“Preschool Expansion in New Jersey’s Public Schools”
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“Preschool Expansion in New Jersey’s Public Schools” Regional Meetings April 2008 New Jersey Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education Ellen Wolock David Joye. Ellen Wolock NJ Department of Education. The plan for the day. Why expand preschool programs?

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Preschool expansion

“Preschool Expansion in New Jersey’s Public Schools”

Regional Meetings April 2008

New Jersey Department of Education

Division of Early Childhood Education

Ellen Wolock

David Joye

Ellen Wolock

NJ Department of Education

The plan for the day

The plan for the day

  • Why expand preschool programs?

  • Preschool programs in the Abbott districts

  • How are the Abbotts doing?

  • NJ Preschool Expansion (SFRA of 2008)

  • District Plans and Budgets

  • Questions

Why expand preschool in nj

Why expand preschool in NJ?

“Intensive preschool and full-day kindergarten enrichment programs are necessary to reverse the educational disadvantages these children start out with.”

  • Abbott v. Burke, 1998

Why expand preschool in nj1

Why expand preschool in NJ?

  • High-quality preschool has been shown to:

  • dramatically raise children’s abilities at school entry,

  • increase early and later achievement test scores,

  • reduce grade repetition and placement in special education,

  • and boost graduation rates.

Three longitudinal studies

Three longitudinal studies

  • High/Scope Perry Preschool study (Schweinhart et al., 1993; Barnett, 1996)

  • Abecedarian study (Ramey et al., 2000; Ramey & Campbell, 1984; Campbell et al., 2002)

  • Chicago Child-Parent Center study (Reynolds, 2000).

Perry economic effects at age 27

Perry Economic Effects at Age 27

Source: Schweinhart, Lawrence J., Weikart, David P.

Lasting Differences: The High/Scope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study Through Age 23

Abecedarian outcomes at 21

Abecedarian Outcomes at 21

Source:Barnett, W.S.

National Institute for Early Education Research

Cpc outcomes at school exit

CPC Outcomes at School Exit

Source:Barnett, W.S.

National Institute for Early Education Research

The abbott preschool program

The Abbott Preschool Program

Components of the abbott program

Components of the Abbott Program

  • A certified teacher and an assistant for each class;

  • Maximum class size of 15 students;

  • Developmentally appropriate curriculum;

  • Adequate facilities;

  • Full-day (6 hour educational day), 180-day program;

  • Coaches for teachers;

Components of the abbott program1

Components of the Abbott Program

  • Transportation, health and other related services as needed;

  • Support for preschool children with potential developmental and learning difficulties; and

  • Work with public school, Head Start and private childcare programs (with leadership by school districts)

Abbott preschool program in the beginning

Abbott Preschool Program in the beginning

  • Low enrollment-19,000 out of estimated 54,000

  • Few certified teachers

  • Few teachers with bachelor’s degrees

  • Piecemeal curricula

  • Low quality, as measured by the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale

Preschool expansion

  • Developed Program Guidelines and Standards for all components

  • Used a Continuous Improvement Cycle to ensure Implementation

Child assessment tools

Child Assessment Tools

  • Performance assessment to drive instruction (expectations/standards-based)

  • Appropriate use of screening tools

  • Outside evaluations of the impact of the program on children’s development and learning

Classroom quality assessment tools

Classroom Quality Assessment Tools

  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R)

  • Supports for Early Literacy Assessment

  • Preschool Classroom Mathematics Inventory

  • Supports for English Language Learners Classroom Assessment

  • Curriculum implementation tools

District assessment tools

District Assessment Tools

  • Self Assessment Validation System (SAVS), based on the Abbott Preschool Program Implementation Guidelines.

  • District-administered evaluations of classroom environments, activities, interactions, ELL supports, math, literacy practices.

How are the abbotts doing

How are the Abbotts Doing?

Enrollment includes preschool children with special needs

Enrollment (includes preschool children with special needs)

Percentage universe served the court set a marker of 90

Percentage Universe Served: The Court set a marker of 90%

  • 74% of the 3-year-old children in the Abbott districts

  • 87% of the 4-year-old children in the Abbott districts

Teacher qualifications

Teacher Qualifications

  • All teachers have a bachelor’s degree (BA) and appropriate certification.

  • As of December 1 of this year, the Praxis for the Preschool Through Third Grade Certificate was required.

  • Looking at requiring a Child Development Associate credential for teacher assistants.

Classroom quality the early childhood environment rating scale revised harms clifford and cryer

Classroom QualityThe Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (Harms, Clifford and Cryer)

1= Inadequate

3= Minimal

5= Good

7= Excellent

Classroom quality the early childhood environment rating scale revised harms clifford and cryer1

Classroom QualityThe Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (Harms, Clifford and Cryer)

In 2000, the average for Abbott preschools was 3.86

In 2007, the average for Abbott preschools was 5.03

Preschool expansion

space & furnishings averages: 3.73 (2000) 4.90 (2007)

Preschool expansion

personal care averages: 3.98 (2000) 4.30 (2007)

Preschool expansion

language & reasoning averages: 3.74 (2000) 5.08 (2007)

Preschool expansion

activities averages: 3.18 (2000) 4.62 (2007)

Preschool expansion

Interactions averages: 4.47 (2000) 6.16 (2007)

Preschool expansion

program structure averages: 3.86 (2000) 5.41 (2007)

Preschool expansion

parents and staff averages: 4.59 (2000) 5.38 (2007)

How are the children doing

How are the children doing?

  • Children who attended the program performed statistically significantly better on language and math measures than those who did not.

  • At the end of kindergarten these differences were still observed (the 1st grade data is nearly ready).

  • Children who attended preschool for two years perform nearly double that of children who do not attend preschool on measures of language and 70% better on math measures.

Nj preschool expansion

NJ Preschool Expansion

Preschool expansion

Preschool Expansion

  • School Funding Reform Act of 2008

    • Major changes to school funding.

    • Expansion of high-quality preschool to at-risk three- and four-year olds in districts throughout the state.

    • Preschool Education Aid

      • Based on projected enrollment and per pupil amount.

      • Adjusted for enrollment in the subsequent year.

    • Appropriate in a special revenue fund for expenditure (restricted).

Preschool expansion1

Preschool Expansion

  • All at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds to attend Abbott-quality preschool programs.

  • Universal preschool for 3- or 4-year-olds in “A” and “B” districts and “CD” districts with an at-risk concentration of at least 40%.

  • Targeted preschool in all other districts for all at-risk three- and four-year-olds.

Preschool expansion2

Preschool Expansion

  • Universe calculations:

    • Universal districts = 1st grade times two

    • Targeted districts = 1st grade times two times % of free and reduced (k-12)

Preschool expansion


  • Fully implemented over 6 years:

    • 30,000 more children, bringing preschool enrollment to 70,000 children.

    • Funding increases to $330 million, bringing total preschool funding for $850 million.

    • Reach at least 90% of the eligible population in all districts within six years.

Abbott quality program

Abbott-quality Program

  • Small class sizes,

  • Certified classroom teachers and teacher assistants,

  • Coaching & Mentoring: Master teachers,

  • Comprehensive preschool curriculum,

  • Social Services: Social workers, outreach programs, etc.

Abbott quality program1

Abbott-quality Program

  • Mixed delivery system

    • In-district

    • Providers

    • Head Start

  • Send-receive, tuition, special education



  • Per pupil amounts:

    • Detailed line item budget data

    • Adjustments for geographic cost differences

    • Costs for district-wide administration of these programs is included in the per pupil amounts



  • Three statewide costs:

    • Provider-based programs: $12,934,

    • In-district programs: $11,506,

    • Head Start programs: $7,146

Preschool expansion3

Preschool Expansion

  • 2008-2009 is a planning year for almost all districts.

  • Districts must submit a five year plan for implementation of full day preschool for all eligible 3- and 4-year-olds.

  • Annual updates of the plan.

District preschool status 2008 2009

District Preschool Status2008-2009

  • 2008-2009 Abbott budgets approved. Will not receive less $ in the future.

  • ECPAs not receiving preschool expansion aid will receive at least the same preschool aid as 07-08 per pupil

  • Districts receiving ELLI aid in 07-08 will receive the same preschool aid in 08-09 that the district received in 07-08.

District preschool status 2008 20091

District Preschool Status2008-2009

  • State aid notices went out with these figures pre-filled.

  • Planning year for districts receiving no preschool aid in 07-08.

Ecpa district expansion

ECPA District Expansion

  • The School Funding Reform Act of 2008 allows Early Childhood Program Aid (ECPA) districts who feel that they are ready to expand in 2008-2009 to apply for approval from the Commissioner.

Ecpa 2008 2009 district expansion

ECPA 2008-2009 District Expansion

ECPA districts wishing to expand must:

  • Offer full day/full school year program,

  • Have teachers with appropriate certification,

  • Serve both 3- and 4-year-old children,

  • Serve at least 20% of the eligible universe of 3- and 4-year-olds, and at least 20% of those children must be 3-year-olds,

  • Have 15 children in a class, with one teacher and one teacher assistant

  • Meet the Abbott preschool quality standards as outlined in New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:10A

Ecpa districts planning to expand

ECPA Districts Planning to Expand

  • Plan and budget documents are being distributed, and will be due to the Division of Early Childhood Education and copied to the County Offices on May 30, 2008

Preschool expansion

District Plans and Budgets

The five year plan budget

The Five Year Plan & Budget

  • During late Fall 2008 and early Winter 2009, plans will be accepted

  • The plan will be for 5 years, and annually updated

First five steps

First Five Steps

1. Estimate your universe

Preschool expansion

2. Get to know the following documents:

  • New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:10A


  • Abbott Preschool Program Implementation Guidelines


  • New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Expectations


Preschool expansion

3. Consider your preschool resources:

  • Identify staff members with the appropriate preschool experience to begin the planning process

  • Visit schools, private provider and Head Start sites to determine where preschool children can be served


Preschool expansion

4. Get to know the preschool curricula:

  • High/Scope

  • Creative Curriculum

  • Curiosity Corner

  • Tools of the Mind

  • Bank Street

Preschool expansion

5.Start designing the preschool plan

  • Administrative oversight and staffing

  • Recruitment and Outreach

  • Intervention and Support Services

  • Health and Nutrition Services

  • Family Involvement

  • Curriculum and Assessment

  • Transition

  • Facilities

  • Program Evaluation

  • Community Collaboration

  • Fiscal Oversight

  • Budget

What we re doing to help

What We’re Doing to Help

  • Statewide Preschool Needs Assessment

  • Curriculum Showcase

  • Overviews of Administrative Code and preschool implementation guidance

  • TA sessions on completing plans

  • Web site updates, Q & A



Our website:


Dave Joye


Ellen Wolock


Karen Nemeth


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