Dearborn Public Schools’ Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) will start distributing applications on Friday, April 28 for the 2023-24 school year.
GSRP is a state-funded preschool program students can participate in at no cost to eligible families. To be eligible, children need to be turning four years old by Dec. 1, 2023. Preference will be given to students who will be four by Sept. 1, 2023 because those students will qualify for kindergarten the following year. However, if space is available, the program also will accept students with birthdays between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1.
Applications will be available for pickup on Friday April 28 at the following Dearborn Public Schools. From 9 to 11 a.m. applications can be picked up at Cotter, Becker, Henry Ford, William Ford, Long, McDonald, Oakman, River Oaks, and Whitmore Bolles. Applications can be picked up between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. that day at Lowrey, Salina Elementary, and McCollough/Unis.
After April 28, applications can be picked up any Thursday morning at Cotter Early Childhood Center. Appointments can also be made by calling the school office at 313-827-6150. Visit the Cotter School webpage to learn more.
GSRP is a state-sponsored program for families who qualify. Student acceptance into the program is prioritized based on family income and eligibility factors that put students at-risk of struggling in school. In addition to family income, at-risk factors can include families who speak a language other than English at home, and a parent or parents with low educational achievement, among other factors. This year GSRP will take applications for all students who are eligible based solely on their age. The district will then accept students prioritized by need and available spots. To apply, students must live with a parent or legal guardian within the Dearborn Public School District.
Dearborn currently has 624 slots for GSRP students at 15 locations, including Cotter, Becker, DuVall, William Ford, Henry Ford, Geer Park, Long, Lowrey, 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 early childhood specialist. 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.
“We focus on kindergarten readiness. Our emphasis is on student social/emotional readiness for school,” said Amy Modica, the district’s Early Childhood Coordinator. 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.
Families will be notified if they are accepted to the program or put on a waiting list. Those with birthdays from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 and those with family incomes higher than 250 percent federal poverty level will not find out until the beginning of September if they are accepted to the program. Under guidelines for the current school year, a family of four earning up to $69,375 a year would qualify as under 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
“We strongly encourage interested families to call and learn more and to fill out an application,” Modica said. To learn more, parents can call Cotter School at 313-827-6150.