The district increased its commitment to providing more Pre-k programs at the beginning of this school year, when it began making pre-K programs available to all qualified 4-year-olds in the City of Detroit in conjunction with its new 5-year Strategic Plan. Enrollment in early childhood education programs for the 2013-14 school year stands at 3,363, which represents growth of 5 percent over the previous year.
“Research clearly shows that providing children with Early Childhood Education programs is essential to their personal growth and future academic success,” said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “DPS remains committed to providing these critical programs to as many Detroit children as possible.”
The addition of seats to both the Great Start Readiness and Title I Pre-K programs means that more children than ever before will be able to take advantage of DPS early childhood education programs, because enrollment in these two programs is offered to a broader range of children.
DPS will no longer be including Head Start, which qualifies children based solely on their meeting poverty level requirements, in its early childhood education program offerings.
Any child who would qualify for a Head Start program, would also be eligible to qualify for either the Great Start Readiness and/or Title I Pre-K programs. DPS' believes that all Pre-K teachers providing instruction in Head Start-funded classrooms will likely be absorbed into the planned expansion of the Great Start Readiness and Title I-funded classrooms.
Detroit Public Schools’ prekindergarten classroom curriculum is aligned with the National Early Childhood Standards and Michigan State Board of Education, Early Childhood Standards of Quality. To ensure fidelity to the standards, the early childhood programs are monitored through an inclusive and collaborative approach.
The building principal, central staff and program supervisors monitor teaching and learning through the prekindergarten classroom visitation system, teacher evaluation, student assessments Child Observation Record (COR), and through a formalized process, the Program Quality Assessment (PQA).
In addition, the PNC Grow Up Great program, which expanded and doubled the number of classrooms within DPS in 2013-14, will continue to provide a wide variety of educational enhancements, such as professional development sessions and individual coaching for teachers, field trips, classroom visits by arts and science staff, new books and equipment. Grow Up Great serves 28 classrooms in 15 DPS schools.
Parents interested in finding out more about DPS’ early childhood education program offerings should call DPS’ Foundation for Early Learners at 313.347.8923.