Durham County Government has committed to equitable access to high-quality preschool for all children in Durham. Investments will not only increase the number of publicly funded prek slots, but also broaden eligibility and work with teachers and private centers to build their quality through teacher and director education, mentoring and coaching.
As part of Durham PreK, Durham County investments will:
- improve quality in preschool programs by funding a variety of quality improvement activities, including paying for coaching and professional development for teachers;
- support higher wages and compensation for those teachers by paying higher reimbursement rates than currently available for NC Pre-K;
- expand access for four-year-old children by paying for new spaces and by increasing eligibility guidelines to include most families; and
- offer a mixed-delivery system of PreK for four-year-olds by partnering with high-quality child care programs in the community, Durham Public Schools and Head Start.
The County has entered a two-year contract with Child Care Services Association (CCSA) to manage the expansion of Durham PreK. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) have established a Governing body chaired by the Durham County manager’s office to approve Durham PreK standards and policies.
When will Durham PreK start?
We are now accepting applications for private centers to enter our Durham PreK Technical Assistance (TA) pipelie to start receiving support toward quality improvement. In November, there will be a RFA for programs to apply to become a Durham PreK site. Decisions will be made by December, and a limited number of clasrooms will start in January of 2019. We will release another RFA early spring of 2019 for centers to apply to become Durham PreK sites for the 2019-2020 school year.
When does Durham PreK operate?
Durham PreK will follow Durham Public Schools calendar and operate 6.5 hours a day for 180 days a year.
Who is eligible for Durham PreK?
At a minimum, children eligible for NC Pre-K will be eligible for Durham PreK. The Governing body is finalizing its eligibility requirements and sliding scale to increase access to all four-year-olds in Durham County.
Where will Durham PreK be located?
Durham PreK sites will be a mix of private child care centers, Durham Public School and Head Start classrooms. Once sites have been selected, we will post site information on our website.
What are the higher standards set by Durham PreK?
The program is in development and will publish all requirements once fully set by a Governing body. At a minimum, Durham PreK will require that all NC Pre-K standards are met. Additional requirements will center on teacher compensation and professional development as well as supports for children. Until these standards are fully set, information about standards considered can be found in the recommendations set forth by the Community Early Education/Preschool Task Force report published in April 2017. Additional information about the need for expanded access to preschool in Durham and about the development of Durham PreK is available in the Durham County Supply and Demand Report published in June 2018.