New York State Even Start Family Literacy


Online Guide for Administrators


Partnership, Collaboration, and Coordination - Questions and Answers

Q4-1: What is a partnership and what are collaborating agencies?

According to Section 1232(e) of the Statute, an entity eligible for receiving funds is "a partnership composed of:

  • a local educational agency and

  • a nonprofit community-based organization, a public agency other than a local education agency, an institution of higher education, or a public or private nonprofit organization other than a local educational agency of demonstrated quality."

Partnerships strengthen the connections between schools and community agencies and improve the program's ability to reach and serve families in greatest need of family literacy services.

On the subject of collaborating agencies, the Guidance for the William F. Goodling Even Start Family Literacy Programs states: 

"In addition to the formal partners who comprise the eligible entity applying for funding and administering the grant, an Even Start project has a number of collaborators who provide direct instructional or support services to participating families and may contribute to the local project's matching or cost share. These collaborators might include such local agencies as: the community library, the community college, welfare agency, a day care program, a professional association, a faith-based organization, or a volunteer organization."


Q4-2: How do partnerships operate?

Partnerships MUST specify the roles and responsibilities of each partner in planning, implementing, and evaluating the Even Start Family Literacy program. Each of the core components and all of the elements must be addressed. Assigning responsibilities and tasks is a partnership decision that must be clearly articulated in a written agreement.

Further explanation of partnership roles should be clearly outlined in the original proposal and modified as necessary in subsequent Documentation for Continued Funding

For more information:

      Sample Partnership Agreement (1)

      Sample Partnership Agreement (2)



Q4-3: What makes Even Start Family Literacy partnerships successful?

Although each Even Start Family Literacy partnership is unique, successful partnerships generally: 

  • build on high-quality community resources

  • employ qualified staff

  • carry out instructional activities in adult education, early childhood education, and parenting education ground in scientifically based research

  • document significant literacy achievement results for the majority of families served

  • document program progress as defined by the New York State Performance Indicators

  • establish goals, design programming to meet those goals, and revisit the goals as part of a continuous improvement process.

To accomplish these tasks, most partnerships:

  • establish a management team representing both partners to plan, implement, and evaluate the program
  • facilitate communication and build trust between partners through regularly scheduled meetings, honest discussion, and consensus building
  • agree on program policies and procedures
  • delineate the roles and responsibilities of the partners and collaborating agencies
  • establish an advisory board to communicate with the larger community and receive feedback.


Q4-4: What should be included in the written agreement between partners?

A written agreement between partners should include:

  • a formal statement addressing the shared mission, goals, and outcomes of the project

  • a detailed description of services to be provided

  • the designation of leadership roles, names, and responsibilities

  • a financial plan including the share of Even Start Family Literacy allocation budgeted to each partner and the in-kind contributions promised to the project

  • channels of communication, with a schedule of times and types of meetings

  • procedures for conflict resolution 

  • a specified time period of the agreement and the conditions for renewal.

For more information:

Sample Partnership Agreement (1)

Sample Partnership Agreement (2)

Q4-5: Whom should I invite to collaborate with the partnership?

Partnerships should invite agencies and service providers that will best be able to meet the needs of the families served by the program. Collaborating agencies might include:


boards of education unions
book stores faith-based organizations
volunteer centers civics groups (e.g., Kiwanis, Rotary, ZONTA)
corporations newspapers, radio, and television stations
correctional facilities Workforce Development
Head Start programs parks and recreation departments
health services Retired Senior Volunteer Program
hospitals/clinics social groups (e.g., American Legion, VFWs)
libraries Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts
reading councils women's shelters
schools YMCA/YWCA
senior citizen centers adult basic education programs
United Way service organizations (e.g., Jaycees, Junior League)
postsecondary institutions  

For more information:

Examples from local programs

Q4-6: What can I expect from my collaborating agencies?

Agencies that collaborate with the partnership may choose different levels of commitment to the project and this commitment may change over time. Some agencies may refer families and provide ancillary services, such as health care or emergency assistance. Other agencies will offer program components such as pre-school classes or adult education services. All collaborating agencies should be prepared to sign a written agreement indicating the resources they are offering and their expectations of what the Even Start Family Literacy program will do in return.

Collaborating agencies must be willing to:

  • sign a written agreement detailing their commitment

  • meet on a regular basis for planning and management 

  • provide funds, services, and other assets that will benefit the program.

For more information:

      Sample Collaborator Agreement (1)


Q4-7: What are some strategies to engage my collaborators?

As a program coordinator, it is important for you to facilitate communication among key stakeholders. Project directors, building principals, boards of community-based organizations, and others should all be kept up to date, through informal periodic updates or formal presentations, on:

  • national and state activity

  • local program results and concerns

  • upcoming professional development opportunities. 

For more information:

Examples from local programs

Q4-8: Some of the children who participate in our Even Start Family Literacy program receive education from a collaborating agency. How can I ensure they are receiving a high-quality education?

To ensure a high-quality education for children receiving services from collaborating agencies, a common goal should be established via a reciprocal process for exchanging key information. 

To begin, the Even Start Family Literacy program should provide to the collaborating agency:

  • information on the language and literacy goals established in its performance indicator. (In fact, all performance indicator information relating to the children should be shared.) 

  • a description of how Even Start Family Literacy works with both parent and child to develop needed skills. 

  • the early childhood framework, explaining how it's used in the Even Start Family Literacy program. 

The Even Start Family Literacy program might then inquire about the practices and procedures (curriculum) of the collaborating agency and how it views the standards presented in the early childhood framework. 

The two entities should also exchange:

  • assessment information and how results are used

  • information about the individual children participating in Even Start Family Literacy

For Even Start Family Literacy to more fully support the academic achievement of the children throughout the year, the collaborating agency can be asked to complete a bi-annual progress report on each child. Professional development, resources, and visitations can be offered to the collaborating agency by the Even Start Family Literacy program. 



Return to Main Page Proceed to Financial Management



Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.