In June of 2017 I presented at the Region XI Head Start Conference in Denver, CO. My presentation, Approaches to the New Community Assessment Requirements, covered some of the new requirements for Community Assessments in the latest version of the Head Start Performance Standards. The final section of my presentation (which can be downloaded here focused on surveys that can be used to address a few of these requirements, both new and old:

  • Typical work, school and training schedules of families
  • Community Strengths
  • Education, health and other social needs of families

During the presentation participants filled out online sample surveys using Google Forms. Google Forms, along with other online survey tools, provide an easy way to create surveys and assist with analysis by automatically creating live graphs based on survey results.

Embedded below is a Community Strengths survey. Other sample surveys include:

Integrating Survey Responses into your Community Assessment – AI/AN Region XI Case Study

Participants in the session, who were all Head Start staff from American Indian/Alaska Native Region XI Programs, responded to some of the sample surveys from above. Though this was just an exercise, participants were invited to respond sincerely and truthfully with regards to strengths, needs and issues in their respective communities. Through this process we reinforced a need identified through analysis of Program Information Report data for Region XI.

Participants were asked for a short response to the question “What are the challenges, issues and struggles in the community where you live?” 7 out of 8 of the short responses cited substance abuse of one form another (meth, alcohol and other drugs.) Additionally, 12 out of 12 respondents identified “Alcohol and drug use” as a challenge, issue or struggle in their respective communities.


The survey also asked respondents to rate the severity of issues and challenges in their communities. Alcohol abuse and drug abuse both tied with domestic violence for the most number of responses that indicated it was a “severe issue.”


These survey results corroborated data that was analyzed earlier in the presentation from Program Information Reports (PIR). PIRs for all programs in Region XI were aggregated and compared to other Head Start regions and all Head Start programs in the country as a whole. It was discovered that 2.5% of Head Start families in Region XI had “an expressed interest or identified need” for substance abuse treatment. In Region X (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington states) the same statistic was only 1% of families and in the Nation as a whole it was .7% of Head Start families.


Though the survey was informal and not comprehensive, it can be used to illustrate how surveys and other data sources can be used in the Community Assessment. This analytical process shows that substance abuse is an area of high need for families in American Indian/Alaska Native Head Start programs. If Region XI were a single Head Start program then the Community Assessment process would identify this need. Findings and recommendations from the Community Assessment would inform the program’s long term planning process.

Sample data packs are available for Region XI programs here. These sample data packs include an overview of Census data for each program’s service area as well as PIR data, comparisons with state PIR data and graphs for each data set. It is meant to be used along with the presentation Approaches to the New Community Assessment Requirements.

If your program is not from Region XI or you can’t find your sample data pack then please contact me.

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