Today, Mayor Ed Murray transmitted his plan to implement the voter-approved Seattle Preschool Program to the city council.
The implementation plan provides details about how the preschool program will be rolled out, and how it will work toward meeting its goal of closing the achievement gap for Seattle’s youngest learners.
“Included in this implementation plan are the key ingredients to creating a successful program that will make a difference in the lives of young children and their families across our city,” said Murray. “With the plan’s focus on quality, we’re working to ensure that the children participating in the Seattle Preschool Program will be ready for school and have the foundation to succeed in school and life.”
To form the plan, the Department of Education and Early Learning conducted significant community outreach – holding seven meetings across the city and conducting online surveys in order to gather community priorities and values on key issues.
The implementation plan outlines how the city will select qualified preschool providers, and how those providers will be supported in raising or sustaining their classroom quality.
“Unfortunately, many children in our community don’t have access to quality programs. By expanding access through the Seattle Preschool Program, Seattle is ensuring that all children in our city will enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive,” said Brianna Jackson of the Community Day School Association. “The Seattle Preschool Program is a great first step toward closing the achievement gap and assuring that all children have the skills needed to succeed in school and beyond.”
The City will select preschools by prioritizing programs that serve areas of the city with the most need for quality early learning programs, those that can meet the needs of low-income and working families, and those that can demonstrate evidence of high-quality classrooms.
The plan also lays a path for enrollment and how children will be selected and assigned to attend Seattle Preschool Program classrooms.
The City will begin selecting preschools in Spring 2015, and the first classrooms will open in Fall of 2015, serving as many as 280 children.