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Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program and Four-Year-Old Children

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The purpose of Iowa's Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children is to provide an opportunity for all young children in the State of Iowa to enter school ready to learn by expanding voluntary access to quality preschool curricula for all four-year-old children. The allocation of funds for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program is intended to improve access to quality early childhood education and provide a predictable, equitable and sustainable funding method to increase the number of children participating in quality programs. Therefore, the four-year-old preschool funds are intended to increase the number of children participating in quality programs.

Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children Fact Sheet

 

New Application for 2014-2015

2014-2015 Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program Application - Schools districts not currently participating in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program may apply to the become part of the program.  The application is due May 19, 2014.

Who Can Apply for Funds?Any local school district that meets the accreditation requirements under Chapter 12 is eligible to submit an Application.

 

Awarded Applicants

In the 2013-2014 school year, 317 school districts are participating in the program.  The 2012-2013 certified enrollment was 21,402 four-year old students.

Voluntary Preschool 2013-2014 Map

 

Guidance

The following guidance can assist participating school districts and community partners:

 

Legal Requirements and Reports

Legislation

The Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children was established May 10, 2007 when Governor Chet Culver signed House File 877 (HF 877) . The Preschool Program provides an opportunity for all young children in the State of Iowa to enter school ready to learn by expanding voluntary access to quality preschool curricula for all four-year-old children.

These rules implement the Statewide Voluntary Preschool for Four-Year-Old Children created in new Iowa Code section 256c by Iowa Acts 2007 (HF 877). They provide guidance to school districts in the implementation of this new preschool program. These rules are subject to non-substantive changes by the Iowa Code Editor.

Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program Rules

The following reports have been presented to the Senate Education Committee about the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program:

Statewide Voluntary Preschool Programs for Four-Year-Old Children 2012-2013 Legislative Update (2013)

Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program Legislative Update January 2011

 

Assessment

GOLD Online Assessment System

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) has a statewide license for Teaching Strategies GOLD through an umbrella agreement with Teaching Strategies, Inc.  This agreement provides the GOLD online assessment system and reduces the subscriber fees for all state and federally funded early childhood programs and services, including Iowa school districts, their community partners, Shared Visions, as well as Head Start, Area Education Agencies and other programs located in the state of Iowa. This web‐based online system allows programs, as well as AEAs and the DE, to assess child progress based on research‐based widely held expectations from birth through kindergarten and provide reports at the individual, group, regional and statewide level.

Districts are required to assess all preschool children with the GOLD online assessment and maintain local agreements with Teaching Strategies, Inc. under the GOLD State Service Umbrella Agreement.  This includes any preschool-aged child enrolled by a parent in a district program.  

The GOLD online assessment system focuses on 38 research‐based objectives for development and learning that are predictors of school success and aligned with the Iowa Early Leaning Standards. GOLD is also a curriculum neutral assessment so it may be used with any research‐based curriculum.

End of Year Data Clean-up Guide for Teaching Strategies GOLD Online Administrators (2014-04-14) - Steps to close our the year for GOLD.

Iowa GOLD Child Transfer Form

 

Reporting

Webinar Recording of the 2013-2014 Orientation for Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children - http://iowa.adobeconnect.com/p45zanglf9p/

Presentation Slides from the 2013-2014 Orientation Webinar for Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children

 

Guiding Practices

The following are guiding practices that can assist participating school districts and community partners.

Curriculum Decision-Making
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) outlines dimensions to consider when making decisions about preschool curriculum in this Policy Brief.

NIEER Curriculum Policy Brief

Iowa Early Learning Standards/Child Standards
Participating school districts in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children will follow the Iowa Early Learning Standards. These standards identify the knowledge, skills, motivation, and attitudes needed by preschoolers that lead to success as students enter school and as adults. The six developmental areas are:

  • physical well-being and motor development
  • approaches toward learning
  • social and emotional development
  • communication, language, and literacy
  • mathematics and science
  • creative arts

Iowa Early Learning Standards 2012

Program Standards
Programs participating in Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children must meet one of the following program standards. Each standard is indicative of high quality programming efforts. Preschool programs meet or will meet quality standards within 12 months of implementation of the preschool program.

Preschool Teacher Assistant Qualifications
The type of preschool program and required program standards determine the type of qualifications required for teaching assistants. This document provides options that are open to teaching assistants for meeting state and federal requirements.

Qualifications for Preschool Teacher Assistants

Quality Preschools
Research offers unarguable evidence that children who participate in a high-quality, research-based preschool program exhibit stronger language, math, thinking, and social skills. The Iowa Department of Education provides both research and policy guidance in this Issue Brief.

High Quality Preschools Issue Brief

Staff Development
Participating school district teachers will receive professional development focusing on areas appropriate to the role of an early childhood teacher and implemented in accordance with Iowa Code section 284.6. School districts will also make appropriate professional development opportunities available to community partner teachers of the preschool program who are not employed by the district. District support staff working in four-year-old preschool classrooms should also be provided opportunities for staff development in early childhood education. These opportunities are to be addressed in the school district career development plan and follow the Iowa Professional Development Model.

Teacher Quality
Numerous studies have found that the education levels of preschool teachers and specialized training in each childhood education predict teaching quality and positively Affect children's achievement of social, emotional, language, literacy and cognitive skills. The Iowa Department of Education provides both research and policy guidance in this Issue Brief.

Teacher Quality Issue Brief

Transportation
Participating School Districts must work within the transportation guidelines of Iowa Code section 285.10.

 

IQPPS Verification

On-site Visits 2013-2014

Desk Audits 2013-2014

District Desk Audits 2013-2014

SWVPP Desk Audit Form 2013-2014

 

AEA Contacts

Each Area Education Agency has Early Childhood Consultants that can provide information and support to local school districts as they plan for the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children. Contact information is provided in the following document:

AEA Early Childhood Leadership Network

 

Links

Assessment

Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children requires participating school districts to maintain local agreements with Teaching Strategies, Inc. under the GOLD State Service Umbrella Agreement and assess all preschool children with the GOLD online assessment.  This includes any preschool-aged child enrolled by a parent in a district program.  


Curriculum
Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program for Four-Year-Old Children requires participating school districts to adopt a research or evidence-based curricula that is developmentally appropriate, including age appropriate, individually appropriate, and culturally appropriate. In order to meet the needs of the diverse population of children, families and communities; curricula should be culturally sensitive and flexible.

The Iowa Department of Education does not endorse any one preschool curriculum. Commonly used, commercially developed curriculum packages that meet the above criteria include:

Best Practices in Curriculum, Assessment & Program Evaluation
The National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a Position Statement on Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation to guide implementers of early care and education programs.

Hiring Licensed Teachers
The TeachIowa.org website is an avenue to recruit licensed teachers for the preschool program:

  • School districts can post job vacancies and search applicants' resumes.
  • Early childhood teachers interested in these jobs can search for jobs and share information with School Districts through the online application.

 

State Contacts

Penny Milburn
515-281-7844
penny.milburn@iowa.gov

Jennifer Adkins
515-725-2219
jennifer.adkins@iowa.gov

Amy Stegeman
515-725-2273    
amy.stegeman@iowa.gov

 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 17, 2014 at 11:28am.