School Readiness

The Office of School Readiness is created within the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education to do all of the following:
(1) Establish criteria and administer such programs and services as may be necessary for the operation and management of a voluntary prekindergarten program.
(2) Administer such programs and services as may be necessary for the operation and management of preschool and certain child development programs coordinating with the Department of Education for the inclusion of preschool special education.
(3) Ensure that the prekindergarten program provides a developmentally appropriate preschool program emphasizing growth in language and literacy, math concepts, science, arts, physical development, and personal and social competence.
(4) Receive and disperse any funds appropriated to the office from the Legislature for the establishment, operation, and administration of the prekindergarten program. The budget of the office shall be part of the Department of Early Childhood Education.
(5) Assist local units of administration in this state so as to assure the proliferation of services under this article.
(6) Coordinate with the regulatory division for the licensing of child care centers and with the administration of the United States child and adult care food programs at the child care centers participating in the prekindergarten program.
(7) Issue annual reports to the Governor, secretary, and Legislature concerning the administration and operation of the prekindergarten program.
(8) Provide leadership for enhancement of school readiness in this state by aggressively establishing a unified approach to the state’s efforts toward enhancement of school readiness. In support of this effort, the office may develop and implement specific strategies that address the state’s school readiness programs.
(9) Safeguard the effective use of federal, state, local, and private resources to achieve the highest possible level of school readiness for the state’s children.
(10) Provide technical assistance to local programs.
(11) Assess gaps in services.
(12) By January 2001, adopt a system for measuring school readiness that provides objective data regarding the expectations for school readiness, and establish a method for collecting the data and guidelines for using the data. The measurement, the data collection, and the use of the data must serve the statewide school readiness goals. The criteria for determining which data to collect should be the usefulness of the data to state policymakers and local programs’ administrators in administering programs and allocating state funds and must include the tracking of school readiness system information back to individual school readiness programs to assist in determining program effectiveness.
Ala. Code § 26-24-23 (1975)