• betseyrussell

Doing the work of preschool expansion

Happy October, Early Childhood Education Champions!


Please read the previous blog post for background on Buncombe County Commissioners' focus on preschool and how they are working with Buncombe Partnership for Children (BPFC) and ABPPC to expand NC Pre-K--this post will dive right into the work we've been doing recently.


Below is a DRAFT graphic of the components of this planning process. We will be making recommendations to the County related to these 6 areas (at least). The top three address child care providers' barriers to providing the high quality NC Pre-K program. The bottom three address families' barriers to accessing NC Pre-K. In each area, groups centering EQUITY in reviewing data, engaging partners, and making final recommendations.


If you are interested in providing one-time input OR digging into these conversations deeply, the best way to do that is by engaging in a work group (Child Care staff can receive gift cards for their participation!):


1. Compensation Work Group (Lissy@buncombepfc.org)

  • identifying a salary scale for all NC Pre-K teachers and assistants

  • recommending a per-slot reimbursement rate that will fully cover the cost of providing high-quality NC Pre-K

  • outlining administrative needs and real costs

2. Program & Workforce Work Group (Jenny@buncombepfc.org)

  • Working with directors and classroom teachers to develop supports (coaching, training, educational incentives, etc.) for programs who want to offer NC Pre-K in the future

  • Identifying realistic timelines and expectations for participating programs to reach NC Pre-K quality standards

  • Working with classroom teachers to designing supports and incentives for teachers to be able to increase their education

3. Data & Mapping Work Group (Caroline@buncombepfc.org)

  • Developing MAPS of where funded slots are, where transportation is and isn't available, where wrap-around is and isn't available, etc.

  • Reviewing and analyzing those maps to identify areas where families do not have access to high-quality funded Pre-K, transportation or extended-day care

  • Recommending priority areas for expansion

4. Common Application/Coordinated Enrollment Work Group (Deanna@buncombepfc.org)

  • Designing one common online application for all funded preschool slots to be sure families are accessing programs they are eligible for

  • Designing placement processes that center family preference while also ensuring balanced classrooms and maximized public funds

  • Promoting preschool's benefits and preschool registration aggressively in spring 2022

We are also working with some child care centers and community-based organizations to host "community listening sessions" to be sure FAMILY VOICE is part of this ongoing planning work. Please reach out to deanna@buncombepfc.org if you could work with us to engage the families you work with who might want to know more about expanding Pre-K and be part of the conversation!


One more note: You can check out Buncombe County's Early Childhood Education and Development Fund Committee and their meetings here.

  • On October 5 at 1:00 they will host a panel discussion about behavioral health in early education (open the agenda to find the link to join the meeting).

  • On November 2, WE will be presenting on the NC Pre-K planning so far. Meetings are open to the public!