In celebration of DiscoverU 2020, a week of college and career exploration, we’re featuring an interview with Rory Gill, Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Teacher at Daybreak Star Preschool and recipient of the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy funded SPP teacher scholarship.[Read more…]
The Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) Provider Facilities Fund Request for Investment (RFI) is now OPEN!
The Department of Education and Early Learning is excited to announce the opening of the SPP Providers Facilities Fund Request for Investment (RFI) funding opportunity as part of the Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise Levy, passed by voters in 2018.
To be considered for funding, applicants are invited to apply by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
- The 2020-21 SPP Provider Facilities Fund RFI has approximately $800,000 available to support child care facility expansion and renovation projects for use in Seattle Preschool Program.
- Home-, center-, and school-based providers who contract with DEEL as providers of SPP or SPP Pathway are eligible to apply.
- Funds are awarded through a competitive application process.
DEEL will host two informational webinars on Thursday, October 22, 2020, on the Webex platform. Webex meeting links are provided below.
Click HERE to learn more about this funding opportunity and access RFI documents.
A brand-new DEEL newsletter has launched! This department resource will provide a closer look at the investments the City of Seattle is making in education—from early learning to postsecondary.
In this first issue, we’re covering how our investments and our partners are pivoting for a school year unlike any other we’ve known. As our city continues to navigate COVID-19 and build toward recovery, DEEL is working with our partners to adapt to the challenges before us with innovation, collaboration, and a sharp focus on racial equity.
Here’s a closer look at what’s in the Fall 2020 issue:
- Director’s Welcome Letter
- Investment Features
- Seattle Preschool Program
- K-12 Investments
- School Based Health Centers
- Kingmakers of Seattle
- Community Partner Features
- ACE Academy
- Seed of Life: Emergency Child Care Provider
- Department Features
- DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle Reconfirmed
- Staff Spotlight: Communications & External Affairs
- Student and Family Resources
- Home Learning Resources for Early Learners
- School-Age Child Care
- Teen Resource Hubs
- Seattle Public Schools Resources: Student Meals, Technology Support, and Drive-Thru Flu Clinics
- Remote Learning Resources from Seattle Public Library
- Calendar and Events of Interest
- Upcoming Trainings for Preschool Teachers and Providers
- Upcoming Funding Opportunities for Seattle Preschool Program
To receive future issues of the DEEL newsletter, sign up on DEEL’s mailing list.
UPDATE: Event video replay here.
Join us on Monday, August 31, at 4:30 p.m. for our live, virtual Parent Q & A Event to get your questions answered about Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) offerings this fall. Access the meeting here. Click “Join by browser” to bypass the app download.
Hear from SPP staff and providers about changes to SPP programming this fall, reduced and free tuition options, and health and safety guidance for preschool during COVID-19. Parents will also be able to ask questions in our Webex virtual meeting platform.
To apply for SPP, click here.
Jenny A. Durkan, Mayor
Dwane Chappelle, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2020
Contact: Marissa Rousselle, email@example.com, 206-773-7307
Seattle Preschool Program Enrolling for Fall with Free and Reduced Tuition Options
City offers families multiple early learning options during COVID-19 pandemic
SEATTLE (August 25) – The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) is announcing modifications to the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) for the 2020-2021 school year in response to COVID-19. SPP programming will be available this fall in one of three programming options: in-person, 100 percent remote, or a hybrid option of both in-person and remote.[Read more…]
As summer started in Seattle, the city made several transitions marking a new season. These included COVID-adapted high school and college graduation ceremonies, as well as King County’s transition to Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start recovery plan.
On June 30, another transition happened. The emergency order establishing the City of Seattle’s Emergency Child Care (ECC) program for essential workers expired and families transitioned from ECC to summer care options.
The ECC program, developed in only a few weeks’ time during COVID’s early days, was officially launched on March 27 with an emergency order from Mayor Durkan. The program was funded using repurposed Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) levy dollars with support from the Levy Oversight Committee and approved by City Council. Through ECC, Seattle Preschool Program providers served essential workers in need of child care after schools closed in late March.
Successes of the ECC Program
ECC benefited families and early learning providers alike. For providers, many of whom are women- and minority-owned businesses (WMBEs), participation in ECC allowed them to stay open, albeit under far different operational circumstances. These child care providers showed tremendous flexibility and resilience, and in a short time, they successfully revamped established programs to serve smaller class sizes, allow for social distancing and enhanced sanitation, and in some cases adapt classrooms for school-age children.[Read more…]
When the City of Seattle launched our Emergency Child Care program at the end of March, our goal was to meet the urgent need felt by essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response for reliable child care in the wake of school closures. In response to this demand, the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) mobilized Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) providers across the city, and the Emergency Child Care (ECC) program launched with 28 classrooms and more than 230 slots for preschool and school-age children.
One critical need remained—care for infants and toddlers. SPP providers, who had already adapted their preschool classrooms and programs to serve school-age children, were simply not set up to serve the very different needs of babies and toddlers. For many families with children aged 0-3, their normal care options—whether grandparents now at heightened risk or a provider whose doors had closed—were no longer available, and these essential workers were left wondering how to continue working without reliable care for their youngest children.
Enter Child Care Resources.[Read more…]
By Erica Johnson, PhD
Manager of Early Learning Policy and Innovation, Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning
I can still remember the children in my first kindergarten classroom. It was August 2001—my first year of teaching—and I was as nervous as they were. On the first day, I welcomed them at the door and helped new families navigate their day one nerves. After helping these new kindergartners find their cubbies and seats, I watched as parents—some teary-eyed, some stoic—said their goodbyes.
That day, there were 26 kids. Looking back, it’s remarkably easy to see who was socially and emotionally ready for kindergarten and who wasn’t quite there yet. It was only years later that I recognized that a child’s preparation had everything to do with what they did before kindergarten.
Sienna* and her twin brother, Angelo*, participated in a well-regarded local preschool program. Kindergarten was not a new challenge for them, it was just a new setting. Sienna walked into the room on the first day with confidence, inquired about her cubby and asked if she could use the materials at her table to draw a picture. Angelo was also confident but less interested in table work. His biggest concern was when recess would start and if I had a soccer ball (I did).
Mariella* was a heritage-language speaker with limited exposure to English. Academically, she was ready for Kindergarten, but she struggled socially and emotionally. In the beginning of the year, she cried every day when her mom left. Mariella had not been in a formal preschool program before kindergarten which made acclimating to school environment a challenge. Even though more than half of the children in the class spoke Spanish, there were no school-level resources to support her transition to kindergarten which likely compounded her separation anxiety. I believe her kindergarten transition experience was more difficult than it needed to be.
Kevin* and Keeley* spent the beginning of the year a bit lost. They had not participated in preschool so everything was new to them. Letters, reading and math concepts, and navigating peer relationships were all new. I remember that Kevin would identify every letter was a K, since that was the first letter of his name. Sweet and quiet, Keeley would shut down when she got confused or overwhelmed. They made progress throughout the year, but basic reading readiness activities were too advanced for what they needed. Due to State requirements around reading (in Florida, in 2001), they were both required to repeat Kindergarten the next year.
I imagine what that year would have been like for Mariella if she had been in a dual language preschool that eased her into English while providing linguistically- and culturally-appropriate support. What would that year have been like for Kevin and Keeley if they had access to peers for social development and pre-academic experiences through high-quality preschool? How would Kindergarten have been different for these kids? How would school have been different?
Fast-forward to 2018 and I now work for the City of Seattle to help develop and expand the Seattle Preschool Program. I know the research. I know that in the 2017-18 school year, 64.1% of children in Seattle Public Schools kindergarten classes were determined to be ready for kindergarten in assessments of social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, and math. That means that almost 36% of kids were not ready in one or more area.
Within that 36%, we see pervasive racial and socioeconomic inequities. Children identified as middle or high income and White are more likely to be found to be ready in all areas than those identified as children of color, low-income, or limited English proficient. From research and from experience, we know that access to affordable, high-quality preschool can make a difference for our children and help close the opportunity gap.
It’s easy to talk about the research, but to feel the difference preschool makes, I have to think back to Sienna, Angelo, Mariella, Kevin, Keeley, and all of their classmates. Each of these kids—and all kids—deserve the best “day one” of kindergarten the community can give them.
*all names of these young learners were changed
Postscript: Mariella, a beneficiary of the Dream Act and an opportunity scholarship, graduated from a state university with honors. I still wish her kindergarten experience had been easier for her but am endlessly proud of her accomplishments and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Updated 7/31/17 @3:15 – The parent portal, accessible at seattle.gov/applyspp is back up!
This morning the Seattle Preschool Program enrollment staff were notified that the vendor maintaining our application and enrollment portal is experiencing technical issues. The parent portal is down for the time being. Please call (206) 386-1050 with any application or enrollment questions.
This post will be updated when service is restored.
“Pre-K for All” Convening Re-Affirms Commitment to Free, Equitable pre-Kindergarten in Seattle and Across the Country
OCTOBER 6, 2016
Leaders from Seattle, Erica Johnson (Senior Policy Advisor, Early Learning Division) and Leilani Dela Cruz (Operations Manager, Early Learning Division) today will join policymakers from 12 municipal governments across the country in the first-ever convening to establish a network of cities dedicated to providing high-quality pre-kindergarten education to students, nationwide.
Held in New York City, the forum will allow for diverse municipalities to take part in an ongoing national dialogue about increasing access to high-quality education for all children regardless of their race, socio-economic status or zip code. Studies have shown that pre-kindergarten leads to better long-term academic and behavioral outcomes for children. Moreover, evaluations of existing universal pre-K programs reveal a significant financial benefit to low and middle class families who struggle with childcare costs.
During the October 6th Learning Lab, policy makers from participating cities will take part in roundtable discussions examining achievements, challenges, and lessons learned from NYC’s Pre-K for All expansion, sharing ideas and insights gained from their own city’s pre-K experiences. The Learning Lab is an opportunity for pre-K leaders to build relationships and identify thought partners for ongoing collaboration on how to implement high-quality pre-K that best meets the needs of children and families in their own municipalities, learning from other cities’ experiences. Finally, the host City and visiting policymakers will be encouraged to work together to advocate in support of expanding access and funding to early childhood education.
“As we work to implement the Seattle Preschool Program which aims to provide affordable and quality preschool to every family with preschool-age children, I am pleased that Seattle is participating in this gathering of national education leaders on best practices in early learning,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Early learning is the cornerstone to building a 21st century education system that will prepare our nation’s students to fully participate in tomorrow’s economy.”
“Free, full-day, high quality pre-K is a game-changer for more than 70,400 four-year-olds in New York City,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Delivering high quality pre-K is an essential part of our commitment to equity and excellence for all students and we’re thrilled to welcome this diverse group of cities who share our belief that our youngest learners must have a strong foundation to succeed in college and their careers. Municipal governments must work together to share best practices and lessons learned, and this summit is an essential step in building a strong network of policymakers who, together, will continue to advocate for expanded access to quality early education for every child nationwide.”
“Pre-K for all is all about high quality programs, and when we share best practices, children are the real winners,” said New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.” “This forum is an invaluable opportunity for visiting cities to learn from our achievements, and perhaps more importantly from the challenges we faced, while also fostering a thoughtful, long-term discussion about how to expand access to pre-K education in New York City and across the country.”
“It’s an honor to welcome such a diverse group of cities aligned in the belief that every child deserves free, high-quality early education,” said Richard Buery, New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “What we did in New York City is testament to the role municipal governments can play in promoting equity and keeping the American Dream within reach for the next generation. The Pre-K For All Cities network is a critical next step in expanding access so that children across the country can reap the long-term benefits of a pre-kindergarten education.”
Seattle Preschool Program launched in Fall 2015, and is in it’s second year. The program currently has over 30 classrooms city-wide, and is providing full-day, affordable, high-quality preschool to over 600 students. Seattle Preschool Program anchors it’s quality improvements in supporting the growth of teachers through professional development, in-class coaching, tuition support to complete an early learning degree, and increased pay for teachers.
In New York City, 70 percent of four and five year olds are enrolled in a Universal Pre-k Program. As of the first day of the 2016-17 school year, over 70,400 children were registered for free, full-day, high quality pre-K, up from 19,287 prior to the start of Pre-K for All. This extra year of learning is a critical part of this administration’s commitment to equity and excellence for all students, and a way to address disparities in educational opportunity for our city’s youngest learners.
The 13 cities participating in this year’s Learning Lab are:
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Dayton, OH
- Mesa, AZ
- Montgomery County, MD
- Nashville, TN
- New York City, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- San Antonio, TX
- San Francisco
- Seattle, WA
- Tulsa, OK