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Provider applications sought for ‘On My Way Pre-K’

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Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL) is now accepting applications from early learning providers in Marion, Allen, Jackson, Lake, and Vanderburgh counties to become “On My Way Pre-K” providers.

To learn more about requirements for eligible providers, the application and other forms, visit the OECOSL’s website: in.gov/fssa/4899.htm.

On My Way Pre-K is the new name of Indiana’s state-funded prekindergarten pilot program, which will award grants to 4-year-olds from low-income families who live in Marion and the other four pilot counties. Families can use the grants to access a high-quality prekindergarten program the school year before children start kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use it at any approved On My Way Pre-K provider.

“Beginning to enroll early learning providers in On My Way Pre-K marks a significant milestone in our mission to provide high-quality early education for lower-income students in Indiana,” said Melanie Brizzi, director of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.

“We look forward to engaging as many programs as possible to help us open the doors to new learning opportunities for Hoosier children.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for early learning providers in these select counties to be on the launching pad of this program which is a first for Indiana,” added Dr. John Wernert, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

Indiana will accept provider applications through the pilot program; however, eligible early learning programs are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Families with pre-K grants will begin selecting an approved On My Way Pre-K program starting Dec. 15, and can enroll their child to begin attending a prekindergarten program in January 2015.

The first round of On My Way Pre-K grants will be awarded in January 2015 to 4–year-olds who will start kindergarten in the fall of 2015.

In order to be an approved, providers must meet the following requirements:

n Community-based programs including Head Start, licensed centers, licensed family homes and registered ministries must be rated at Level 3 or Level 4 of “Paths to Quality.”

n Traditional and charter public schools must be rated Level 3 or Level 4 of “Paths to Quality.”

n Private or non-public schools must be accredited by a regional or national pre-K accrediting body recognized by the State Board of Education or FSSA.

Eligible programs as defined above must complete the enrollment process with FSSA and must be located in either Marion, Allen, Jackson, Lake, or Vanderburgh counties. Programs must be an approved vendor of Indiana. Also, all must sign a provider agreement affirming they will participate in the longitudinal evaluation.

They should also complete the required child assessments including the ISTAR-KR at least twice throughout the program year, including the completion of required registration paperwork and agreements with the Indiana Department of Education.

Eligible early learning program operators can apply at in.gov/fssa/files/On_My_Way_PreK_Provicer_App.pdf.

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