My committee received a briefing yesterday morning on the Mayor's Implementation Plan for the Seattle Preschool Program. While the Council approved the structure and foundations of the program last summer (and these elements were affirmed by voters in November), there is another layer of operational detail of the program that needs to be reviewed and approved.
We also listened to a presentation from Dr. Jason Sachs, the head of Boston's public preschool program. Seattle has modeled much of its program after Boston, which has dramatically narrowed readiness gaps of its students entering kindergarten. In fact, they have seen so much success in their preschool classrooms that they reworked their kindergarten curriculum too.
Working out the details like program evaluation, provider and student selection processes, application procedures, staff education supports and instructor compensation is crucial to a successful start to this program.
The City's Department of Education and Early Learning staff have been working at a fast pace since last November. They conducted extensive community outreach and coordinated input from many City and partner agencies on the development of the plan.
The City is on a tight time frame to open the first 14 classrooms of the Seattle Preschool Program in September. My committee will hold a public hearing on this plan on March 18 and potentially vote it out of committee on April 1. We are targeting a vote at the Full Council on Monday, April 6. After the Council passes the plan, the City will begin the provider contracting process.
More details about the City’s process can be found here.