$700,000 annually has been earmarked to provide preschool teachers in 3-year-old classrooms with needed resources to support their students and increase kindergarten readiness
DENVER, Aug. 30, 2018—The Denver Preschool Program (DPP) is expanding its Quality Improvement (QI) Program to 3-year-old classrooms beginning with the 2018-2019 school year through the 2020-2021 school year. This expansion project will provide preschool programs with the professional support they need to help 3-year-olds succeed in the classroom, giving preschoolers two years of high quality preschool to prepare them for kindergarten. This marks the first time in the nonprofit’s decade-long history that QI resources will be available to all preschool classrooms at DPP-participating schools located in the City and County of Denver, including those that serve children who do not receive monthly tuition support from DPP.
“At its core, DPP’s mission is to increase access to high-quality preschool to Denver’s preschoolers,” said Jennifer Landrum, president and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program. “One way we do this is by providing 4-year-old classrooms with quality improvement resources. Extending our Quality Improvement Program to 3-year-old classrooms through the 2020-2021 school year will give many children in Denver two years of high quality preschool, which we hope will mean even more kids are ready to succeed in kindergarten when they turn 5.”
DPP’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the expansion in January 2018 as it fully aligns with DPP’s mission of improving the quality of early learning programs in Denver.
Although tuition assistance remains limited to Denver families with a 4-year-old enrolled in a participating program in the year before kindergarten, the QI expansion will positively impact all preschool students. DPP’s QI Program includes professional one-on-one coaching, funding for preschool curricula or classroom learning materials, financial awards for proving a commitment to high quality teaching, DPP T.E.A.C.H.® and CDA™ scholarship eligibility and more. As part of the expansion, DPP will also increase the number of Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) observations conducted in preschool classrooms. DPP has used CLASS® since 2013 to measure the effectiveness of teacher-child interactions, which research suggests are critical to high quality early education.
Expanded QI resources were made available to preschool classrooms open this summer that serve 3-year-olds, with a full rollout of the expanded resources scheduled for the start of the school year this fall and going through the 2020-2021 school year. Together, approximately 200 classrooms of 3-year-olds will now have access to QI resources to join the approximately 550 classrooms of 4-year-olds that DPP is projected over the next three years.
About DPP’s QI Framework
Next year, DPP will invest $2.8 million toward improving the quality of its participating preschool programs. Investments are guided by DPP’s teacher-centric QI framework, which the organization launched in 2015 to place an emphasis on intentional teaching, highly-effective teachers and positive teacher-child interactions.
“Preschools help build the foundation for all future learning,” said Chris Miller, DPP’s director of quality initiatives. “Preschool teachers have an immensely important job and we are excited the QI expansion will provide hundreds of teachers and classrooms with more resources to support their critical work.”
The catalyst for broadening DPP’s QI service area came from DPP’s coaching and rating teams, as well as preschool directors who called attention to the unmet needs in younger preschool classrooms. This expansion is in direct response to stakeholder feedback and allows DPP to focus on the importance of continuity of care during earlier stages of a child’s development.
“The quality of education children receive during their 3-year-old preschool year affects whether or not they’ll meet developmental milestones during their 4-year-old preschool year,” Landrum continued. “For that reason we made extending our quality resources to 3-year-old classrooms part of our 2017–2021 strategic plan.”
About the Denver Preschool Program
The Denver Preschool Program makes quality preschool possible for all Denver families with 4-year-old children through a dedicated sales tax first approved by voters in 2006 and renewed in 2014. DPP has provided nearly $106 million in tuition support to help more than 50,000 Denver children attend the preschool of their families’ choice, establishing each child’s foundation for lifelong learning and success. More information about the Denver Preschool Program and its participating preschools is available at www.dpp.org.