Memorandum of Understanding between the members of the Multisectoral Coalition for reading
Todos a Leer!
The purpose of this memorandum of understanding from ¡Todos a leer! Multisectoral Coalition(hereinafter "Coalition") is to agree on the basic guidelines that will govern the work of the Coalition and the participation of its members. The multisectoral Coalition was launched on September 2022 and is a collective impact initiative that seeks to join efforts to ensure that every child in Puerto Rico receive all the necessary support to learn to read at their level.
Puerto Rico needs more than ever its human capital and to forge a generation of people who can contribute economically and socially to their communities. Equitable access to quality education is paramount to achieving citizens who can contribute to our social, economic, and cultural future. We want a Puerto Rico in which all our children have space to devise and make their dreams come true. For that, we need our children to know and want to read.
Our students have suffered the impact of natural disasters and a pandemic. The interruption that this combination of events has represented in school time and face-to-face education has aggravated the academic lag that already existed, making it imperative that we take immediate action to remedy it. Our children can overcome this and other obstacles. With the necessary interventions and resources, all our students can learn to read.
All the information we have collected suggests that a critical area is the percentage of children who cannot read or who do not master the skills of the mechanics of reading and reading comprehension at their grade level. It is imperative that we take immediate action to remedy this reality. Language and literacy development between kindergarten and third grade is key to our children's development and to an informed, critical, and active citizenry.
We recognize that the Department of Education has a central responsibility to ensure that students learn to read and achieve academic success. However, many other sectors, institutions, and individuals can and should play a key role in ensuring that children have all the tools and conditions necessary to learn to read and understand what they read.
In September of 2022, we announced ¡Todos a leer!, a document that presents a vision of what should happen at all levels in Puerto Rico and various areas so that students read at their grade level. The document contains three essential elements: a vision of the role of different sectors in the reading development of our children, a series of public policy recommendations to be implemented to create the conditions to promote literacy in public schools, and a theoretical framework of essential practices for the teaching of literacy. The plan is an important step, as it provides concrete alternatives to face the current situation. However, it is essential to implement it as part of a long-term collective effort.
The signatories of this memorandum of understanding are committed to supporting the development of our children’s reading skills. Therefore, we form the Coalition that will support efforts aimed at raising awareness among citizens, promoting conviction about the importance of reading as an essential tool for the full development of students, and implementing concrete measures according to ¡Todos a Leer!, from our spaces of action, so that all our children can learn and want to read.
III. Objectives of the Coalition
The fundamental objectives of this multisectoral Coalition are: 1. Implement and support the implementation of the measures contained in ¡Todos a Leer!, 2. Amplify the message contained in ¡Todos a Leer! and 3. Measure the success of ¡Todos a Leer!
The following are the principles that will govern the work of the Coalition to which all individuals and entities interested in becoming a member commit themselves by signing this Memorandum of Understanding to become Members.
1. Children in Puerto Rico have the right to learn to read and comprehend what they read.
Education is a fundamental human right and civic right in Puerto Rico. One of the most critical skills for a human being's learning process is reading. Mastering this skill during early childhood is critical to avoiding future lags and succeeding academically and in other aspects of life. Students who have trouble with literacy are more likely to drop out of school and less likely to go on to college or finish college. On the other hand, knowing how to read and write during childhood is key for people to communicate effectively in the next stages of their development to socialize, communicate their emotions and interests, exercise a role of citizen participation, obtain a better-paid job, or undertake to be able to progress socially and economically.
2. With the necessary interventions and resources, all students can learn to read.
All human beings have the same rights, but we do not all have the same resources and circumstances. Therefore, it is essential to work together so that there is access to a quality public education system that guarantees the mechanisms to identify and meet the individual needs of all children in Puerto Rico.
3. The Department of Education has a central responsibility for ensuring that students learn to read and achieve academic success. It is a priority to identify the magnitude of the lag in reading and reading comprehension of students in Puerto Rico at all levels and urgently implement strategies to help remove this barrier that affects their learning process. Also, it is imperative to break the cycle. To this end, the Department of Education must prioritize literacy instruction at the kindergarten through third-grade levels. This involves designating the human and financial resources needed to identify and implement essential practices and necessary public policy changes, as well as monitoring the progress of these efforts.
4. We can all play a critical role in ensuring that children have all the tools and conditions they need to learn to read. Quality education transcends the boundaries of the classroom. Coalition Members are committed to identifying and helping others identify how they can contribute to a Puerto Rico where all children read at their level. We are committed to constantly evaluating our practices and making sure we opt for the most effective, evidence-based practices that also promote critical thinking and full human development.
In the Coalition there is room for all those who want to work to guarantee a future of equal access and opportunity for our children because we believe that, when each person or entity assumes a role, we will achieve a Puerto Rico in which all children are prepared to succeed in school, have the opportunity to thrive and live a life full of personal and professional satisfaction.
5. As Members of the Coalition, we are committed to supporting the implementation of ¡Todos a leer!
¡Todos a Leer! presents a vision for achieving systemic and long-term change in literacy teaching in Puerto Rico. We are committed to supporting, implementing, and evaluating the strategies and recommendations contained in the plan.
V. Coalition Members
The Coalition will be composed of individuals, organizations, government agencies, and other stakeholders of Puerto Rican society willing to support efforts aimed at raising awareness among citizens, to promote conviction about the importance of reading as an essential tool for learning and the full development of students, and to implement concrete measures from their spaces of action to fulfill the goal that all children in Puerto Rico master reading skills.
Membership in the Coalition is voluntary and free of charge. At the time of membership, members will choose the nature of their participation based on the category descriptions included in this section.
a. Mobilizing member: entity or person that supports the initiatives and purposes of the Coalition and/or promotes awareness-raising efforts and activities to support literacy, aligned with the objectives of the Coalition, by its own efforts and resources.
b. Provider member: entity or person that joins or wishes to join the Coalition as a provider of services aligned to the Coalition's strategy and work plan, and contemplates the possibility of requesting funds from the Coalition and that its initiatives are endorsed and formed part of the agendas and calendars shared by the Coalition. Provider members may not be part of the Board of Directors or any work committee that manages information that may benefit you as a service provider or in which decisions are made on the evaluation and/or approval of service proposals.
c. Fiduciary Member: An entity or person who wishes to commit to assuming responsibility for a governance and fiduciary role within the Coalition. Fiduciary members avoid any conflict of interest, or appearance of conflict, between their personal or organizational interests and those of the Coalition. Likewise, they protect the confidentiality of the information to which they have access or of which they become aware when occupying a governance and trust role. The Coalition Members Plenum will meet quarterly to receive an update on the work of the Coalition, provide input, and identify ways in which members can support the various initiatives. All members commit to helping define and implement a common agenda to achieve the Coalition's goals and to adopt and implement evaluation mechanisms and shared metrics to evaluate efforts and measure their impact. Members are aware that initiatives they propose as part of the Coalition's collective efforts will be evaluated to ensure their alignment with the plan.
To facilitate the integration and discussion of issues common to the different sectors of the Coalition, sectoral meetings will be promoted.
VI. Board of Directors
This Board of Directors will provide advice and direction to the Coalition to ensure that all initiatives organized on behalf of the Coalition are aligned and advance the vision of ¡Todos a Leer! It will also designate a person who will serve as Coalition Coordinator.
The members of the Board of Directors are committed to prioritizing the teaching of reading in the primary grades and promoting that other entities and individuals also do so. They will publicly support the Coalition's initiatives and sometimes provide financial resources to support its operation. They will identify possible sources of economic, human, and material resources necessary to carry out the Coalition's initiatives. As for economic resources, it will identify possible sources of philanthropic funds, and public funds donation calls. With regard to human resources, it will provide advice on possible initiatives to bring human resources to the Coalition and its initiatives and projects. In addition, it will offer advice on the design of profiles and the selection of personnel for the implementation of projects. Regarding materials, you will create databases, records, or any other useful tool to identify current literacy resources. For example, libraries, bookstores, and service providers, among others.
Board members will avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts between their personal or organizational interests and those of the Coalition when interacting, engaging with, or collaborating with external institutions or individuals. In addition, they undertake to reveal any potential, actual, or apparent conflicts of interest to the members of the Board of Directors and will refrain from participating in any decision on matters involving a potential conflict of interest, actual or apparent.
The members of the Board of Directors will protect the confidentiality of the information to which they have access or become aware as part of their work as a member of the Board of Directors. Confidential information shall mean confidential or proprietary information of any of the Members, allies, or third parties or property of the Coalition that includes, but is not limited to, technical or scientific information, financial or accounting information, any software information or similar products of the parties, allies, or third parties, any strategy information, research and development of products, programs or services of the parties, allies, or third parties, any plan or projection, list of customers, suppliers, price list and any other unpublished information related to the management of Members, allies, or third parties. Confidential Information does not include information that is generally known. Members understand that any violation of this confidentiality agreement shall be sufficient cause for immediate termination of their role on the Board of Directors and a cause of action by the parties or any of their affiliates.
The Coalition will have a Board of Directors composed of:
1. A person representing the entity acting as fiscal sponsor and operational support of the Coalition
2. A person representing each working group, as described in section IX of this document
3. Communication and Mobilization Committee
4. Policy and Practices Committee
5. Committee on External Evaluation and Data
6. Up to three persons representing different sectors that are part of the Coalition who has been selected by a vote of all the members of the Coalition
Diversity must be ensured among the members of the Board of Directors in terms of the organizations and sectors they represent. Diversity and succession in leadership positions within the Committees and the Board of Directors will be promoted. For this, a selection process will be carried out every two years by a majority of the members of the working committee to which they belong, the Plenary of members, or the active members of the Board of Directors, whichever corresponds in each case. However, to ensure the continuity of the work of the Coalition, the members will remain in office until a new selection process occurs.
The Board of Directors shall meet as many times as it deems necessary to discharge its functions, but never less than once a month. Work on the Board of Directors is voluntary.
VII. Fiscal sponsor and backbone organization
The Coalition is an initiative that seeks to align the efforts of different sectors to generate a collective impact in Puerto Rico. For this, will count with Flamboyan Foundation has the entity that will offer the necessary administrative, programmatic, financial, and legal support.
As the fiscal sponsor, Flamboyan Foundation will provide any administrative and operational support necessary for the Coalition to meet its objectives. Among other necessary matters, he will administer the Coalition's funds; evaluate and authorize any fundraising efforts; evaluate, authorize and conduct procurement on behalf of the Coalition; monitor and administer such contracts, as well as personnel hired to carry out or service functions of the Coalition; review the Coalition's work plans to ensure that they are consistent with the objectives and principles outlined herein and with its own legal structure and limitations so that the Coalition's efforts do not jeopardize its legal structure and contributory exemption; review and approve the Coalition's internal and external reports.
To cover the costs of performing this function, Flamboyan Foundation may receive compensation of between 4 and 10 percent of the funds received by the Coalition. Fundación Flamboyan may count on the support of a Trust Council composed of the coordinator and three fiduciary members who do not carry out fundraising efforts or provide services to the Coalition, to receive input and advice in the discharge of their functions.
VIII. Coordination and Administration
The Coalition will have a Coordinator, recruited, hired, and supervised by the entity that functions as a fiscal sponsor and will be responsible for the daily operations and administrative procedures necessary to achieve the goals, objectives, and activities of the Coalition. This person will coordinate and provide logistical support for all Coalition, Board of Directors, and working group meetings, including space preparation, invitations, presentations, and communications. It shall take or ensure that minutes of meetings are prepared and maintain documentation of all Coalition activities. Ensure alignment and coordination among all components of the Coalition, including communications between the Board of Directors, the Coalition, and the working groups. Assist in the development and dissemination of up-to-date and accurate information on the activities of the Coalition. It will develop work plans and other tools to facilitate the planning and coordination of the Coalition's work. Will manage projects, manage day-to-day implementation, and monitor the progress, among other matters necessary to achieve the Coalition's objectives.
IX. Working groups
The Coalition will have three working groups that will provide expertise, content, and direction in developing the Coalition's initiatives. The main responsibilities of the committees will be to identify and propose viable strategies to achieve the objectives and goals of the Coalition, promote the implementation of initiatives, and community participation and engagement. The working groups can activate other members of the different sectors of the Coalition to obtain their input when evaluating or designing their proposals or recommendations and to execute the initiatives. The Coalition Coordinator will coordinate the efforts of the working groups. Work in the committees is voluntary.
a. The Communication and Mobilization Committee shall consist of three to five members of the Coalition. The Committee will be in charge of designing the Coalition's internal and external communication strategies. Among other related matters, will keep coalition members informed of the status and achievements of the Coalition's work and initiatives. Document and gather information about the actions each organization or individual made in support of the Coalition's vision and mission to communicate the work history of the Coalition and its members, as well as to amplify the Coalition's message and efforts.
The Committee may recommend to the Board of Directors people who have the characteristics to serve as official spokespersons of the Collation. In addition, will prepare and support individuals designated by the Board of Directors as official spokespersons for the Coalition. Also, it will develop key messages, presentations, and other official content of the Coalition. At all times it will ensure that the messages are aligned with the vision and objectives of the Coalition as outlined in ¡Todos a Leer!, for the integrity of the image of the Coalition and that the contents generated reflect equity and inclusion.
b. The Policy and Practice Committee will consist of three to five members of the Coalition who are experts in literacy pedagogy, child education and development, and teacher professional development. The Committee will be in charge of recommending a work plan and following up on implementing the public policy recommendations included in the document Todos a Leer! It will evaluate initiatives proposed by members of the Coalition to ensure that they are aligned with the goals of the Coalition and ¡Todos a Leer!. It will serve as support to the personnel of the Department of Education and other government entities that implement policies and practices that affect the teaching and learning of literacy. It will stay up-to-date with the latest scientific developments and research in the area of literacy and those that relate to the goals of the Coalition. In addition, it will establish the indicators to outline the basis and measure the success of implementing public policy recommendations and adopting essential practices for teaching literacy in Puerto Rico. The committee may invite other members and experts to its meetings to carry out these tasks.
c. The External Evaluation and Data Committee shall consist of three to five members of the Coalition. The Committee will be in charge of designing an evaluation plan for the Roadmap and work plan of the Coalition, documenting the theory of change on which the Coalition's work is based, and monitoring and documenting its progress and success. As part of this, it will seek to collect and analyze information and data and evaluate the Coalition's work externally. To this end, it will issue recommendations to the Board of Directors on the scope of evaluations, the hiring, and the supervision of evaluators.
This memorandum shall be in force for three years from its signature. After that term, this document will be evaluated.