Clear Creek ISD board approves partnership with child care centers in effort to implement House Bill 3

(Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Clear Creek ISD board of trustees on Jan. 20 approved a partnership between the district and select child care centers to help day care staff better prepare prekindergarten students for daily life at CCISD schools.

The partnerships will begin in August of the 2020-21 school year, Christy Lawrence, CCISD's assistant director of early learning, said in an email. Preschool providers that implement CCISD pre-K curriculum, are a Texas Rising Star program 3 or higher, provide a state-certified teacher, and enroll at least eight students who qualify for pre-K are eligible for the partnerships.

The instruction that CCISD will provide to partnering child care centers aligns with kindergarten Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which affects student school readiness. This will include coaching and modeling of high-impact teaching strategies, curriculum and some instructional materials. The partnership also entails providing small group instruction and early intervention of students not enrolled in CCISD prekindergarten programs based on those students’ individual needs, Lawrence said via email.

Under House Bill 3, which was signed into law in June, districts that do not provide full-day pre-K for all eligible students must apply for a waiver. Qualifying for the waiver involves meeting several requirements, including evidence of a phase-in plan as well as forming partnerships with outside child care centers. Critical factors for a successful full-day pre-K phase-in include adequate facility space, materials, salaries, programming and transportation, Lawrence said via email.

CCISD plans to apply for that waiver, Lawrence said, as it will give the district the necessary time to accommodate the increase in student enrollment for full-day pre-K. The district will have the ability within two years to accommodate all qualifying students, Lawrence said.

The partnership’s approval goes hand in hand with the district’s plan to implement HB 3 and provide high-quality pre-K learning, officials said at the Jan. 20 board meeting. Before the partnership was brought to the board, 10 area centers were identified as being the right fit for the program, and each was invited to further develop the partnership through a proposal, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Holly Hughes told the board during the meeting. Of those, two centers submitted proposals that met the criteria, Hughes said.

In 2018, CCISD received a $255,000 Texas Education Agency grant to foster partnerships with area child care providers. The providers that were formerly partnered with the district chose not to resubmit their proposals under the new program, Hughes said. However, she said the community-based nature of the partnership will be the same with the two new centers.

The district hosts professional learning sessions for child care workers to learn how to look for early signs of special needs in pre-K students and be aware of the special education services the district provides. At a cost of $19,000 a year, CCISD provides an online tool called ReadyRosie that allows parents to do activities with their young children to prepare them for school, Chief Communications Officer Elaina Polsen told Community Impact Newspaper in September.

These efforts are all geared toward setting CCISD students on a path to success as early as possible, Lawrence said.

“By partnering with these select childcare centers, Clear Creek ISD has early access to future CCISD students and can get a jump start on their academic success,” she said via email.

By Colleen Ferguson

Reporter, Bay Area

A native central New Yorker, Colleen worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact Newspaper before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. She covers public education, higher education, business and development news in southeast Houston. Colleen graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she worked for the university's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange. Her degrees are in journalism and Spanish language and culture. When not chasing a story, Colleen can be found petting cats and dogs, listening to podcasts, swimming or watching true crime documentaries.