Program Development Background
One of our Strategic Priorities is to investigate, plan for, and implement a Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) program that meets the needs of our community and integrates effectively into our schools.
Following the School Board Special Meeting vote on October 11, 2022, Falmouth Public Schools submitted a formal grant request to the Maine Department of Education (DOE) for funding to start a public Pre-K program. Informed by the community survey administered in September, and feedback from the October 3rd School Board Workshop, the Pre-K Planning Team felt it was fiscally prudent to move forward with the grant request. The team recognized the need for continued work and discussion around what program model was appropriate to implement in the short term versus long term, that would best meet the needs and vision of our community and schools. Our next step was to expand our team to include families and other invested stakeholders. The slides from the 10/3/22 School Board Workshop and Presentation are available. On December 6, our District Pre-K Planning Team hosted a Pre-K Information Session to discuss the tentative Pre-K program plan and rationale, timeline and next steps, and provide an opportunity for Q&A and feedback. The slides from the 12/6/22 Pre-K Information Session are available.
Significant interest and demand for public Pre-K in Falmouth
The importance of a full-day program, ideally five days per week
The importance of considering short and long-term financial implications to minimize or remove potential future strain on Falmouth taxpayers
The importance of working to ensure all families who need, and want, to take advantage of a public Pre-K program have the opportunity to do so
The Maine DOE grant allows us to cover a wide range of start-up costs for the establishment of the Pre-K program. That support, coupled with the annual revenue received from Maine DOE’s Essential Programs and Services (EPS) per-pupil education funding allocation, will provide substantial annual funding to support ongoing program costs.
While there are very few school districts in Maine that have programs that accommodate all 4-year-old students through public Pre-K programs in their communities, we share the aspiration to meet the needs of any and all families who wish to enroll their children in a Pre-K public school experience. To that end, we continue to look for ways to expand the number of students we are able to serve, while also recognizing the importance of fiscal prudence and managing within current space demands and constraints.
We are pleased to announce that Falmouth Elementary School will provide full-day public Pre-K programming for up to 48 students during the 2023-24 school year. In order to be eligible, children must be 4-years-old on or before October 15, 2023. Students turning five before October 15, 2023 would not be eligible for our Pre-K program, but would be eligible for Kindergarten. Parents/caregivers must commit to sending their children full-time (5 days/week, full days). Students are selected through a lottery process. Lottery registration occured from April 4 - 25, 2023.
- The placement process will begin once all names have been pulled. If a child has a twin or same-age sibling who is pulled in the lottery, we will also place their twin/same-age sibling.
- Our Pre-K classrooms must reflect the demographics of our school in the areas of socio-economic status, multilingual learners, and learners identified for special education .
- Families were notified the week of May 1, 2023 if their child was selected. We also notified families of their position on our waitlist.
- Families will have one month from the date of notification to complete enrollment online. If enrollment is not completed on time, the spot will be considered forfeited and given to another child on the waitlist.