New York State Even Start Family Literacy


Online Guide for Administrators


Roles and Responsibilities - Questions and Answers


(revised March 2005)

(revised March 2005)

Teacher assistants, under the supervision of a certified teacher, help to extend initial learning experiences or lessons presented by a certified teacher. This may include:

  • providing input for appropriate lessons plans that will be delivered in a home- or center-based setting;

  • delivering lessons, developed with a certified teacher;

  • participate in shared planning sessions to provide feedback on the lessons;

  • working with individual students or groups of students on special instructional projects;

  • providing the teacher with information about students that will assist the teacher in the development of appropriate instructional materials;

  • assisting students in the use of available instructional resources;

  • assisting in the development of appropriate instructional resources; and

  • assisting in related instructional work as required.

(revised March 2005)

(revised March 2005)

Q3-1: Who hires Even Start Family Literacy program staff?

Hiring staff is a partnership decision. In formulating hiring policy and procedures, the partnership must consider the:

  • unique delivery of services and program goals of Even Start Family Literacy

  • expectations regarding staff flexibility and availability

  • "chain of command" 

  • local contract that guides the employment of instructional staff at local educational agencies (BOCES and school districts).

Once established, and before hiring begins, policy and procedures should be formally documented and adopted by both partners. 

For more information:



Q3-2: How do I staff my Even Start Family Literacy program?

Even Start Family Literacy programs must be staffed to accommodate their program design and the goals proposed in their approved application. Generally, this requires:
  • a program coordinator (A half-time coordinator is required, but a full-time coordinator is recommended.)
  • instructors qualified to provide services in each of the four components (adult education, parenting education, children's education, and interactive literacy)
  • sufficient family educators to provide weekly home visits. A caseload of eight - twelve families per family educator is recommended.
  • appropriate staff to collect and manage programming data. 

For more information:

Sample Staffing Pattern (1)

Sample Staffing Pattern (2)  


Q3-3: When hiring instructional staff, what qualities should I seek?

In addition to the certification requirements previously noted and the requirements set forth in the Statute, instructors must be able to relate to both children and adults of the socioeconomic (high poverty) and cultural backgrounds (possible English-language learners) served by the program. 

Regarding program delivery, instructors must be sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of families. Meeting the needs of families will require administration of assessment and coordination with other service providers, so being a team player is a must for instructors. 


Classroom duties of instructors include implementing individualized education plans that are extended into home visits. Often, home visits occur in evenings and on weekends due to the family's schedule, so again, flexibility is an important quality to seek when hiring instructors. 

For more information:

Guide to Quality

Sample Job Description (1)

Sample Interviewing Questions

Q3-4: What are the requirements for a program coordinator?

Section 1235 (5) of the federal statute requires that the "individual responsible for administration of family literacy services [have] training in the operation of a family literacy program." In New York State, the program coordinator must meet the minimum qualifications of instructional staff.

Each program must have at least a half time program coordinator assigned to the program, paid in part or in full by Even Start Family Literacy funds (federal or local match).

For more information:

New York State Certification Website

Q3-5: What are the requirements for individuals providing academic instruction?

All staff whose salaries are paid in whole or in part with Even Start Family Literacy funds must meet the qualifications set forth in Section 1235 (5) - Program Elements - of the federal Even Start Family Literacy statute and New York State certification requirements. "No later than December 21, 2004, a majority of individuals providing academic instruction: 
  • shall have obtained an associate's, bachelor's or graduate degree in a field related to early childhood, elementary or secondary school education, or adult education; 
  • if applicable, shall meet qualifications established by the State for early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education or adult education.

Instructional staff hired after December 1, 2000 must meet the above requirements. 

Individuals who provide academic instruction are certified teachers. These individuals, who meet New York State certification requirements, plan and deliver lesson plans or learning experiences and use assessment instruments to determine the effectiveness of instruction. In addition, certified instructors may supervise teaching assistants. 

In order to provide academic instruction, each program must have at least one staff member who is certified in early childhood education and at least one staff member who is certified in adult education. (Adult educators employed by community-based organizations need the equivalent in certification.) The certified staff may be paid directly by Even Start or may be an in-kind match.

Q3-6: What are the requirements for individuals who provide support for academic instruction?

Section 1235 (5) of the federal statute requires that "paraprofessionals who provide support for academic instruction have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent." Federal guidance indicates that "paraprofessionals can reinforce and practice instructional activities with learners after instructors have taught the activity or lesson."

In New York State, all paraprofessionals providing support for the instructional components must meet the State's certification standards for "teaching assistants" found at: 

Q3-7: What are the certification requirements for instructional staff not paid with federal Even Start Family Literacy funds?

Staff who are not paid with federal Even Start Family Literacy funds, such as those supported by collaborating or partner agencies, are not subject to these requirements. However, whatever the funding source, programs are strongly encouraged to make a concerted effort to use the most highly qualified staff available. 

Q3-8: Our program hired a teacher certified in early childhood education to oversee teaching assistants who are home visitors. What responsibilities can this person be assigned?

Certified teachers ensure the quality of instruction delivered by teaching assistants by:

  • engaging in joint planning sessions

  • providing staff development

  • modeling instruction

  • observing the work of teaching assistants

  • providing ongoing supervision of the instruction delivered

  • participating in discussion and mutual reflection.

For more information:


Q3-9: How do partnerships provide adequate and appropriate staff supervision?

The partnership must decide who is responsible for supervising staff and what the supervisory procedures will be. Coordinators usually provide the daily supervision of staff and program management. Agency policy may require an additional administrator in a supervisory role. All policies and procedures must be clearly communicated to the staff.

In addition to an awareness of job descriptions, hours, and pay, all key players must be clear on who has control of day-to-day operations and who prioritizes what staff are doing and where they are. The management structure of your program, including supervisory roles and responsibilities, should be formally noted in a written partnership agreement.

The respective strengths and roles of the partners will define who supervises who. All supervision, however, rests on consistent and regular communication that addresses the needs of staff members, partners, collaborators, and, ultimately, of families.


For more information:

Sample Supervisory Plan

Sample Staff Evaluation

Q3-10: How does my program keep current on Even Start Family Literacy policies and practices?

To disseminate policy updates, provide staff development, and facilitate communication, the New York State Education Department maintains a website and listserv and holds statewide professional development meetings in the fall. In addition, regional meetings of program coordinators are held regularly. All programs are required to participate in the listserv and to attend the regional and statewide meetings.

  • From New York State's Even Start Family Literacy website (, programs can access State policies and procedures, information on training, a directory of New York State programs, research findings for Even Start Family Literacy components, and links to a wide variety of resources.

  • Statewide professional development meetings are held each year in September and March. At these sessions, new Even Start Family Literacy policies are announced. In addition to staff development workshops for providers, special sessions are held for evaluators and agency directors. Both partners are required to attend. For more information, visit the website for Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc. (

  • Regional meetings keep programs abreast of new developments, offer staff development tailored to the need of the programs in the region, and provide coordinators an opportunity to learn from one another. Program coordinators are required to attend the meetings, which are held every four to six weeks. 

  • The Even Start Family Literacy listserv provides a vehicle through which the State coordinator, demonstration site leaders, and regional coordinators can communicate with all Even Start Family Literacy programs in New York State. Partnerships can post questions, share information, or request assistance. All programs are required to have on-line capacity and to participate in the listserv. 

Q3-11: How often do I offer professional development opportunities to my staff?

Professional development should be ongoing and provided as needed. However, the New York State Education Department does require that Even Start Family Literacy staff participate in an average of five hours of general (program related) and individual professional development (related to personal, professional growth) activities per month. In order to operate a high-quality family literacy program, consider dedicating a portion of weekly staff meetings to staff development.


For more information:



Q3-12: What type of professional development do I make available to my staff?

Professional development occurs on many different levels. All Even Start Family Literacy staff is invited to attend the New York State Even Start Family Literacy Professional Development Meetings (held in both the spring and fall). Other professional development opportunities should support the instruction of Even Start Family Literacy core components. 

The strengths and needs of staff members should be assessed regularly, so that they receive appropriate and timely training. Any new knowledge acquired through staff development opportunities should be shared throughout the program and incorporated into practice.

The State does not mandate specific training requirements for instructional staff.

For more information:

Training Opportunities

Sample Internal Staff Development Opportunity


Q3-13: As the program coordinator, how do I serve as a leader and visionary?

In terms of leadership and vision, program coordinators: 

  • help staff assist parents in fulfilling their roles as partners in the education of their children and supporters of their children's education.

  • understand and accommodate the literacy needs of demographically and culturally diverse families.

  • develop effective partnerships between schools and community agencies serving a similarly targeted population.

  • apply current research to provide high-quality instruction in each of the content areas: early childhood education, adult literacy, and parenting education. 

  • provide support for children and their parents to reach the New York State Learning Standards.

  • document participant and program outcomes through data to increase the local capacity and improve the quality of programs. 

  • engage staff and partners to maintain a system of continuous improvement.

  • provide opportunities for staff to gain the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for implementing high-quality programs.

  • create an environment that is friendly, respectful, literacy-rich, and team-oriented.

Q3-14: As the program coordinator of an Even Start Family Literacy program, what are my responsibilities?

Depending on the size and nature of individual programs, it is appropriate to expect the project coordinator to: 

For more information:

Need examples from local programs

Q3-15: What are our responsibilities if we suspect abuse or neglect is occurring in one of the families we serve?


According to Section 413 of the Social Services Law, it is a legal obligation to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Reports are filed with the reporting hotline at the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment: 1-800-342-3720. The reports are then investigated by the local Child Protective Services (CPS). In New York State, mandated reporters include: 

  • medical and hospital personnel

  • mental health providers

  • social service workers

  • education/child care professionals

  • law enforcement personnel. 

New York State requirements for teacher certification include the completion of the Child Abuse Identification Workshop. Programs should encourage all staff to complete this one-day training. Local universities and community colleges usually are aware of locally scheduled training classes. There is a fee, but a certificate is issued upon completion.


As each partnership is made up of a CBO and LEA partner, it is important for staff to know the procedures that these agencies have already established in the area of child abuse. Programs that are located within BOCES or a school district need to know if there are designated "hot line" callers and what the procedure is to make a call. Then, a program must discuss/establish a policy to be followed by all Even Start Family Literacy staff. The local DSS can make presentations to staff and talk about the process of reporting and follow up by Child Protective Services. A representative from DSS often can offer advice on "what words to use" during reporting, as well as what is reportable.

Even Start Family Literacy staff may also encounter domestic violence within the families they serve. Programs may want to consider contacting local domestic violence prevention projects that offer training and/or safe houses that accept referrals.

For more information:

How to Report Suspected Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect

Mandated Reporter Guide

Education Law 23-B

Child Abuse Identification Workshop

Q3-16: A CBO hired a coordinator with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. She was in the Peace Corps for two years where she taught school age children and provided some adult education. Since she is employed by the CBO she is unable to receive adult education certification. In absence of that certification, what experience would qualify her to meet the requirement of a program coordinator who is certified?


The State’s qualifications for new coordinators is guided by federal statute and New York State Teacher Certification requirements. Please read Q 3-4 and Q 3-5. Coordinator must meet the minimum qualifications of instructional staff. In addition, all individuals who are responsible for administering Even Start Family Literacy programs must receive training in the operation of a family literacy program. In certain cases, coordinators have obtained certification in adult education (see Question 3-17 below).

In this case the individual does not have "an associate's, bachelor's or graduate degree in a field related to early childhood, elementary or secondary school education, or adult education" per federal statute. It also appears that she does not have the three years of preparation or experience in the subject for which she is employed to teach, which is part of the state adult education certification requirements. Based on this, the individual does not meet the requirements for a coordinator.


Q3-17: What are the requirements for obtaining adult education certification?


The New York State Teacher Certification website provides the following information for individuals interested in obtaining adult education certification:

Adult, community and continuing education means those educational services provided by boards of education, boards of cooperative educational services and vocational education extension boards primarily to individuals who are not on the regular day school register of a school district.

Requirements for teachers.

A person teaching an occupational subject shall have three years of preparation and/or experience in the subject which the individual is employed to teach. When no such prepared and/or experienced person is available after extensive recruitment, an individual with less preparation and/or experience may be employed upon a finding by the chief school officer that such individual has sufficient preparation and/or experience to teach the subject.

You must be recommended by a school district superintendent to receive an adult education certificate. It is suggested you contact your local district administrator for further information regarding these credentials. The superintendent will use the OTAPP-7 (Application for Supplementary School Personnel) to request an adult education license. School districts may contact the Office of Teaching Initiatives if they require copies of this form.

If the individual works for a community-based organization, which are not eligible to apply for adult education certification, the individual must meet the minimum requirements described in this section. Documentation of an Individual’s experience and degrees should be entered in the staffing section of ES-Star.


Q3-18: The State requires program coordinators to have training in the administration of family literacy programs. What training workshops meet this requirement? Can mentoring for new coordinators count towards this requirement?


New Program coordinators have several options for meeting the state requirement for training in family literacy. These options are:

  • new coordinator training offered in conjunction with the Fall Technical Assistance meeting.
  • NCFL’s Administrator Program
  • NESA’s Keys to Quality
  • NCFL’s Foundations in Family Literacy

To further support new coordinators, each demonstration site will provide a peer mentor for first year coordinators. New coordinators, who participate in the new coordinator training or Foundations in Family Literacy, will be required to work with a peer mentor.



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Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.