Preschool Pilot Grants

Preschool Pilot GrantsSix school districts in urban and rural communities will start pilot preschool programs with grants announced recently by the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (DEED).

Earlier this year, the state legislature appropriated $2 million to fund the Alaska Pilot Pre-Kindergarten Project. Alaska is one of only 12 states that don’t have state-sponsored preschool.

“High-quality, accessible preschool is one of the critical elements in preparing young children to succeed in school,” Best Beginnings Executive Director Abbe Hensley said. “This pilot project is an important step forward in our efforts to help young children and their families.”

The following school districts received grants under the project:
  • Anchorage, 2 classrooms, 32 children, $167,684
  • Bering Strait, 4 classrooms, 62 children, $362,828
  • Nome, 2 classrooms, 50 children, $219,539
  • Juneau, 2 classrooms, 40 children, $201,073
  • Lower Kuskokwim, 2 classrooms, 40 children, $337,732
  • Yukon Koyukuk, 7 classrooms, 39 children, $325,445

The remaining funds will support early childhood work with chronically underperforming districts, affecting up to seven additional communities and 100 additional children.

The selected applicants provided a clear plan for their pre-kindergarten classrooms and how to help parents who want more guidance in educating their young children at home. They have worked to form partnerships that will strengthen existing providers and explore different ways of achieving quality early childhood education.

The pilots will adhere to the guiding principles and goals set forth in the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines as well as developmentally appropriate practices as expressed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Each program must use specific assessment tools for child outcome and program evaluation. Additional screening, content, or curricular assessment can be determined locally by the district.

This article appeared in the September 2009 issue of Best Beginnings E-newsletter. Please refer to our Content Reproduction Policy if you are interested in reproducing content provided on this website.