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LATEST UPDATE

NJDOE announced 2nd round of pre-k expansion funding!!!

Eligible district superintendents were emailed directly by NJDOE, then registered for mandatory TA mtgs.

Application deadline for districts is 11/15 noon for classes to start NLT 01/24/22. Superintendents: contact NJDOE Early Ed for more info.

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Pre-K Our Way, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization, organized in 2015 with a clear purpose: to make New Jersey’s existing high-quality, state-funded, full-day pre-k a statewide priority. This website provides more information about the importance of pre-k expansion and the strategic effort to make NJ’s Pre-K a funding priority. You’ll also find a list of the districts currently offering state-funded, full-day pre-k, as well as information about NJ’s commitment to universal pre-k as announced September 16, 2021 by Governor Murphy!

Our state has made real progress towards fulfilling the promise of a 2008 law: to provide high-quality, state-funded, full-day pre-k throughout New Jersey. In five years, there has been statewide, bipartisan support for funding pre-k expansion. In addition, the threshold level of a district’s eligibility has expanded to include districts where at least 20% of the families are ‘at-risk’ (receiving free or reduced lunch) rather than the original threshold of 40% of families in the ‘at-risk’ category. Importantly, each of the recent years also has seen ‘expanding expansion’ – enabling a local school district to continue to add more seats – and classrooms – for NJ’s pre-k, according to their already-approved plans. For the 2021-2022 school year, there are 175 school districts – and many tens of thousands of NJ’s 3- and 4-year-olds – with access to state-funded, full-day pre-k!

There’s no doubt: NJ’s pre-k expansion is a recognized statewide priority. Thanks to many people, it has bipartisan support. In addition to thanking Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin, we thank the members of the Legislature for their leadership. A special thanks goes to YOU for your support and constant voice in making – and keeping – NJ’s state-funded, full-day pre-k a statewide priority.

As an advocacy effort with a clear, strategic focus, Pre-K Our Way officially sunsets at the close of 2021. With the current state budget – the fifth consecutive budget with funding for pre-k expansion! – our closing efforts are now more narrowly focused to encourage local school districts to prepare for universal pre-k. As announced by Governor Murphy on September 16, 2021, New Jersey is on a path to commit to providing universal pre-k to all families across the state over the next several years.” The New Jersey Department of Education has been tasked to create a Governor’s Universal Pre-K Strategic Plan, and will focus on prioritizing districts and setting a timeline for expansion. In addition, the plan will ensure students have appropriate facilities and quality programming; involve providers and Head Start in planning to avoid displacing existing high-quality early learning centers; optimize funding streams, including federal funds; and utilize best practices from other states that offer expanded/universal pre-k programs.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Let your local school superintendent and school board members know that you want state-funded, full-day pre-k in your community! The Governor and Legislative Leaders made expanding NJ’s Pre-K a funding priority, and the New Jersey Department of Education is tasked with preparing a Universal Pre-K Strategic Plan. Encourage your local leaders to engage with the New Jersey Department of Education and start thinking about – and planning! – for how state-funded, full-day pre-k can be in your community!

WHAT YOU CAN DO
  • Send letters and emails to your school superintendent and local school board members.
  • Make phone calls to them and speak at the local board of education meetings.
  • Engage your community leaders, business organizations and parent groups!
  • Make sure that YOU encourage the superintendent and school board to plan how they can bring pre-k to your community – and encourage them to engage with the New Jersey Department of Education for state-funded, full-day pre-k in your community!