MOUs (or Memoranda of Understanding, also referred to as MOAs or Memoranda of Agreement) are an essential part of governing Head Start relationships with partners. They spell out in detail obligations and commitments two parties make to each other as part of their agreement to work together. Having the details of these agreements in writing allows for transparency and mutual accountability. It also allows for parties to work through potential conflicts in advance, promoting more successful collaborating. Often it is a good idea to include clauses for how disagreements will be handled to minimize the destructive potential of conflicts that are not resolved in ways that build trust and a continued commitment to a shared purpose.
The following MOUs are offered as examples, gleaned from actual or sample agreements, to give you ideas of the kinds of issues to include, the scope of MOUs, possible formats or wording around specific issues addressed in the MOU. As possible, area-specific, grantee-specific, and partner-specific has been removed and is indicated by yellow highlight. Some specific detail has been left in so users can consider a broad range of approaches and issues to be covered in MOUs. None of the MOUs included in this library has been specifically vetted or pre-approved by Iowa Head Start Association, the ACF Region VII Office or the Office of Head Start or the Head Start Technical Assistance Center. IHSA recommends that any agreement be reviewed by legal counsel and Region VII program officers.
Most of the MOUs included here are designed to meet the requirements of the Head Start Act of 2007 that says there must be an MOU with entities managing publicly funded preschools in your service are to include the following 10 elements (see Head Start Act Sec. 642(e)(5)(A):
(I) educational activities, curricular objectives, and instruction;
(II) public information dissemination and access to programs for families contacting the Head Start program or any of the preschool programs;
(III) selection priorities for eligible children to be served by programs;
(IV) service areas;
(V) staff training, including opportunities for joint staff training on topics such as academic content standards, instructional methods, curricula, and social and emotional development;
(VI) program technical assistance;
(VII) provision of additional services to meet the needs of working parents, as applicable;
(VIII) communications and parent outreach for smooth transitions to kindergarten as required in paragraphs (3) and
(6) of section 642A(a);
(IX) provision and use of facilities, transportation, and other program elements; and
(X) other elements mutually agreed to by the parties to such memorandum;
There are some other MOUs that might also be helpful including those with AEAs for the provision of services for children with disabilities and one for coordinated intake. IHSA members are welcome to contribute their own examples to add to our library. Send possible submissions to Lori.Ferris@IowaHeadStart.org.
Guidance for adding support to families experiencing homeless to MOUs
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