since then, the CNMI Department of Education, now known as the Public School System, has served as the Grantee Agency for the Head Start Program. Before 1984, the program was administered by several entities with initial start up in 1967. From its inception, the Head Start Program continues as the model program for early childhood programs and spearheads many community partnership activities in the CNMI. The first constitutional government of the CNMI took office in January 1978. The island’s status is based on the “Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States.” Full implementation occurred on November 3rd, 1986.
The CNMI Head Start Program is operated on the islands of Saipan, Rota, and Tinian, with the administrative office located on Saipan (the capitol of the CNMI). There are seven centers on Saipan, two on Rota, and one on Tinian. These ten centers provide center-based services, with two staff for both morning and afternoon session. Classes are in session for one hundred and fifty two days out of the school year, with classes four days a week to support double session variation.
“To empower and enable parents to assume their role as the primary educators of their children and to provide healthy, enriched child environments to meet the needs of young children.”
“Parents are the primary educators and advocates for their children throughout their lives. Partnerships with the community will strengthen the quality of education and provide a strong foundation for all children. Children and families will have a greater chance of attaining self-sufficiency and be productive in our society through knowledge and participation.”
“We believe that when children and families are given opportunities to learn and are provided with appropriate support, effective, long range, positive changes in the community will be realized. Through collaboration and shared decision making between staff, families, and the community, the comprehensive development of each individual child is successfully achieved. We value the unique strengths and culture of each child and their family.”