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RULE §102.1002Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program

(a) Definitions. The following words and terms when used in this section shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Eligible student--A child is eligible for enrollment in a prekindergarten class under this section if the child is at least three years of age and meets eligibility criteria consistent with the Texas Education Code (TEC), §29.153.

  (2) Licensed child care--Child care that meets the requirements adopted by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services under the Human Resources Code, §42.002(3).

  (3) Nonprofit--An organization that meets the requirements of the United States Code, Title 26, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter F, Part I, Section 501(a).

  (4) Partner--A non-public school organization collaborating with a public school to provide an educational component to eligible prekindergarten children.

  (5) Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program--A program established in accordance with the TEC, §29.155, to administer grant funds to implement and expand prekindergarten programs.

  (6) Prekindergarten site--A public or non-public school classroom where teachers work with three- and four-year-old children in a prekindergarten school readiness program.

  (7) Proven school readiness components--The components of proven school readiness are:

    (A) a high-quality, developmentally appropriate, and rigorous curriculum, based on the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines;

    (B) continuous monitoring of student progress in the classroom; and

    (C) professional development, including mentoring, to promote student achievement.

  (8) School district--For the purposes of this section, the definition of a school district includes an open-enrollment charter school.

  (9) School readiness certification system (SRCS)--In accordance with the TEC, §29.161, the school readiness certification system is a valid, research-based automated system provided by the State Center for Early Childhood Development through which an early childhood education program submits an application demonstrating the program's record of cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children to be certified as a school ready program.

  (10) School readiness integration--In accordance with the TEC, §29.158, school readiness integration refers to cooperative strategies to share resources across public and non-public program delivery organizations in a community or communities that may include, but are not limited to:

    (A) sharing certified or highly qualified teachers so that every child in each targeted classroom receives a minimum of three hours daily of high-quality skill development consistent with developing children's social and emotional well-being;

    (B) developing a comprehensive instructional framework, based on the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, consisting of common performance goals that encompass the unique characteristics of each individual organization responsible for preparing young children for school success;

    (C) sharing physical space if one organization lacks capacity while another has available capacity;

    (D) conducting joint professional development programs that focus on proven school readiness components, including the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines; and

    (E) adopting similar approaches to student progress monitoring to inform classroom instruction.

  (11) School readiness integration partnership--A collaboration among public prekindergarten programs and local workforce development boards, Head Start providers, college or university early childhood programs, and/or providers of private for-profit or nonprofit licensed child care services that provides a school readiness component to eligible prekindergarten students.

  (12) School ready or school readiness--A term that refers to a child being able to function competently in a school environment in the areas of early language and literacy, mathematics, and social skills as objectively measured by state-approved assessment instruments.

  (13) Shared services arrangement (SSA)--An agreement between two or more school districts and/or education service centers (ESCs) that provides services for entities involved.

  (14) State Center for Early Childhood Development (SCECD)--The state center for early childhood education research and training for early childhood teachers and caregivers administered by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

  (15) Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines--Guidelines approved by the commissioner of education that offer detailed descriptions of expected behaviors across multiple skill domains that should be observed in four- to five-year-old children by the end of their prekindergarten experience. The guidelines are to prepare prekindergarten children to master the skills and concepts in each subject area specified in §74.1 of this title (relating to Essential Knowledge and Skills) in the kindergarten Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

  (16) Tier 1 grantee--An applicant not currently eligible to receive funds under Tier 2 eligibility criteria.

  (17) Tier 2 grantee--An applicant that participated as a Tier 2 grantee in the Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program in school years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 that is eligible to receive continuation funding.

(b) Eligibility. Eligible applicants include school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and ESCs operating as the fiscal agent of an SSA. An applicant may apply for Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program funds if the applicant meets the criteria for a grantee as defined in subsection (a)(16) or (17) of this section and:

  (1) establishes a school readiness integration partnership;

  (2) demonstrates how the applicant will measure student progress based on proven school readiness components and the SRCS in accordance with TEC, §29.161; and

  (3) demonstrates a commitment to adopt a kindergarten reading diagnostic assessment instrument compatible with the requirements for submission of kindergarten data to the SRCS.

(c) Application and grant award.

  (1) An eligible applicant must submit a Prekindergarten Early Start Grant Program application in accordance with the instructions provided by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

  (2) An applicant must document in the grant application its locally adopted procedures for:

    (A) determining which eligible students will participate in the program;

    (B) implementing a strategic plan encouraging eligible students to attend the program; and

    (C) sustaining the level of program quality and services following the term of the grant period.

  (3) Each applicant shall provide evidence that before establishing a new prekindergarten program, the school district considered the possibility of sharing use of an existing Head Start or other licensed child care prekindergarten site as a prekindergarten site.

(d) Notification. The TEA will notify each applicant in writing of its selection or non-selection for funding. In the case of an application selected for funding, notification to the grantee will include the contractual conditions which the grantee must accept in accordance with state law.

(e) Funding. Funding allocations may take into account the percentage of educationally disadvantaged students served in the district, in addition to other funding allocation methods as determined by the commissioner annually in the grant application. Contingent upon adequate appropriations, distribution of funds will be according to the following funding structure.

  (1) Tier 1 funding. The highest percentage of available funding will be proportionately awarded to Tier 1 grantees. Funding will be provided for a period not to exceed five years from year one of grant application approval and will be based on annual accomplishment of grant objectives and requirements set forth in the application in subsequent years of the five-year cycle.

    (A) Grants will be awarded first to Tier 1 applicants whose average student performance over the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments administered under the TEC, §39.023, is substantially below state average and whose application score meets a minimum score as defined in the grant application.

    (B) Any funds remaining after all grants for Tier 1 applicants meeting criteria defined in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph have been awarded may be awarded to Tier 1 applicants whose average student performance over the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments administered under the TEC, §39.023, is at or above the state average and whose application score meets a minimum score as defined in the grant application.


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