UPK Colorado Information for Preschool Providers

Denver Preschool Program (DPP) is excited to lead as Denver’s Local Coordinating Organization (LCO) for Colorado’s Universal Preschool (UPK) program. We are committed to partnering with Denver providers who choose to participate in UPK Colorado to help make your experience a success. DPP is your proven, trusted ally for high-quality early childhood education in Denver. 

The 2023-2024 school year is the inaugural year for UPK Colorado. As the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) takes learnings and insights from the first year to improve processes for the 2024-2025 school year, DPP will continue to be your go-to resource for UPK Colorado information for Denver providers and families.  

DPP holds monthly UPK Colorado town halls for providers every second Thursday of the month at 1:00 p.m. Information about the meetings are included in our monthly UPK provider emails which you can subscribe to via our subscriber form. Or, please contact Diana Herrera, DPP’s UPK Program Manager at diana@dpp.org, for more information. 

Facts about UPK Colorado in Denver for schools and providers:

  • UPK Colorado is fundamentally changing Denver’s preschool ecosystem for the better by providing at least a projected $4,883 in annual State UPK tuition support in the first year for approved children attending a Denver-based UPK Colorado-participating program.
  • As the Denver LCO, DPP is deepening our partnership with key early childhood education organizations like Denver’s Early Childhood Council, Denver Human Services, The Mayor’s Office of Children’s Affairs, Denver Public Schools, family resource centers, and several providers to support our collective goal that UPK Colorado benefits our entire community as equitably as possible. 
  • DPP serves as a conduit between the state, providers and families. We will continue to listen to concerns, proactively help to train our community on new systems, and push for the answers to your most important questions.
  • UPK Colorado is an exciting new era in early childhood education for our state. And many of you worked hard to make this dream a reality. Let’s all remember the end goal while we work through the logistics, learnings, and improvements. Supporting UPK Colorado is consistent with the DPP mission and the intention of voters who three times passed the Denver Preschool Tax to help make early childhood education possible for kids.

Resources for Providers

Here is the tentative schedule CDEC as released regarding enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year as of December 20, 2023: 

  • January 2024: Providers will be able to sign up to participate in UPK Colorado for the 2024-2025 school year. 
  • February-March 2024: Pre-registration will be available for families with children currently enrolled with a participating provider, children with siblings currently enrolled with the participating provider, or a family member currently employed by the participating provider. These families will be able to submit an application and directly enroll with their chosen provider. 
  • March-July 2024: Families who are looking for a new UPK Colorado preschool provider will have the opportunity to participate in the Family Matching process. This allows families to be “matched” with a “just-right fit” provider based on their top three choices from a wide variety of high-quality, licensed school-based, community-based, and home-based providers participating in UPK Colorado. Families will find a one-stop-shop to browse providers, select top choices, verify eligibility for the program, and submit an application for funding via upk.colorado.gov 
  • July-Onwards: As it becomes closer to the start of the 2024-2025 school year, families who have not yet enrolled in UPK Colorado can work directly with a participating provider of choice to enroll as space allows. CDEC will continue to work with providers to find ways to ensure families complete the universal preschool application during this phase so that providers secure additional funding for these families. 
  • Year-Round: Throughout the enrollment process and school year, children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) would be supported through direct application registration and enrollment through their Administrative Unit (AU). 

DPP will continue to update this page and share information, when available, in our monthly newsletters and town halls.