How to Start a Preschool Program Operated by a Charter School
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How to Start a Preschool Program Operated by a Charter School. By: Carlyn Obringer, Technical Assistance Manager, California Charter Schools Association 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

By: Carlyn Obringer,

Technical Assistance Manager,

California Charter Schools Association

415-356-1200, ext. 416

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Agenda School

  • Why start a preschool program?

  • Funding sources

  • Licensing standards

  • Staff credentialing requirements

  • Program length

  • Curriculum

  • Accreditation

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The Research Is In… School

  • 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

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Parent Involvement School

  • 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

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Preschool Funding School

  • 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

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Preschool Funding: State School

  • CDE is the most likely source of Pre-K funding

  • Funding targets children from economically disadvantaged families or other risk factors


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CDE-Administered Child SchoolDevelopment Programs

  • Alternative Payment Program

  • CalWORKS

  • California State Preschool Program

  • Prekindergarten and Family Literacy

  • Migrant Child Care and Development

  • California School Age Families

  • Education

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Alternative Payment Program School

  • 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

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California Work Opportunity & Responsibility to Kids School

  • 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

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Part-day State Preschool Program School

  • 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


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Full-day State Preschool Program School

  • 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


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Prekindergarten and Family SchoolLiteracy 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

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Pre-K and Family Literacy Program (Continued) School

  • 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

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State Funding Requirements School

  • 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

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State Funding Availability School

  • 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:


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Preschool Funding: Tuition School

  • 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

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Preschool Funding: Philanthropy School

  • 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

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Child Care Licensing Standards School

  • All Pre-Kindergarten programs must be licensed by the California Community Care Licensing Division

  • The Division complies with Title 22 regulations


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Licensing for Preschools Receiving State Funds School

  • 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

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Licensing Process School

  • 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

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Application Materials School

  • 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

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Supportive Documentation School

  • 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

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Licensing Process (Continued) School

  • 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

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Tips for Successful Licensing School

  • 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

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Credentials & Certifications School

  • 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

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Title 22: Preschool Director Certification School

  • • 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

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Title 5: Preschool Director Certification School

  • • 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

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Title 22: Fully Qualified Instructor Certification School

  • • 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

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Title 5: Teacher School

  • • Child Development Teacher Permit

  • =

  • • 24 units of ECE/CD

  • • 16 General Education units

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Teacher Aide Qualifications School

• 18 years of age

• High school diploma


• Participating in an occupational program at high school

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Optional Certifications School

  • Teachers:

  • • CPR/First Aid Certification

  • Child Development Associate credential

  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

  • Teacher Aides:

  • Six Early Childhood Education approved units

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Teacher Recruitment School

  • 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

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Problem: Teacher Retention School

  • 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

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Solution: Equitable Compensation & Benefits School

  • 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

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Length of Program School

  • Program options include:

  • Half-day

  • Full-day

  • Half-day with wraparound care

  • Some combination of the three

  • Full-day strictly educational program

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Example: Half-Day w/Optional Wraparound Care School

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

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Length of Program (Continued) School

  • 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

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Curriculum School

  • 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


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Curriculum (continued) School

  • 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


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Pre-K Curricular Approaches School

  • Curricular approaches for Pre-K students include:

  • Creative Curriculum

  • Dual language immersion

  • Montessori

  • Reggio Emilia

  • Waldorf

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ECERS-R School

  • 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).

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ECERS-R (continued) School

  • 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)

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Program Accreditation School

  • 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

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One Option: NAEYC SchoolAccreditation

  • 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


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Conclusion School

  • 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

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It’s worth it! School

  • Numerous studies have demonstrated that preschool can:

  • Help prevent learning difficulties

  • Diminish the need for costly remediation

  • SO…

  • All the effort is worth it!  

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Questions? School