Marion among five counties to launch Indiana Pre-K pilot program

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Marion County is among five Indiana counties selected for the state's pre-K pilot program.

Allen, Jackson, Lake and Vanderburgh are the other counties. The program focuses on providing low-income four-year-olds the skills needed to succeed in school

The 2014 General Assembly established the pilot program in House Enrolled Act 1004.

Public schools, accredited private schools and early education providers who have achieved Level 3 or Level 4 in Paths to QUALITY™, Indiana’s voluntary child care quality rating and improvement system, will participate.

About the program:

Last month, the Indiana Family Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced the 18 counties which were selected as finalists and gave each the opportunity to submit a statement to FSSA detailing their readiness to participate in the pilot. Each county submitted a statement for consideration by June 30. The statements reflected input from more than 100 respondents, including nonprofits, businesses and business leaders, school corporations, private providers, colleges and universities, and representatives of local government.

The final five counties were selected by FSSA with the assistance of a group of objective evaluators representing academia, nonprofit and business interests. The advisory group, composed of early education experts, included academic researchers from Ball State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana University; staff representatives from FSSA, the State Budget Agency, the Indiana Department of Education and the Center for Education and Career Innovation; members of the Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC); and external organizations including the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance and the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children.

The selection process was based on a determination of need and the county’s ability and readiness to meet that need.

Governor Mike Pence also recognized the 13 other finalists – Bartholomew, Delaware, Elkhart, Grant, Howard, Kosciusko, Lawrence, Madison, Noble, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Vigo and Wayne – for their dedication and commitment to Indiana’s children as demonstrated by their statements of county readiness.

FSSA is working to implement the major design phases of the program, which include devising plans for the longitudinal study for students, monitoring the design and implementation of a new kindergarten readiness assessment and the program accountability system, establishing guidelines and activation of fundraising activities, and making modifications to interagency IT and staffing infrastructure to support the pilot program.

The program remains on track to launch in early 2015.