Building Excellence and Expanding Opportunity
Programs for Parents Launches the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance
The Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance is a framework that allows multiple early care and education centers to pool needs and share resources – including staff, information, skills and funds – in order to improve the capacity to provide high quality care.
This initiative serves as a pilot program, funded by The Nicholson Foundation and Turrell Fund, and will bring together a network of 10 child care centers (Alliance members) who have an interest in shared services, cost savings, and program support. Acting collectively, Alliance members, which include Clinton Hill Community and Early Childhood Center, Inc., La Casa de Don Pedro (two centers), Zadie’s of the Oranges, the Urban League of Essex County Early Childhood Centers (two centers), Newark Day Care Center, Ironbound Community Corporation, and Unified Vailsburg Services Organization (two centers), will improve organizational efficiency and, in turn, increase the quality of the child care provided.
Why is a Shared Services Alliance important?
Early care and education programs in New Jersey are funded through a variety of auspices and include large and small nonprofit businesses, state, federally funded agencies, which have limited resources. The center directors are usually responsible for maintaining enrollment, collecting fees, managing grants and contracts, preparing budgets, managing cash flow, maintaining facilities, processing payroll, establishing policies, hiring, training, and supervising staff, and more. While center directors are passionate about early childhood/childhood development and have backgrounds in child development and/or education, few have training in accounting and/or business management.
What are the benefits of a Shared Services Alliance?
A Shared Services Alliance will allow centers to reduce costs and strengthen management and quality by sharing administrative functions with other organizations that provide the same programming.
What 10 centers are participating in the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance?
The 10 centers that are participating in the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance are:
Clinton Hill Community and Early Childhood Center, Inc. is a human service oriented organization, committed to the growth and development of the early learner. The core nature of the organization focuses on building a strong, solid foundation for children to learn the basic skills they need to succeed in the elementary grades. They are the first child care center in New Jersey to receive a Star Rating through Grow NJ Kids for high quality care. Click here to view their website.
La Casa de Don Pedro has served as the signature organization in the landscape of social services and community development in Newark for all residents, while maintaining its community organizing and social service delivery system as the primary link to the largest Hispanic community in New Jersey. It is the only English/Spanish bilingual/bicultural learning environment in the City of Newark and its mission is to foster self-sufficiency, empowerment, and neighborhood revitalization. Two centers will be participating in the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance. Click here to view their website.
Zadie’s of the Oranges’ mission is to provide the highest quality childcare in a nurturing, inspiring and academically stimulating environment. Family owned and operated, Zadies goes the extra mile to employ and retain only the highest caliber educators and caretakers who not only love‚ respect and value the learning process for children, but become deeply engaged in the progress and development of each child. Click here to view their website.
The Urban League of Essex County Early Childhood Centers are dedicated to providing students with an education that prepares them to exceed all expectations and instills a love of learning for years to come. They believe that education should be a meaningful and joyful experience and strive to maintain an environment where students and families feel safe and comfortable. They are National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited. Two centers will be participating in the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance. Click here to view their website.
Newark Day Care Center’s mission is to continue their long tradition of training the poor to help themselves. They strive to support the citizens of Newark and Essex County of all ages by providing child care, training opportunities for adults, social services for the elderly and summer camping experiences through the Fresh Air Fund. They also serve as a vehicle to promote partnerships with other community-based organizations, and advocate for those who seek our assistance. They are National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited. Click here to view their website.
Ironbound Community Corporation’s (ICC) mission is to engage and empower individuals, families and groups in realizing their aspirations and, together, work to create a just, vibrant and sustainable community. The Ironbound Early Learning Center provides daily early childhood education services to more than 200 births to five children, as well as offers families support and engagement opportunities including wrap-around services facilitated by trained family workers. Click here to view their website.
Unified Vailsburg Services Organization (UVSO) is a community development nonprofit whose mission is to create a stable and compassionate community in the Vailsburg neighborhood of Newark, NJ. To achieve this mission, they provide comprehensive programs for children, teens, and families through a placemaking strategy that focuses on early childhood education, afterschool enrichment, neighborhood improvement, community outreach and housing development. Two centers will be participating in the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance. Click here to view their website.
How were the 10 centers selected to participate in the Greater Newark Shared Services Alliance?
The 10 centers were selected from close to 20 applicants and took part in individual interviews. Their leadership practices, budget and finance structures, teacher and child support systems, family engagement activities offered, and collaborative opportunities were all taken into account during the interview process. The centers also had to meet one of the following eligibility requirements in order to apply: Being nationally accredited, receiving public pre-k funding as Head Start or Head Start collaborative center or involved in the Grow NJ Kids Initiative.
What are some tasks and projects the Alliance Members will complete?
Together, the Alliance members will embark on a process to identify and investigate additional collaborative cost saving opportunities and develop a business model that will allow future sustainability. The objectives and tasks include:
- Cultivating a substitute pool of teachers and teacher assistants to support the centers
- Deciding upon the levels of training and processes for recruiting and placing substitute pool workers
- Developing a comprehensive and progressive professional development model for teachers, teachers’ assistants, and administrative staff
- Identifying and prioritizing a minimum of six professional development training topics
- Discussing the structure, governance, and membership model for the Alliance
- Investigating additional collaborative cost saving opportunities
- Gathering, tracking, and analyzing the cost of services delivered and resulting savings for Alliance members
- Forming a professional learning community among Alliance member center directors