What is a Pre-K Partnership?

In November 2021, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) approved $26 million for the expansion of prekindergarten (pre-k) partnerships.

A pre-k partnership is a collaboration between a school district or charter school and one or more quality-rated* child care programs to provide high-quality care and education to eligible three- and four-year-old children. Partners can establish a formal or informal partnership.

In a formal pre-k partnership, eligible children are dually enrolled in public school pre-k and TWC's Child Care Services program, most often receiving their pre-k instruction and wraparound care (the hours before and after pre-k instruction) at the child care center. These partnerships allow child care programs and school districts/charter schools to provide children continuity in care and education, and better support the needs of working families. The teacher of the pre-k partnership classroom must meet certain requirements, such as having a bachelor’s degree, and can be employed by either the school district or the child care program.

For information on additional requirements, please refer to Texas Education Code §29.153-29.1544.

Child care programs and school districts/charter schools may sustain formal pre-k partnerships through a couple of funding streams. TWC’s Child Care Services program covers the cost of wraparound care for eligible children in pre-k partnership classrooms. In addition, school districts/charter schools may pass through state funding (Average Daily Attendance/Early Education Allotment) to the child care program to assist with the costs associated with pre-k instruction.

In addition, TWC will provide eligible child care programs awards of up to $20,000 to assist with start-up costs for each new pre-k partnership classroom, and up to $7,000 to support costs for teachers in partnership classrooms to receive alternative certifications.

For more information about potential funding, visit the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Early Learning Partnerships website.

*Child care programs must meet at least one of the five quality criteria in Texas Education Code §29.153(g) to be considered for a formal pre-k partnership.

Example of a Formal PreK-3 Partnership

Image - Example of a Formal PreK-3 Partnership.

In informal partnerships, a school district/charter school and a child care program share resources and information, such as professional development opportunities, school-readiness expectations, and parent engagement activities. In informal partnerships, children are not dually enrolled in public school pre-k and a child care program; therefore, no state funding is passed through from the school district/charter school to the child care program. However, informal partnerships can be a great first-step towards establishing a formal pre-k partnership.

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Pre-K Eligibility

To be eligible for public school pre-k, a child must be 3 or 4 years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year and meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Educationally Disadvantaged – Child is eligible to participate in the free/reduced meal program or receives SNAP, Medicaid, or TANF benefits
  • Limited English Proficiency – Child is unable to speak and comprehend the English language
  • Military – Child of an active-duty member of the armed forces (including state military forces or a reserve component) or of a member of the armed forces who was injured or killed while serving on active duty
  • Homeless – Child qualifies as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Foster Care – Child is in, or has ever been in foster care in Texas or another state
  • Star of Texas Award – Child of a police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical responder seriously injured or killed in the line of duty

For more information about pre-k eligibility requirements, please refer to Texas Education Code §29.153(b).

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Benefits of Pre-K Partnerships

Pre-k partnerships can provide numerous benefits to families, child care programs, and school districts and open-enrollment charter school networks.

For families, pre-k partnerships can provide:

  • access to high-quality pre-k to support children’s transition to kindergarten;
  • consistency between the school day and before or after care;
  • better hours for working families who need a full workday of care; and
  • a child care curriculum aligned with that of the local school district, which increases children’s school-readiness.

For child care programs, pre-k partnerships can provide:

  • higher enrollment and greater financial stability, as programs continue to fill classrooms for three- and four-year-old children while also receiving support and/or funding from the local school district;
  • an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from teachers who have received a different type of training and education;
  • a pathway to help transition children to public school for kindergarten; and
  • increased school-readiness, resources, and professional development opportunities.

For school districts or charter school networks, pre-k partnerships can provide:

  • quality wraparound care for longer hours than a typical school day;
  • the ability to share school-readiness standards and expectations for future students;
  • access to teachers with more rigorous training in developmentally appropriate practice and social-emotional support;
  • more pre-k setting options to meet the diverse needs and preferences of families;
  • a larger population of eligible three- and four-year-old children without having to build more classrooms;
  • increased resources and professional development opportunities;
  • open lines of communication with early childhood education programs serving future students; and
  • earlier opportunities to engage families.

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TWC Pre-K Partnership Team

The newly established Pre-K Partnership Team at TWC is dedicated to supporting the development of pre-k partnerships in Texas. This includes, but is not limited to, conducting outreach to potential partners to gauge interest, matching potential partners, and supporting partners through negotiations.

To learn more about pre-k partnership opportunities and how TWC can support the development of a partnership that is tailored to the needs of your program, please send an email to prekpartnerships@twc.texas.gov. We encourage child care programs and school districts/charter schools interested in pursuing partnership opportunities to complete the online interest form.

For more information about how TWC is supporting pre-k partnerships, see WD Letter 09-22 “Prekindergarten Partnerships” and TA Bulletin 300 “Prekindergarten Partnerships” issued on July 1, 2022, and WD Letter 02-20 “Prekindergarten Public-Private Partnerships and Wraparound Child Care” issued on January 8, 2020.

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2021 Pre-K Partnership Summit

TWC and TEA hosted a Pre-K Partnership Summit in the spring of 2021 for Local Workforce Development Boards to learn how they can work together in their regions to support and expand pre-k partnerships. Some of the resources shared during the Summit are below:

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Resources

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References

  • Pre-k Partnership Interest Form
  • WD Letter 09-22 “Prekindergarten Partnerships” issued on July 1, 2022
  • TA Bulletin 300 “Prekindergarten Partnerships” issued on July 1, 2022
  • WD Letter 02-20 “Prekindergarten Public-Private Partnerships and Wraparound Child Care” issued on January 8, 2020

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Contact

For more information, please email:

prekpartnerships@twc.texas.gov