Applications Open For Pilot Pre-K Providers

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The state is now accepting applications from early learning providers in five counties for its pre-kindergarten pilot program. The initiative, called "On My Way Pre-K," involves grants for 4-year-olds from low-income families. November 12, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Starting today, Indiana's Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) is officially inviting high-quality, early learning providers in Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh Counties to apply to be among the first "On My Way Pre-K" providers in the state of Indiana. Requirements for eligible providers, the application and other forms are now posted to OECOSL's On My Way Pre-K website: http://www.in.gov/fssa/4899.htm

On My Way Pre-K is the new name of Indiana's state-funded prekindergarten pilot program, which will award grants to 4-year-olds from low-income families who live in one of the five pilot counties. These families can use the grants to access a high-quality prekindergarten program in the school year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use it at any approved On My Way Pre-K provider.

"Beginning to enroll early learning providers in On My Way Pre-K marks a significant milestone in our mission to provide high-quality early education for lower-income students in Indiana," said Melanie Brizzi, Director of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. "We look forward to engaging as many programs as possible to help us open the doors to new learning opportunities for Hoosier children."

"This is an exciting opportunity for early learning providers in these select counties to be on the launching pad of this program which is a first for Indiana," added Dr. John Wernert, Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

The state will accept provider applications throughout the pilot program; however, eligible early learning programs are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Information will be available next week to let families know how they may apply to receive a grant. Families with pre-K grants will begin selecting an approved On My Way Pre-K program starting December 15, 2014, and will enroll their child to begin attending a prekindergarten program in January.

The first round of On My Way Pre-K grants will be awarded in January 2015 to 4–year-olds who will start kindergarten in the fall of 2015.

In order to be an approved On My Way Pre-K Program, providers must meet the following requirements:

-Community-based programs including Head Start, licensed centers, licensed family homes and registered ministries must be rated at Level 3 or Level 4 of Paths to QUALITY (Click here for info: http://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/2554.htm)

-Public schools, including charter schools must be rated Level 3 or Level 4 of Paths to QUALITY (Click here for info: http://www.in.gov/fssa/4926.htm)

-Private or non-public schools must be accredited by a regional or national pre-K accrediting body recognized by the State Board of Education or Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) (Go to Levels of Quality (http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/choice/2013-03-05-choicescholaccred.pdf) or Choice of Scholarship Program (http://www.in.gov/fssa/pathstoquality/3731.htm) to find qualifying accreditations.)

Additionally:

-Eligible programs as defined above must complete the enrollment process with FSSA

-Eligible programs must be located in one of the five pre-K counties (Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh)

-Programs must be an approved vendor of the State

-Programs must sign a provider agreement affirming that they will

-Participate in the longitudinal evaluation

-Complete the required child assessments including the ISTAR-KR at least twice throughout the program year, including the completion of required registration paperwork and agreements with Indiana Department of Education

-Require minimum attendance by students receiving the pre-K Grant

-Offer parent engagement activities throughout the year to parents of children enrolled in the pre-K Program

-Maintain eligibility throughout the program year

-Complete all required reports, including the submittal of claim forms, as required by the State

If you are an eligible early learning program and wish to enroll as an approved On My Way Pre-K Program please complete the application (http://www.in.gov/fssa/files/On_My_Way_PreK_Provider_App.pdf) and find required vendor forms here: http://www.in.gov/fssa/4931.htm

The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is a division of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

Source: The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration