Across the state, many communities have established early childhood partnerships to positively impact the school readiness of at-risk children through collaboration. Through partnerships, diverse organizations that work with the same population of at-risk children partner with others that contribute through different emphases on the child’s development. The collaboration allows each entity to capitalize on each other’s strengths to provide a seamless, holistic education for each child in the program. Recent efforts to encourage partnerships in Texas aim to increase access to high quality prekindergarten for eligible 3- and 4-year-olds and increase the communication and alignment between private and public early childhood education. The information on this webpage was collected for school districts and open enrollment charter schools that were awarded PreK Partnership Grants from the Texas Education Agency, but the information can benefit all early childhood programs interested in establishing new partnerships or expanding existing partnerships. This webpage was developed in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency.
PreK Partnerships benefit several stakeholders:
- Families: Eligible 3- and 4-year-old children will have an increased number of opportunities to find a prekindergarten program that fits the needs of the family, based on location, program duration, and other factors. Because of increased commitment from both the LEA and the private provider to increasing quality, families will also have increased access to quality prekindergarten.
- Districts/Charters: The LEAs will be able to increase capacity and serve more eligible 3- and 4-year-old students without the cost and time of building new facilities. Because a greater number of children can be served, the number of children who are ready for Kindergarten also increases.
- Private Providers: Partnerships open up new sustainable streams of funding for private providers. In addition, they open communication between LEAs and providers, increasing the resources shared and the practices that can be aligned so that children have greater a continuity in educational approach from prekindergarten to kindergarten.
- Early Childhood Education Community: Partnerships increase the ease of transition from prekindergarten to kindergarten because of greater alignment in classroom practices possible through increased coordination. In addition, partnerships build relationships and greater understanding among those in the early childhood education community, leading to a stronger community of practice.
Sample Contract and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
The following sample legal documents are a vital resource for school districts and open enrollment charter schools interested in establishing partnerships with other early childhood programs in their local communities. These documents can be used as a guide for the formal documentation of a partnership between two entities; since partnerships will look different in different communities, these sample documents can serve as a starting point for detailing and formalizing individual partnerships.
Additionally, organizations can establish partnerships to view and share child data (for example on a child’s progress monitoring results) between two entities in a partnership within CLI Engage. For more information about setting up a partnership for data sharing on CLI Engage, review specific details and procedures.
Texas developed the Community-Based School Readiness Integration Partnerships: Promoting Sustainable Collaborations toolkit to serve as a guide and provide information on collaboration and partnership models for early childhood programs in Texas, from initial assessment and set-up to sustainability. Recent presentations on early childhood partnerships:
The following four partnership models are the most common School Readiness Integration (SRI) models in Texas communities. Please refer to the partnership toolkit for more detailed information about these partnership models, and how to set-up and sustain a partnership in your community.
- Stacked or Flip/Flop Model – The “stacked” or “stacking” model, also known as the “flip-flop” model, describes two programs offered sequentially in order to piece together a full day of early care and education.
- Concurrent Model – The “concurrent” model is used when more than one program is offered simultaneously and each program provides different services to a group of children in order to enhance and expand services.
- Wraparound Model – The “wraparound” integrated model involves more than one program working together to provide both core and either before – or – after-school services or both.
- Subcontracting Model – In the subcontracting model, one program subcontracts with another to provide services to children. The design of the subcontracting model determines how much integration occurs among the programs. Subcontracting can involve one agency designating another as a surrogate agency to provide services. In this model, there may be little to no joint planning or involvement regarding service delivery.
Local Partnership Examples
Through Texas School Ready, the Children’s Learning Institute supports school districts developing, nurturing, and sustaining partnerships and collaborations between school districts and child care programs in local communities. Currently, four school districts and one charter school serve as TSR Comprehensive Lead Agents; the role of the lead agent is to coordinate TSR services in local communities and partner with CLI to ensure full implementation of the TSR model. These lead agents approach partnerships with child care programs in their local communities in different ways, briefly profiled below.
TSR: Aldine ISDTSR-Houston ISDTSR-La Joya ISDTSR: The Rhodes School
Situated north of Houston and covering both urban and suburban areas, Aldine ISD has served as a TSR Comprehensive lead agent for three years, but have been partnering with the child care programs in their local community for many years. The district provides full-day pre-k, and has approximately 100 pre-k classrooms. Through TSR, Aldine serves both child care and Head Start classrooms, supporting these teachers to advance quality learning environments and instructional practices. Six of the classrooms are partnered with the district beyond TSR participation, with public school teachers educating children in classrooms within the child care centers. These teachers are employed by the district, teach children enrolled in the child care program, and participate in TSR’s professional development and one-on-one instructional coaching. Although most of the children participating in TSR through Aldine ISD are in the district’s feeder pattern, some children are zoned to neighboring Spring ISD, expanding the district’s impact on child care quality improvement in their region. The district opens its TSR trainings to other child care, Head Start, and public school teachers in their local community; this includes Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH) and the Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines trainings. Additionally, Aldine ISD participates in TSR Online, utilizing the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System and professional development courses for their teachers.
Houston ISD, the largest school district in Texas, has served as a TSR Comprehensive lead agent for many years. The district served 25 child care programs and one Head Start program through TSR Comprehensive this year. For the district, serving as a TSR Comprehensive lead agent provides a unique opportunity to have a substantial impact on the quality of the child care programs that feed into Houston ISD’s elementary schools, better preparing children for kindergarten. Child care programs that participate in TSR Comprehensive through Houston ISD utilize the same curriculum and progress monitoring tool (CIRCLE) as the district’s pre-k classrooms, providing similar instructional experiences for children, regardless of where they attend pre-k. While most of the children in the TSR Comprehensive classrooms are zoned to Houston ISD, some children will attend kindergarten in Pearland ISD, Alvin ISD, Texas City ISD, and Baytown ISD, enabling TSR to have a broad impact across the diverse Houston area. Houston ISD also opens their TSR training opportunities to other child care teachers in the community.
La Joya ISD is located in Hidalgo County, near Brownsville. For the past several years, La Joya has partnered with the Children’s Learning Institute through participation in TSR Comprehensive and several research projects. La Joya chooses to serve as a TSR Comprehensive lead agent to have the ability to impact the quality of child care in the community, as well as ensure that more children are prepared for kindergarten when they arrive at the district’s elementary schools. Through their participation in TSR Comprehensive, La Joya has seen a difference in the number of parents who look for and choose higher quality child care programs, including those that participate in TSR Comprehensive. The district’s pre-k program is full-day, and next year will expand to include partnerships with local Head Start programs. Through a flip-flop model, 11 certified teachers employed by the district will be based in Head Start classrooms; children will receive instruction from a certified teacher and a Head Start teacher each day, with the teachers switching classrooms at mid-day. Half of the new ISD teachers in these partnership classrooms will begin participation in TSR Comprehensive in Fall 2016, with plans to expand to the other teachers in the following year. This partnership model is also used in another local district, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD.
The Rhodes School, a charter school based in the Houston area, has maintained two successful dual enrollment partnerships with child care centers within the surrounding community. The children are dually enrolled with the child care center and the Rhodes School, while the children benefit from a certified teacher in the classroom for the full-day program. These two child care centers, as well as several others in the community, participate in TSR Comprehensive with the Rhodes School. Participating teachers receive professional development opportunities through their partnership with the Rhodes School, including extensive training opportunities provided through TSR Comprehensive participation. Additionally, the other teachers in the child care center are able to collaboratively learn from the TSR coach and the certified teacher on-site. In addition to inviting other teachers from child care centers in the community to participate in training opportunities available through TSR Comprehensive, the Rhodes School also invites the directors of local child care programs to attend their partner meetings. The meetings were designed to keep directors of TSR Comprehensive sites up-to-date with the implementation of the program in their local community, as well as offering an opportunity to share in local innovations from other programs.
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