The Education Dept. (ED) rolls out a new website that will help prospective grantees prepare for a $250 million competition designed to get more young children enrolled into certified pre-school education programs. It is to be released later this year.
The Preschool Development Grant competition (CFDA Number: 84.419) is part of a larger effort to offer pre-K to more 4-year-olds. The Preschool Development Grant – Development and Expansion Grant Technical Assistance website is structured to help existing grantees meet grant requirements, but it has a wealth of information for those seeking a grant.
It offers information on how to:
- Create or expand high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities;
- Implement state-level infrastructure and quality improvements;
- Collaborate with selected programs and ensure strong partnerships between school districts and other early learning providers;
- Align preschool programs within a birth-through- third-grade continuum of services; and
- Craft sustainable programs by coordinating existing early learning funds.
“We are excited to launch this new resource,” said ED’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning Libby Doggett. “We expect this to be a dynamic resource that programs will come back to again and again as new information is shared.”
The site is managed by Preschool Development Grants Technical Assistance. The Obama administration will receive $250 million for a second year of the program. The competition seeks to make wholesale changes in the way education programs are delivered on the state level, with a focus on early childhood education. And, the grants have been warmly received and hotly contested by the states.
It has the following two categories: (1) low-capacity or rural states with small or no state-funded preschool programs (Development Grants); and (2) high-capacity states with established programs or that have received Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants (Expansion Grants).
They are jointly administered by ED and HHS.
- Development Grants (awards ranging from $2 million to $20 million per year over four years): To be eligible states must serve less than 10% percent of four-year-olds and have not received an RTT-ELC grant. Up to 35% of the grant award may be used for state-level infrastructure and quality improvements. Last year five states won: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada.
- Expansion Grants (awards ranging from $2 million to $20 million a year for four years): These grants will help states address fundamental needs including workforce development, quality improvement efforts and the scale-up of proven preschool models. Last year, 13 states won: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
ED officials say to expect a solicitation later this year, probably in the summer, with a fall deadline. Last year’s deadline was Oct. 24.