SPPS Partners with Head Start to Expand Pre-Kindergarten
SAINT PAUL, Minn. (Monday, April 17) -- Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) and Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties Head Start program are partnering to expand Pre-K access at three SPPS elementary schools in fall 2023. This partnership is a mixed-delivery model with both organizations pooling funds and resources to provide 4-year-old children with a high-quality Pre-K education.
The expansion of the SPPS-Head Start partnership is aligned with Gov. Walz’s vision to provide Minnesotans with a mixed-delivery program model to broaden Pre-K 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 co-creating a high-quality program that provides St. Paul children and families with a seamless early learning experience.
The four new Pre-K classrooms will be located at Eastern Heights, EXPO and Highwood Hills elementary schools. Combined with the new Nature Discovery Pre-K program at St. Anthony Park Elementary School, these new early learning options will increase the district’s Pre-K capacity by more than 10% (a total of 160 additional seats across four schools).
“We are ready to welcome families into Saint Paul Public Schools with open arms. Early education is essential not only for young learners and their families, but also for stabilizing enrollment in Saint Paul Public Schools,” said SPPS Superintendent Joe Gothard. “Families who enter SPPS in Pre-K are more likely to stay. That continuity of their educational journey is key to unlocking students’ full potential and academic success.”
The needs of families for high-quality, affordable Pre-K programs remains high in the city of St. Paul: SPPS currently has over 600 families on a Pre-K waitlist across the district. Similarly, Head Start has over 500 preschool-aged children on their waitlist.
Under this mixed-delivery program model, SPPS will provide educational programming consistent with the district’s existing Pre-K programming and taught by its licensed teachers and paraprofessionals. Head Start will support children and families with services related to student health and family advocacy.
“I am excited about our new partnership that allows us to expand Head Start services into Saint Paul Public Schools to provide the opportunity for more children to learn and grow as they transition from Head Start to kindergarten and build a strong foundation for success,” said Sonia Gass, executive director of Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties.