Special Report
Education

In Massachusetts, Local Collaboration

By John Gehring — August 16, 2017 2 min read

Riverway Early Learning Center in Lawrence, Mass., exemplifies the state’s approach to providing high-quality care for its youngest children by encouraging collaboration at the local level.

The center runs programs sponsored by seven different agencies that provide comprehensive child- and family-development services for pregnant women and for children up to age 5 who are not yet eligible for kindergarten.

Riverway grew out of the ideals of the state’s major preschool initiative, Community Partnerships for Children. CPC promotes flexibility in providing services for preschool-age children through public schools, Head Start programs, community-based child-care centers, and family child-care homes.

The program, which is financed through the state education department, is part of Massachusetts’ broader school improvement efforts. Some 332 out of the state’s 351 cities and towns are involved in the CPC program.

Each local program has a lead fiscal agent--a school district, a Head Start agency, or a licensed child-care provider--that is responsible for financial reporting and program monitoring. Local councils, made up of representatives from Head Start, the public school system, faith-based organizations, and other groups, make policy and design programs that govern the partnerships in participating communities. To ensure high quality in the’ collaborations, the state requires all participating prekindergarten programs to seek accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, based in Washington. All family-care providers have or must seek a Child Development Associate credential. Preschool programs offered through the public schools must meet state education department standards.

Draft guidelines for preschool curricula, based on the state’s K-12 curriculum frameworks, have been approved by the state board of education. Teachers will be required to document that they are using the guidelines in planning and evaluating curriculum activities.

A few years ago, local council members in Lawrence wanted to increase the number of preschool slots. The city had a waiting list of more than 300 children. Council members, who individually ran early-childhood centers, did not have the space to open new classrooms.

The Lower Merrimack Valley Regional Employment Board stepped up to help by donating a 15,000-square-foot space that had been vacant for more than 12 years. With money provided by the CPC program, the council voted to team up with such agencies as the YMCA, an Early Head Start program, and the Lawrence public schools to use the space to open a new early-childhood center in 1999.

With a budget of $4.9 million, the center offers, among other programs, services to more than 500 children and professional development to 67 early-childhood workers through an associate’s degree program.

“The center has been a tremendous success, and it was only through this collaborative program that it could have been born,” says Julie Tetreault, the program director of the Greater Lawrence Community Partnerships for Children Program.

“The advocacy community is really growing there,” says Adele Robinson, the public policy director for the NAEYC. “It’s one of the states that has connected both access and quality.”

A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2002 edition of Education Week

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read