Head Start Pre-K Partnership
To better serve the early learning needs of young children in St. Paul, SPPS and Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties Head Start program are partnering to open more Pre-K programs for four-year-old children at three SPPS elementary schools in fall 2023. This partnership is a mixed-delivery model, which means that both organizations will pool funds and resources to provide children with a high-quality Pre-K education.
The expansion of the SPPS-Head Start partnership is aligned with Governor Walz’s vision to provide Minnesotans with a mixed-delivery program model to broaden Pre-K program access for families and provide young children with a “world-class education.” In addition, through this partnership, SPPS will become a leader in the state by moving beyond leasing space and sharing a few resources with Head Start to co-creating a high-quality program that provides St. Paul children and families with a seamless early learning experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is SPPS forming this partnership with Head Start?
The Pre-K program needs of families continues to persist in the city of Saint Paul: SPPS currently has over 600 families on a Pre-K waitlist across the district. Similarly, Head Start has 539 preschool-aged children on their waitlist.
Where will the new Pre-K classrooms be located? How were the sites chosen?
The locations are Eastern Heights, EXPO and Highwood Hills. The locations were selected based on their proximity to the greatest overall Pre-K needs in the city for both SPPS and Head Start families, and the schools’ capacity for additional students.
How many seats will be available for children?
Across the three sites, a total of 80 additional Pre-K seats will be available:
Total increase in
How will children be identified and enrolled into the program?
Recruitment into the program will be done by Head Start through their waitlist. SPPS Student Placement staff will then enroll children into Campus and ensure that children meet attendance area criteria to receive SPPS transportation.
How will the Pre-K program be staffed? Will the classroom be any different than any other Pre-K class?
Under this mixed-delivery program model, SPPS will provide educational programming consistent with its existing Pre-K programming and taught by its licensed teachers and paraprofessionals.
Head Start services are federally regulated and highly monitored. As such, Head Start will support children and families with support services related to student health and family advocacy.
The children will be a mix of Head Start funded and SPPS funded students (all students will be entered/enrolled into Campus via SPPS Student Placement). However, for the purposes of the classroom and school staff, all children will simply be known as “students” and not otherwise identified by how their “seat” is funded.
Is there a plan in place for hiring teachers and paraprofessionals for these new Pre-K sections?
The Office of Early Learning is working closely with Human Resources to hire the teachers and paraprofessionals for these openings. A recent Pre-K recruitment effort has yielded several teaching applicants that puts SPPS on track to have the staffing needed for this program.
Who is managing the funding streams and allocations for the programs?
The SPPS Office of Early Learning and Head Start will manage all financial aspects and staffing for the program. Like any other elementary school with a Pre-K program, the principal will function in the role of instructional leader.
Are there plans to expand this partnership Pre-K program to more schools?
If this expanded partnership proves to be successful and the demand for Pre-K seats persists, SPPS and Head Start will consider expanding this mixed-delivery program model.
Are there currently other SPPS and Head Start partnerships?
Head Start has been providing services to SPPS children and families at two locations:
- At AGAPE, Head Start provides Early Head Start child care services for the infants and toddlers of the teen parents enrolled in the ALC program.
- At 271 Belvidere, Head Start leases space from SPPS to operate four classrooms to deliver stand-alone programming to families and their young children