Background

In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3 (HB3), which:

  • requires school districts to provide full-day prekindergarten (pre-K) to eligible four-year-old children
  • allows school districts to request a temporary exemptionPDF if the school district does not have capacity to provide full-day programs
  • requires that school districts solicit proposals to develop partnerships with community-based child care programs in order to request a temporary exemption

To be considered for partnerships, child care programs must meet one of five quality criteria, which include being a Texas Rising Star Three- or Four-Star program. The information included on this web page is meant to support the development of those partnerships, including wraparound care (before and after school) for eligible three- and four-year-old children dually enrolled in pre-K and the Child Care Services program.

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What is a child care/pre-K partnership?

Image showing partnerships can either exist within a district classroom or within a childcare center, but students are dually enrolled.

Source: RECESS Initiative grantee, Commit Partnership with Early Matters Dallas

A child care/pre-K partnership is a collaboration between a public school pre-K program and one or more quality-rated* child care programs (sometimes referred to as “day care”) to provide high-quality care and education to three- and four-year-old children. This is also called an “early learning partnership.” 

*Texas Rising Star Three- and Four-star certified programs are eligible for pre-K partnerships. Visit this TEA web page for additional information.

Formal partnerships exist when eligible three- and four-year-old children are dually enrolled in TWC's Child Care Services program with a Texas Rising Star Three- or Four-Star facility and public school pre-K. This allows for eligible students to receive wraparound care to better support the needs of working parents.

The physical classroom is often in a Texas Rising Star Three- or Four-Star child care center, but it can also be on a school campus. The teacher must meet certain requirements, such as having a bachelor’s degree, and can be employed by either the school district or the child care center. Information on other quality requirements is available here (slides 11–22)PDF. TWC and TEA will provide a robust support network to help you meet these requirements.

Informal partnerships exist when a school district and one or more child care centers share resources and information with each other. For example, the school district could share school-readiness expectations and professional development training for a shared curriculum, while the child care center invites school district pre-K teachers to trainings on conscious discipline or developmentally appropriate teaching strategies.

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How does the Texas Workforce Commission support partnerships?

For dually enrolled children, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will pay for the wraparound child care, which are the hours before and after pre-K instruction. For more information, see WD Letter 02-20, issued on January 8, 2020, and titled “Prekindergarten Public-Private Partnerships and Wraparound Child Care.”

TWC also provides technical assistance to Texas Rising Star child care programs and Local Workforce Development Boards to help them develop and sustain partnerships. For more information, please email:

prekpartnerships@twc.texas.gov

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How is a child eligible for public school pre-K?

To be eligible for a full-day program, a child must be at least four years of age by September 1 of the current school year and meet at least one of the following criteria. The same criteria apply for three-year-old children to be eligible for half-day programs.

  • Are unable to speak and comprehend the English language
  • Are economically disadvantaged, which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program (Find the current year’s income charts here.)
  • Are experiencing homelessness
  • Are the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States
  • Are the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States
  • Are in, or have been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services
  • Are the child of an individual eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical first responder

For more information, see https://tea.texas.gov/academics/early-childhood-education .

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What are the benefits of partnerships?

For families, partnerships can provide the following:

  • Consistency between the school day and before/after care
  • Better hours for working parents who need a full workday of care
  • A child care curriculum aligned with the local school district for greater school-readiness
  • The ability for students and families to remain at child care locations where they have existing relationships
  • Greater continuity in education and care for children
  • High-quality pre-K programming and greater support for the transition to public school for kindergarten.

For child care programs, partnerships can provide the following:

  • Potentially higher enrollment and greater financial stability by continuing to fill classrooms for three- and four-year-old children, while also receiving support and/or funding from the local school district
  • An opportunity to share knowledge with and learn from teachers who have received a different type of training and education
  • A pathway to help transition parents and their children to public school for kindergarten
  • Greater information and support for children to meet the school-readiness expectations of the local school district
  • Increased resources and professional development opportunities

For school districts, partnerships can provide the following:

  • Quality wraparound care for longer hours than a typical school day (before and after-school programming)
  • The ability to share school-readiness standards and expectations for children who are future students
  • Access to teachers with more rigorous training in developmentally appropriate practice and social/emotional support
  • More pre-K setting options to meet the diverse needs and preferences of parents
  • A larger population of eligible three- and four-year-old children, without having to build more classrooms
  • Increased resources and professional development opportunities
  • Open lines of communication with other early childhood education programs currently serving future students
  • Earlier opportunities to engage parents in the local school district

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2021 Pre-K Partnership Summit

TWC and TEA hosted a Pre-K Partnership Summit in the spring of 2021 for Local Workforce Development Boards to learn about how they can work together in their regions to support and expand pre-k partnerships. Here are the resources shared during the Summit:

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Resources

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Contact

For more information, please email:

prekpartnerships@twc.texas.gov