About the First Class Pre-K Program
The First Class Pre-K Program is Alabama's state-funded voluntary program for four-year-old children who are residents of the State of Alabama. The program is funded by the Education Trust Fund and the Preschool Development Grant through the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) Office of School Readiness (OSR). In order to receive funds for a First Class Pre-K Classroom, organizations must first complete an online application.
First Class Pre-K has been recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) as meeting 10 of 10 criteria for the highest quality Pre-K programs. Funding for First Class Pre-K is to (1) provide access for more children to attend high quality pre-K and (2) enhance the quality of existing classrooms by providing funding and support to meet the high quality standards. All state-funded classrooms receive coaching from specialized coaches to support classroom instruction and Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP). Additionally, ADECE monitors help to ensure funding compliance and a high level of accountability for the funds.
Eligibility to Apply to Become a First Class Pre-K Classroom
Alabama First Class Pre-K is offered in a variety of diverse delivery settings in all 67 counties across the state, including: child care centers, public school systems, faith-based centers, college and university lab schools, private schools, community organizations, military child care centers, and other providers of preschool.
Head Start-funded classrooms use a non-competitive application process that opens annually in January. Head Start grantees will receive direct communication from the department when the application process is open.
Any funding from the department is intended to supplement existing funding sources and is not to be used to supplant federal funds, as outlined in the First Class Pre-K Program & Classroom Guidelines.
Department funds for First Class Pre-K are not intended to fully fund a classroom and/or teacher salary and benefits. All grantees are required to provide additional funds to ensure the highest quality expectations are met, as outlined in the First Class Pre-K Program & Classroom Guidelines.
The Department provides the following levels of funding:
First Class Pre-K funds are awarded on a per-classroom basis as follows:
- New Classroom Setup (1 year only)
- Up to $120,000
- Tiered Funding (annual funding amount depends on free and reduced lunch population)
- Annual Funding Amount of $84,804 for those with less than 50% free and reduced lunch population
- Funding Amount of $87,612 per year for free and reduced lunch population of 51-60%
- $90,420 for free and reduced lunch population of 61-75%
- $93,228 for free and reduced lunch population of 76-90%
- $97,908 for greater than 90% free and reduced lunch population
- Excellence Funding (3 year renewal cycle)
- Up to $48,300 per year for increasing quality through teacher pay, professional development, classroom environment, etc.
- Per Pupil Allocation Funding
- Funding amounts of up to $3600, or $200 per pupil enrolled, will be provided separately for non-Head Start classrooms that receive Tiered and Excellence Funding. This funding will be based on the actual number of students enrolled and attending class as of September 30, 2020.
**All supplemental funds may be in-kind or from other revenue sources. For Tiered and New Classroom/Plus Funds, the supplemental funding amount must be at least 25% of the award. Excellence Funds require that the grantee provide the funds necessary to equal the amount to fund a First Class Pre-K classroom.
Starting the Online Application Process
To apply online, applicants will first need to set up an account in the Foundant Grant Lifecycle Manager system. Please click the link above to register your organization in Foundant. If you have already applied through Foundant in a previous year, your information will still be in the system.
Please only set up one account per organization. Organizations which share the same taxpayer identification number should only have one account. Additionally, only one application should be submitted per classroom requested. There is a place on the application to indicate if the organization is willing to consider an alternate amount if the initial request cannot be funded.