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How to Start a Preschool Program Operated by a Charter School

How to Start a Preschool Program Operated by a Charter School. By: Carlyn Obringer, Technical Assistance Manager, California Charter Schools Association carlyno@charterassociation.org 415-356-1200, ext. 416. Agenda. Why start a preschool program? Funding sources Licensing standards

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How to Start a Preschool Program Operated by a Charter School

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  1. How to Start a Preschool Program Operated by a Charter School By: Carlyn Obringer, Technical Assistance Manager, California Charter Schools Association carlyno@charterassociation.org 415-356-1200, ext. 416

  2. Agenda • Why start a preschool program? • Funding sources • Licensing standards • Staff credentialing requirements • Program length • Curriculum • Accreditation

  3. The Research Is In… • Well-designed preschool programs serving children one or two years before kindergarten entry can: • Improve measures of school readiness • Raise academic achievement test performance in the early elementary grades • Provide students with academic and social skills needed to experience success in kindergarten and beyond

  4. Parent Involvement • Charter-operated preschools can: • Serve as one component of a larger community development strategy • Help to support families in the areas of health and education counseling • Get parents involved in their child’s educational process as early as possible

  5. Preschool Funding • Locating funding sources is the first issue to undertake when starting a preschool • Tuition-based model is the most sustainable • State and federal funding streams barely cover operating expenses and can be negatively impacted by budget cuts • Private donations and annual fundraising can help cover additional costs and sustain and grow programs

  6. Preschool Funding: State • CDE is the most likely source of Pre-K funding • Funding targets children from economically disadvantaged families or other risk factors • www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/csppwebcast.asp

  7. CDE-Administered Child Development Programs • Alternative Payment Program • CalWORKS • California State Preschool Program • Prekindergarten and Family Literacy • Migrant Child Care and Development • California School Age Families • Education

  8. Alternative Payment Program • Aims to increase parental choice • APP providers arrange and make payment for services directly to a preschool program • Charter-operated preschools can receive reimbursement dollars on a regular monthly basis for eligible children by partnering with an established APP provider • The Statewide Standard Reimbursement Rate is $685 per child per month • Contact a local APP provider and request inclusion on their list of approved child care centers

  9. California Work Opportunity & Responsibility to Kids • Administered by the California Department of Social Services through county welfare departments • Refers families to resource agencies to find preschool programs offering wraparound care • Some CWDs pay Pre-Kindergarten providers directly for services • Others sub-contract with APPs for payment

  10. Part-day State Preschool Program • Supports part-day preschool programs • Funded at the rate of $21.22 per student, per day • Must operate for at least 175 days a year • Must operate a minimum of 3 hours, but less than • 4 hours • At least 50 % of the children enrolled must be 4 • Can receive funding for two sets of students, if • operating separate morning and afternoon sessions • www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/csppwebcast.asp

  11. Full-day State Preschool Program • Supports full-day Pre-Kindergarten programs • Must operate for at least 246 days a year • Funded at the rate of $34.38 per student, per day • At least 50 % of the children enrolled must be 4 • Higher rate of funding available per child requiring more care • www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/csppwebcast.asp

  12. Prekindergarten and Family Literacy Program • Supports half-day (CPKP) and full-day (CPKF) programs • CPKP is funded at $21.22 per child, per day • CPKF is funded at $21.22 per child for the 1st 4 hours of the day and at $34.38 for the 2nd part of the day and for any day the program is operated beyond the regular school year

  13. Pre-K and Family Literacy Program (Continued) • Must be located in attendance area of elementary schools in deciles 1 to 3 • At least 50 % of the children enrolled must be 4 • Children served must come from families that meet income eligibility criteria • Half-day programs must operate at least 175 days • Full-day programs must operate at least 246 days

  14. State Funding Requirements • To benefit from state funding: • A preschool must adhere to Title 5 licensing requirements • Undergo an ECERS-R Assessment • All curriculum must meet CDE standards • Programs must be fully enrolled

  15. State Funding Availability • Partnering with an Alternative Payment Program or a county welfare department is always an option • State Preschool Program funds are only accessible at times determined by state budget conditions • Keep up-to-date on the latest available funding opportunities by signing up for the CDE Funding mailing list at: • www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/af/joinlist.asp

  16. Preschool Funding: Tuition • Many schools charge tuition for preschool • Options include: • Charging full tuition • Charging a sliding scale fee indexed to family incomes for the wraparound care provided during a full day • Offering a before-and-after school program, with the preschool offered as a fee for service

  17. Preschool Funding: Philanthropy • Identify foundations with a history of or an interest in funding a preschool program • Not all foundations fund all program aspects • A charter may need to piece together funds for the various aspects of its preschool from a number of sources • Experienced charters recommend approaching potential funders as early as possible

  18. Child Care Licensing Standards • All Pre-Kindergarten programs must be licensed by the California Community Care Licensing Division • The Division complies with Title 22 regulations • www.dss.cahwnet.gov/ord/PG587.htm

  19. Licensing for Preschools Receiving State Funds • State funded Pre-Kindergarten programs must adhere to Title 5 licensing requirements which have stricter: • Teacher-child ratios • Adult-child ratios • AND • Teacher permitting requirements

  20. Licensing Process • Involves at least a year of preparation • Includes : • Attending a series of orientations covering the child care center license application process • Filling out and filing an application booklet • Submitting a non-refundable application fee

  21. Application Materials • Required Application Materials Include: • Application for Child Care Center License • Criminal Record Statement • Designation of Facility Responsibility • Administrative Organization • Monthly Operating Statement • Balance Sheet • Financial Release and Verification • Personnel Report • Health Verification • Emergency Disaster Plan • Earthquake Preparedness Checklist • Facility Sketch • Local Fire Inspection Authority Information

  22. Supportive Documentation • Required Supportive Documentation Includes: • Articles of Incorporation • Verification of preschool director and teacher Early Childhood Education (ECE) units and director’s units in administration or staff relations • Job Descriptions • Personnel Policies • In-service Training for Staff • Parent Handbook • Schedule of Daily Activities • Admission Agreement • Sample Menu • List of Furniture/Play Equipment • Control of Property • Bacteriological Analysis of Private Water Supply

  23. Licensing Process (Continued) • All application materials must be submitted within 90 days • Incomplete application notification will be sent after 90 days • Applications not completed within 30 days of such notice shall be deemed withdrawn • Applications meeting all requirements shall be issued a license for a specific capacity • The Community Care Licensing Division can issue a provisional license for a maximum of 90 days

  24. Tips for Successful Licensing • Helpful to develop a good relationship with a state licensing representative before starting a preschool • Close collaboration with a state licensing representative can help a preschool open on time • It can be beneficial to hire a consultant to assist with the license application • A good licensing consultant will meet regularly with Pre-Kindergarten staff members and can help determine the program’s capacity and review the proposed facility ahead of application submission

  25. Credentials & Certifications • A charter-operated preschool must provide evidence that its staff members are properly credentialed • The director, teacher and teacher aide must complete courses in accordance with Title 22 before working at a preschool • State subsidized preschools must meet Title 5 requirements which set stricter staff qualifications than Title 22

  26. Title 22: Preschool Director Certification • • High School Diploma or GED • • 15 semester units in Early Childhood Education (ECE), with at least 3 units in Administration/Staff relations and 12 units in Early Childhood Development • • Four years teaching experience in a licensed child care center • OR • • Two years of experience if the director has an AA degree with a major in child development • OR • • Child Development Site Supervisor permit or Child Development Program Director permit issued by the CCTC • AND • CPR/First Aid Certification

  27. Title 5: Preschool Director Certification • • Children’s Center Supervision • OR • • Child Development Program Director Permit • = • BA • 24 units of ECE/CD • 6 units in administration • 2 units of adult supervision

  28. Title 22: Fully Qualified Instructor Certification • • 2 postsecondary semester units in ECE classes covering child growth and development • • 6 months of work experience in a licensed child care center • • 15 hours of health and safety training

  29. Title 5: Teacher • • Child Development Teacher Permit • = • • 24 units of ECE/CD • • 16 General Education units

  30. Teacher Aide Qualifications • 18 years of age • High school diploma OR • Participating in an occupational program at high school

  31. Optional Certifications • Teachers: • • CPR/First Aid Certification • Child Development Associate credential • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education • Teacher Aides: • Six Early Childhood Education approved units

  32. Teacher Recruitment • Post openings with the chartering district’s HR department • Attend job fairs at trade schools and colleges • Place assistant Pre-K teachers in a pool for consideration of full-time teaching positions upon completion of a childhood education program • Advertise jobs on EDJOIN • Contact Teach for America

  33. Problem: Teacher Retention • Retaining highly qualified preschool instructors is challenging because: • Salaries are lower than those of K-12 instructors • The more qualified the instructor, the higher the salary a school must pay • New teachers train with a good preschool, then leave for a place where they can earn more money

  34. Solution: Equitable Compensation & Benefits • Offering equitable compensation and benefits for teachers and their families can: • Help recruit and retain highly qualified instructors • Stabilize the work environment by reducing turnover • Stem the high burnout rate common among Pre-K workers

  35. Length of Program • Program options include: • Half-day • Full-day • Half-day with wraparound care • Some combination of the three • Full-day strictly educational program

  36. Example: Half-Day w/Optional Wraparound Care Option 1: Child attends free half-day Pre-K program, then goes home Option 2: Child attends free half-day Pre-K , then stays for day care, where tuition is charged Option 3: Child attends free half-day Pre-K, then stays for free day care, both funded by the California State Preschool Program Note: Maintaining full enrollment of a half-day program is becoming more difficult as many families have two working parents

  37. Length of Program (Continued) • Program length is often subject to funding • confines • Sustainable funding is needed: • To offer wraparound services • To expand from a half-day to a full-day • program for low-income families, without • charging tuition

  38. Curriculum • Preschools receiving state funding must implement Prekindergarten Learning Development Guidelines established by the CDE including: • Supporting children’s social and emotional development • Providing for the development of each child’s cognitive and language skills • Promoting each child’s physical development via sufficient time, indoor & outdoor space, equipment, materials & guidelines for active play & movement • www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/prekguide.asp

  39. Curriculum (continued) • California Preschool Learning Foundations released in January 2008 • Aligned with California’s Kindergarten Standards • Provide a clear understanding of what children should know after completing their first or second year of preschool • Implementation required by 2011-2012 school year, by all state-funded Pre-K programs • www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/documents/preschoollf.pdf

  40. Pre-K Curricular Approaches • Curricular approaches for Pre-K students include: • Creative Curriculum • Dual language immersion • Montessori • Reggio Emilia • Waldorf

  41. ECERS-R • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-R) assesses the quality of a preschool environment • Required for state-funded Pre-K programs • Minimal scores can be used: 1) to indicate areas for emphasis in training and learning • 2) as a pre and post test measure to assess the impact of teacher training and continuing education • and each item is ranked from 1 (inadequate) to 7 (excellent).

  42. ECERS-R (continued) • Features a 43 item scale covering: •  Personal Care Routines Space and Furnishings Language-Reasoning Activities Interactions •  Program Structure •  Parents and Staff • Each item is ranked from 1 (inadequate) to 7 (excellent)

  43. Program Accreditation • Not required • Way to differentiate charter-operated preschool programs as providers of high quality early childhood education • Can serve as a means of accountability • Recommended as a best practice

  44. One Option: NAEYC Accreditation • To achieve accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, preschool programs must: • Serve a minimum of 10 children • Operate for at least one year • Have proof of a license • Certify inspection by local fire and health authorities • Certify that all state and federal laws concerning background checks for staff have been complied with • Certify that no individuals convicted of a crime involving sexual abuse or child abuse or neglect have been employed • Meet NAEYC's 10 early childhood program standards • www.naeyc.org/

  45. Conclusion • No cookie cutter approach to starting a charter-operated preschool • Securing a stable funding stream can be challenging • Retaining highly qualified teachers is tough • Carefully considering what length of program you can feasibly offer is important • Accreditation can help differentiate charter-operated preschools

  46. It’s worth it! • Numerous studies have demonstrated that preschool can: • Help prevent learning difficulties • Diminish the need for costly remediation • SO… • All the effort is worth it!  

  47. Questions?

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