Dearborn Public Schools is again taking applications for its Great Start Readiness Program for this fall after recently receiving permission from the state to expand the free preschool program.
GSRP is a state-funded preschool program students can participate in at no cost to eligible families. Dearborn is adding four additional classrooms, a total of 64 more students, to its GSRP program and expanding the program to Lowrey and Geer Park schools. The expansion brings the district to a total of 576 GSRP students in classrooms spread across 14 locations.
GSRP serves low-income and working class families who are below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, said Early Childhood Coordinator Amy Modica. Students need to live in the Dearborn Public Schools District. Under current guidelines, a household with four people earning up to $66,250 a year would qualify for the program. See the current GSRP income guidelines here.
To be eligible, children need to be turning four years old by Dec. 1, 2021. Preference will be given to students who will be four by Sept. 1, 2021 because those students will qualify for kindergarten next year, but the program will accept students with birthdays between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, if space is available.
Dearborn Public Schools will now offer GSRP classes at Cotter, Lowrey, Geer Park, Becker, William Ford, Henry Ford, Long, McCollough, McDonald, Oakman, River Oaks, Salina Elementary, Salina Intermediate and Whitmore-Bolles schools.
GSRP classes are generally 16 students with two adults, including a certified teacher and paraprofessional. Classes meet for a full school day from Monday through Thursday. Times vary slightly by building, but are similar to the elementary school schedule. The program meets detailed state requirements using the Highscope Curriculum for how and what students learn.
Besides recruiting more students, the district is also looking for additional paraprofessionals who hold a Child Development Associate credential or an associate degree in early childhood to help staff the classrooms.
“We focus on kindergarten readiness. Our emphasis is on student social/emotional readiness for school,” Modica said. In addition to learning academics like letters and colors, GSRP students learn how to get along with other children, how to take care of themselves, and other skills they will need to thrive in kindergarten.
“We really encourage interested families to call and learn more and to fill out an application,” Modica said. To learn more, parents can call the Cotter Early Childhood Center at 313-827-6150 or visit the website at cotter.dearbornschools.org.
See the GSRP 2021 flyer