Monday, March 17, 2014

DEL issues request for applications for preschool expansion

Today, the Department of Early Learning (DEL) released the application for preschool expansion for the 2014-15 school year. The Legislature funded 1,350 additional slots for next school year (in addition to 350 new slots for the 2013-14 school year). Preschool for eligible children will become a statutory entitlement in school year 2018-19, and state lawmakers are making incremental investments in expanding preschool.

The 1,350 new slots give our state the opportunity for innovation. Our goal is to provide a high-quality, full-day and extended full-day program to as many at-risk 3- and 4-year-old children as possible. Research shows that quality and "dosage" are two key factors to ensure school readiness. 

DEL is planning to implement a new combined funding model to support full-day models in Washington. This new funding strategy braids ECEAP and Working Connections Child Care subsidy funding at the state level (at DEL) and provides successful applicants with a single contract based on a combined cost per child for a year of service. DEL also will develop a single set of standards and monitoring system, so that contractors will have one system of reporting that meets both ECEAP and Working Connections Child Care subsidy requirements.
Building on the success, experience and expertise of the current ECEAP program, this first phase of expansion includes implementing a new full-day preschool model, an extended-day model for full-time working families, as well as opportunities for successful applicants to provide input into the development of other future preschool model components such as flexible/portable comprehensive services and curriculum requirements. 

Overview of preschool options
View the request for applications here. DEL will announce awards in June, and provide ongoing webinars and technical assistance to applicants.

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