A new policy will increase access to high-quality free pre-K for Dallas-area families.
The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees Thursday night approved a pre-K scholarship program that could positively impact hundreds of families. Racial Equity Office Deputy Chief Leslie Williams and Assistant Superintendent of Early Learning Derek Little said the pre-K scholarship policy will help address structural racial inequities and bring the long-lasting benefits of Dallas ISD pre-K to more families.
“It’s to the advantage of our district and our students to have as many students participate in our pre-K program as possible,” Williams said. “We know the data shows that when our students participate in our pre-K program, they go on to significantly greater success in the following years.”
The State of Texas has six eligibility requirements for families to qualify for free pre-K. The new policy opens up three additional ways–listed below–families can qualify for free pre-K in Dallas ISD under the scholarship policy:
· A member of the lowest-performing student group on the third-grade STAAR exam, which currently are African-American students;
· A student with limited English proficiency, regardless of their native language;
· A student whose family income is above the pre-K eligibly eligibility limit and less than or equal to 300 percent of the poverty limit. For example, the current pre-K eligibility limit for a family of four increases from $47,638 to $77,251.
Little said district leadership will annually review the data to gauge the success of the pre-K scholarship policy and make adjustments as needed. The district anticipates at least 200 students benefiting from the scholarship program in the upcoming school year.
“Data shows that Dallas ISD pre-K provides meaningful, lasting impact to our students,” Little said. “We are thankful to trustees for approving this policy change to expand access to pre-K and help close the achievement gap for our students.”