How do I know if my child is eligible for Pre-K?

Enrollment in the Voluntary Pre-K program is based upon a child’s eligibility as identified in TCA 49-6-101─104. Available space in each school system is limited and is based on the funding awarded each year through a grant process. Children must be four years old by Aug. 15 prior to the new school year and reside in the area served by the school district. No child who is age eligible for kindergarten (five years of age on or before Aug. 15 prior to the new school year) may be enrolled in pre-K.

What are the entrance requirements for VPK?

First priority for enrollment is all children who meet free or reduced price lunch income guidelines and are four years old by Aug. 15. If space is available after enrolling children who qualify for free or reduced lunch, the program may enroll children who have disabilities, are English Language Learners, are in state custody, or who are at risk as defined by U.S.C. § 1400 et sec. , regardless of income. If space is still available after the first 20 days of the new school year, the school district can submit a request to the Office of Early Learning to enroll all other children at that time.

Enrollment Priority Requirements?

1st Priority (Tier 1) - Pursuant to state law 49-6-101: students identified as economically disadvantaged. This identification is based on income levels set each year by the Department of Health and Human Services. and used during the application process to determine income eligibility for enrollment. Check with your local school district for application to determine child’s eligibility.

2nd Priority (Tier 2) - Students with disabilities, students identified as English Language Learners (ELL), in state custody, or those identified as educationally at-risk for failure due to circumstances of abuse or neglect.

3rd Priority (Tier 3) - If space for enrollment remains after identifying children who meet Tier 1 or 2, the LEA may enroll any child that meets the age requirement and the requirements set forth by the Community Pre-K Advisory Council (C-PAC). These students are considered unserved or underserved and may be enrolled by the process established by the C-PAC.

Can and Individual Education Plan Team (IEP) guarantee placement of a child with a disability into a particular pre-k program?

Children with disabilities must meet entrance requirements for any program considered. An IEP cannot necessarily guarantee a placement into a particular program. Programs may be full or have entrance requirements which have to be met. IEP teams should work with pre-K representatives to discuss appropriate placement opportunities for children to receive special education services that may be appropriate for a particular child. A representative from that program may be included in the development of the IEP by providing information or by attending the meeting. It is important that programs and agencies work together to ensure appropriate placements for all preschool children.

How do I apply for the VPK program?

Overton County Schools starts taking applications in the middle of March for the upcoming school year. Applications are taken until the end of the upcoming year. Once all information is turned in at the school, child's name is placed onto a waiting list.

Where are the Pre-K classrooms located and which one would my child attend?

Overton County has one Voluntary Pre-K Classroom at the following schools A.H. Roberts Elementary, Hilham Elementary, Rickman Elementary, and Wilson Elementary.

Overton County Schools are not zoned. Therefore, parents are able to take children to the school of their choice (if room is available). You may also request for your child to be put onto more than one waiting list. (Only one application needs to be filled out.) If you need bus transportation, your child would have to attend the school that provides bus services for your area. First priority is given to those students that live in the bus zoned area.

What are the attendance requirements for pre-K Programs?

VPK enrollment is limited at this time due to funding. Because statute requires a minimum of 5.5 hours a day five days a week, funding is provided accordingly. Full-time enrollment is required for entry into this program because it was not designed to be a drop-in or part-time program. All children are enrolled on a full time basis only. Participation in VPK is voluntary and parents may withdraw their child at any time. Excessive unexcused absences could result in dismissal from the program.

What will my child learn in pre-K?

Your child’s first year of school is an exciting time for both you and your child. The goal of the pre-K school year is to engage each child in learning through a curriculum that focuses on the needs of young children in all areas of development including language, early literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, physical development, as well as social emotional development, and healthy living. Each day is planned to provide hands on experiences that develop and support a child’s love and joy of learning. The classroom environment creates a safe, nurturing and supportive place for young children to explore these new learning opportunities and to set the foundation for future learning in the years to come. Your child’s teacher will provide you with information on classroom activities throughout the year to keep you informed on what your child is learning about throughout the year.

To accomplish all of this in pre-K, your child’s teacher will need your support to learn about your child and his/her interests. This will help the teacher build on what your child is already comfortable with and to also expand his knowledge of new things. The teacher will also provide suggestions and ideas for ways to help your child continue to grow and learn as home.

Is transportation provided for pre-K?

Yes, Overton County School does provide transportation for the students in pre-K. Pre-K students choosing to ride the bus, will ride a regular school bus with other students from the school.

How much time can my child spend on the bus?

Children in Tennessee can spend no more than 90 minutes on a bus either to school or on the return trip home.

What do I do if my child is having difficulty in pre-K?

First talk to the child’s teacher. Remember, young children learn many different skills at different times. If the issue is not resolved, schedule a conference with the building-level administrator, which might include the pre-K teacher and/or supervisor. If concerns persist, a referral to your local school for an evaluation of your child may be recommended. Call your local elementary school or the special education department in the school system in which you live to make a referral.

Can a child in pre-k be dismissed because of inappropriate behavior?

Participation in the TN VPK program is voluntary. Parents can withdraw their child at any time. The TN VPK programs cannot dismiss a child due to inappropriate behavior without submitting documentation of the attempted behavioral interventions to the Tennessee Department of Education's office of early learning. Children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) being served by the TN VPK may not be dismissed; however, the IEP team may convene to discuss a change to provide a more appropriate program or services.