From staff reports
If you still haven’t nailed down pre-K yet, and you have a three or four-year-old, Dallas ISD has news: There’s a good chance you can find a spot anywhere in the city, no matter what your income is.
Just before the July break, the district’s board of trustees approved a program that would extend the pre-K program to include more children by raising family income limits and offering scholarships.
The district’s Racial Equity Office and the Early Learning department said the new policy would help address structural racial inequities and bring the successful early-learning program to more families.
Currently, the state has six eligibility requirements for families to qualify for free pre-K centered around circumstances like special needs, income, and language. The new Dallas ISD policy gives three new potential qualifiers.
In addition to new income guidelines, a family can request that their three- or four-year-old be tested for English proficiency, regardless of race or ethnicity. Families can also meet eligibility requirements based on historical and current academic needs that have been pinpointed by district performance data.
“It’s to the advantage of our district and students to have as many students participate in our pre-K program as possible,” said Leslie Williams, Racial Equity Office deputy chief. “We know the data shows that when our students participate in pre-K programs, they go on to significantly greater success in the following years.”
District leaders will review the data yearly to track the new policy’s success and determine where adjustments are needed. Early Learning Executive Director Derek Little said it’s anticipated that more than 200 students will benefit from the new policy this school year.
But that’s not the only way the district has opened up the program to more students. For families that don’t qualify even under the new policy, there is a tuition-based option, priced at $5,250 per year, or $525 per month for a 10-month payment schedule.
And there are schools in every part of the city offering the program, including Adelle Turner, Alex Sanger, Arlington Park, Arthur Kramer, Arturo Salazar, Ben Milam, Cedar Crest, Cesar Chavez, Ebby Halliday, Edna Rowe, Frederick Douglass, Geneva Heights, Highland Meadows, Holland at Lisbon, James Hogg, John Reagan, KB Polk, Louise W. Kahn, Martha T. Reilly, Montessori Academy at Onesimo Hernandez, W. Harllee, Nathan Adams, Oran M. Roberts, Personalized Learning Preparatory at Sam Houston, Preston Hollow, Rosemont, San Jacinto, Sidney Lanier, Solar Prep for Boys, Solar Prep for Girls, Tom Gooch, Walnut Hill, and William Lipscomb.
“Data shows that Dallas ISD pre-K provides meaningful, lasting impact to our students,” Little said. “We are thankful to trustees for approving this policy change to expand access to pre-K and help close the achievement gap for our students.”