Education Dept. officials are touting the success of a Maine early education program that was funded by a $3.5 million expansion grant from the department’s Preschool Development Grant program (CFDA Number: Number: 84.419).
Maine is looking to engage the community and interagency coordination towards increased preschool access. The state identified 13 school districts with the highest numbers of children receiving free-and-reduced lunch have been targeted for formal partnership with their regional Head Start grantees. Through a collection of eight goal targets, Maine looks to align its Early Learning Development Standards across all early childhood sectors to improve linkages from birth to 3rd grade to achieve school readiness
The program requires all public preschool programs to meet Maine’s Public Preschool Program Standards and ensure compliance through a statewide system of monitoring and support.
Eighteen states were named winners in the latest round of the competition that distributed $226 million to expand high quality early childhood education programs. It has two categories: one to low-capacity or rural states with small or no state-funded preschool programs (Development Grants); and another to high-capacity states with established programs or that have received Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants (Expansion Grants).
- Development Grants (awards ranging from $2 million to $20 million per year over four years): To be eligible states must serve less than 10% 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, nine states applied; five states won development grants: 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. DoEd said that in the most recent competition, 27 applied, 13 won expansion grants: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.