Funding Early Learning to Reduce Disparities
Student Success Act (SSA) investments are allocated to three separate accounts. The Student Investment Account funds are to be used to meet students’ mental and behavioral health needs, and to increase academic achievement and reduce disparities for: students of color; students with disabilities; emerging bilingual students; students navigating poverty, homelessness, and foster care; and other students who have historically experienced disparities. This can include funding for early learning. Funds from the Early Learning Account will go toward early learning opportunities for kids under 5.
Early Learning Hubs and school districts each have specific activities and deadlines to meet over the coming months to ensure SSA investments meet the needs of their communities. This timeline provides a broad overview of those deadlines.
Obtaining Early Learning Account Funding
Funding to operate programs within the Early Learning Account is available through a Request for Application (RFA) process. The deadline to apply is April 2, 2020. Separate applications are required for each of the funding areas listed below. Applications and additional information are available on the Early Learning Division webpage.
Preschool Promise: This grant opportunity will expand the Preschool Promise Program to serve approximately 3,865 children. The Preschool Promise Program is a high-quality, publicly-funded preschool program that serves children ages three and four in families living at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, children in foster care and children from other historically under-served populations. The program is delivered in a variety of settings including centers, homes, and schools.
The Early Childhood Equity Fund: This fund was created as part of the 2019 Student Success Act and will provide about $10 million annually in grants to support a broad range of culturally specific early learning, early childhood and parent support programs, including:
- Parenting education
- Parent-child interactions
- Kindergarten transition
- Tribal language preservation and revitalization
The fund aims to close opportunity gaps for children and families who experience systemic disparities because of any combination of factors, such as race, income, zip code, or language through funding early learning services rooted in culture, home language, and lived experience.
Oregon Pre-kindergarten: This program was created by the 1987 Oregon Legislature to provide comprehensive preschool services modeled after the federal Head Start program, adhering to the federal Head Start Program Performance Standards and the Head Start Act. Oregon modeled the Oregon Pre-Kindergarten program after Head Start to expand high-quality early learning opportunities for the lowest income and highest need preschool children from prenatal to five years.
In addition to the Student Success Act, House Bill 2025 extends the age range of Oregon Pre-Kindergarten services to include prenatal through age three services, allows for extended day services for preschool aged children, and includes requirements for lead teacher and teacher assistant salaries.
Preschool Promise Fiscal Agent: Oregon’s Early Learning Division is inviting applications from interested and eligible entities to serve as Preschool Promise Fiscal Agents. Preschool Promise Fiscal Agents will be eligible to provide technical assistance to Preschool Promise Program Providers on a variety of business and administrative functions. Applicants must apply through this application which will be scored and reviewed against other applicants.
Identify & Connect With Your Early Learning Hub (Interactive Webpage)
Investing in Early Childhood Mental Health & Social-Emotional Learning (PDF for School Districts)
Integrating Health Into Your Continuous Improvement Plan (PDF for School Districts)
Examples of Early Learning Programming to Consider (PDF for School Districts)
A Guide to Braiding Funds to Pay for Preschool (PDF for School Districts)
Connecting School Districts & Early Learning Hubs (PDF for School Districts & Hubs with suggestions for working together)