Frequently Asked Questions
What is PRE4CLE? PRE4CLE is the fulfillment of a key goal of the Cleveland Plan. It is a plan that will expand access to high-quality preschool for families in the City of Cleveland who are seeking an excellent pre-K experience for their children.
What is the goal of PRE4CLE? The goal of PRE4CLE is to provide four year-olds, then three year-olds, in the City of Cleveland with high-quality pre-K education through: (1) increased access to and enrollment in, and (2) rapid and efficient expansion of eligible high-quality, high-capacity early learning settings in accordance with the goals outlined in Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools.
How will PRE4CLE achieve this goal? Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, PRE4CLE will open up more pre-K seats for four year olds in the city of Cleveland whose families want them to attend high-quality preschool. Where applicable, PRE4CLE will include tuition and transportation support for eligible families.
Where will PRE4CLE be available? Pre-K will be available at participating CMSD schools and community providers which meet strict quality standards under Ohio’s Step Up To Quality consumer rating system.
What will “high-quality” PRE4CLE settings look like? PRE4CLE classrooms will have highly trained teachers and aides, research-based curricula that support all areas of healthy child development (cognitive, social, emotional, physical and behavioral), fun and engaging books and other classroom materials, and a plan for successful transition to Kindergarten.
Why does high-quality Pre-K matter? Research shows that children who receive a high-quality pre-K experience perform better throughout their entire school career, are more likely to graduate from high school and college, and are more likely to earn more during their lifetimes. Not surprisingly, high-quality pre-K has also been proven to deliver significant economic return on investment, not just in terms of increased earnings, but also by eliminating costly remedial education during school, and reducing dependence on social supports during adulthood.
When will PRE4CLE begin? Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, PRE4CLE will open up more pre-K seats for four year olds in the city of Cleveland whose families want them to attend high-quality preschool. Available seats will grow as funding allows, and the plan will roll out to three year olds over time.
Is PRE4CLE available to children who live in Cleveland but don’t attend CMSD schools? Yes. All age-eligible children in the City of Cleveland can attend a preschool that is part of the PRE4CLE plan, space permitting.
How is PRE4CLE funded? The Task Force estimates that the first year of the program will cost $15 million to fully implement. It will be paid for by a mix of current and new public and private funds: the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services Levy through the county’s Universal Pre-K Program; CMSD levy funds; federal Head Start, child nutrition and child care funds; state public preschool expansion funds; corporate contributions and philanthropic support. Currently, we’ve received enough financial commitment to allow us to start PRE4CLE for the 2014-15 because Cleveland’s children can’t wait. We will leverage existing resources while advocating for additional support to fully fund the program.
Who is the PRE4CLE Task Force? The PRE4CLE Task Force was convened in November 2013, and includes approximately 50 teachers, administrators, early childhood providers, early childhood education experts, and business and labor professionals who worked together during the past four months to create a plan to achieve this goal of expanding preschool in Cleveland. The Task Force worked with the Neighborhood Leadership Institute to listen to the needs and concerns of nearly 300 parents, caregivers, teachers and community leaders via neighborhood focus groups and surveys, to ensure that the pre-K plan created for Cleveland is relevant and of value to the city’s families. Eric Gordon, CMSD CEO and Marcia Egbert, Senior Program Officer at The George Gund Foundation, co-chaired the task force.
What tuition assistance is available? We are determining tuition support for eligible families because both research and our community input told us cost is often a barrier to families choosing and accessing high quality pre-K.
What transportation assistance is available? We are determining transportation support for eligible families because both research and our community input told us transportation is often a barrier to families choosing and accessing high quality pre-K.
Which providers can participate? High-quality pre-K depends on high-quality providers. Participating in PRE4CLE is not mandatory for any pre-K provider in Cleveland. Providers who wish to participate in PRE4CLE will submit an application and be rigorously screened as a high-quality provider.
What are the requirements for provider participation? The state’s Step Up To Quality 3-star standard is the minimum requirement for all providers fully participating in PRE4CLE. PRE4CLE will focus on increasing the number of 3-star providers (and then 4- and 5-star providers) across the full spectrum of early childhood settings: public preschools, Head Start locations, private preschools, private childcare providers and home-based care. PRE4CLE providers will have access to resources to help them improve their quality and move up the Step Up To Quality rating scale.
Those providers rated less than 3-stars will be allowed to participate provisionally if they submit an improvement plan to achieve the 3-star standard within one year. 3-star providers must meet a series of criteria including providing children with comprehensive developmental screenings, completing an annual continuous improvement plan, using a research-based curriculum, and having rigorous teacher qualifications, including having at least 50 percent of lead teachers with appropriate accreditation and/or degrees in early childhood education.
How will PRE4CLE support providers in Cleveland? Providers who participate in PRE4CLE will be offered a menu of potential incentives, including financial support for expansion, potential tuition assistance for eligible families, access to professional development for staff, marketing and outreach for their programs, and connections to other supports and partnerships.
How can parents and providers learn more?
We will release more details for parents and pre-K providers as it becomes available. We urge people to check our website www.clevelandmetroschools.org/pre4cle, or call the Office of Early Childhood Education at 216-838-0231.