Interested in Becoming a First Class Pre-K Provider?
Thank you for your interest in becoming a state-funded First Class Pre-K provider. Alabama's state funded pre-k program, First Class, is administered through the Alabama Department of Children's Affairs Office of School Readiness.
Alabama’s First Class pre-k is recognized as one of the highest-quality state pre-k programs in the country by the National Institute for Early Education Research. First Class Pre-K currently serves approximately 10% of Alabama’s four-year-olds in a mixed delivery system, with high-quality classrooms located in public schools, private schools, private child care centers, Head Start centers, and other types of settings (nonprofit / college / community / faith-based / military). Below is some information that you might find helpful as you explore the possibility of applying for a First Class grant as part of statewide pre-k expansion.
Timeline and Updates
The Office of School Readiness grant process occurs in the Spring. Please join ASRA's email list to receive updates on this process and pre-k advocacy opportunities: http://www.alabamaschoolreadiness.org/pages/?pageID=46.
Overview of Eligible First Class Providers and Grant Structure
First Class Pre-K is administered by the Office of School Readiness in the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs. First Class program sites are determined through a competitive grant process and can include public schools, private child care centers, Head Start centers, faith-based centers, colleges and universities, community organizations, and military agencies.
The Office of School Readiness provides grants ranging from $45,000 - $120,000 to programs to administer high-quality pre-k classrooms. OSR closely monitors grantees throughout the school year and provides professional development, coaching and assessments free of charge to grantees. In 2013, three types of grant awards were given to support 93 new First Class classrooms: excellence grants ($45,000 to raise the quality of existing pre-k classrooms), tiered grants ($80,000 - $100,000 based on percentage of free and reduced lunch students), and PLUS grants to start up brand new classrooms ($120,000 one-time only grants). Programs receiving excellence grants may charge any tuition they wish; programs receiving the other types of grants are allowed to charge limited parent tuition based on a sliding scale. Grantees must provide a 25% local match of the grant award. Matching funds can be private or public, and can include in-kind contributions such as facilities.
Operating Guidelines for First Class Providers
A link to the comprehensive operating guidelines (including program quality and learning standards) for First Class providers can be found on the Office of School Readiness website. In order to successfully apply for pre-k funding, programs must meet all of the guidelines outlined in this document.
For more details and contact information, please visit the Department of Children's Affairs website, children.alabama.gov.