Policy Council, in partnership with the Shippensburg University Council of Trustees, is the governing body of the Head Start Program in charge of making decisions about policies, operating procedures, budgets, staff employment, and proper adherence to program guidelines. Policy Council is composed of parent representatives elected by center committees, Shippensburg University Council of Trustee representatives, and community representatives. Policy Council, as defined by the Office of Head Start Performance Standards and the Head Start Act, must be comprised of at least 51% of Program enrolled Parents, with the remainder consisting of community representatives.
Policy Council members are responsible for electing a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Co-Secretary, Treasurer and Parliamentarian. The duties of these officers, as stated in the Policy Council Bylaws, are:
- Chairperson- prepares the agenda and runs the meeting.
- Vice-Chairperson- presides at meetings when the Chairperson is absent.
- Secretary- takes notes of the proceedings and prepares minutes of the meeting.
- Co-Secretary- takes notes and prepares minutes in the absence of the Secretary.
- Treasurer- reads a monthly statement of Policy Council funds and supervises account activity.
- Parliamentarian- maintains orderly discussion and adherence to Parliamentary Procedure during the meeting.
Per the Office of Head Start Performance Standards and the Head Start Act, Policy Council is empowered to:
- have approval power in all program operations, specified in the Head Start Performance standards.
- have operating responsibilities for evaluating the Head Start program.
- have general responsibilities in hearing and resolving complaints about the Head Start program.
The authority entrusted to the Policy Council is enacted by various sub-committees composed of elected Policy Council members and representatives from the Council of Trustees and from within the community. The sub-committees are:
- Bylaws committee
- Budget Committee
- Human Resources/Personnel Committee
- Health Services Advisory
- Selection Committee
- Strategic Planning Committees
- Ad Hoc Committees
- Program Evaluation/Review Committee(includes Family and Community Partnerships, Program Design and Management, Child Development, Health Services, and Transportation/Facilities)
Each sub-committee submits their recommendations to Policy Council and then to the Council of Trustees monthly (or "as needed," situation permitting). Policy Council meetings are generally held the third Thursday of every month at 10:00AM, although this is subject to change following revision of Policy Council Bylaws. Any Head Start parent or primary caregiver of an enrolled Head Start child may attend the monthly meetings.
Training is provided for members of Policy Council and the Shippensburg University Council of Trustees to help in the implementation of their roles and responsibilities directing the Shippensburg University Head Start Program.