Durham PreK

We are now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. Please call 919-403-6960 ext. 216 to schedule an application appointment.

Durham County Government has committed to equitable access to high-quality preschool for all children in Durham. Investments will not only increase the number of publicly funded pre-K slots, but also broaden eligibility and work with teachers and private centers to build their quality through teacher and director education, mentoring and coaching.

As part of Durham PreK, Durham County investments will:

  • improve quality in preschool programs by funding a variety of quality improvement activities, including paying for coaching and professional development for teachers;
  • support higher wages and compensation for those teachers by paying higher reimbursement rates than currently available for NC Pre-K;
  • expand access for four-year-old children by paying for new spaces and by increasing eligibility guidelines to include most families; and
  • offer a mixed-delivery system of PreK for four-year-olds by partnering with high-quality child care programs in the community, Durham Public Schools and Head Start.

The County has entered a two-year contract with Child Care Services Association (CCSA) to manage the expansion of Durham PreK. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) have established a Governance Committee chaired by the Durham County manager’s office to approve Durham PreK standards and policies.

When will Durham PreK start?

Our first Durham PreK Technical Assistance (TA) Pipeline cohort began in November 2018. Programs in our TA Pipeline will start receiving support toward quality improvement. Five classrooms have been chosen to start as Durham PreK sites on March 1, 2019. Eight additional classrooms will be added as Durham PreK sites in the 2019-2020 school year.

When does Durham PreK operate?

Durham PreK will follow Durham Public Schools calendar and operate 6.5 hours a day for 180 days a year.

Who is eligible for Durham PreK?

Durham PreK Governance Committee approved Durham PreK eligibility requirements and sliding scale in November 2018.

  • All Durham County residents are eligible to attend Durham PreK classrooms.
  • Free for families at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and household size
  • Start charging a parent fee at 300% FPL on a flat percent of a family’s gross monthly income
  • Use a tiered system that starts the flat percent at 4% at 300% FPL and moves to 7% at 350% FPL

Where will Durham PreK be located?

Durham PreK sites will be a mix of private child care centers, Durham Public School and Head Start classrooms. Once sites have been selected, we will post site information on our website.

How can I apply for Durham PreK? 

To schedule an appointment to apply for the 2019-2020 school year, please call 919-314-6813. Click here for more information about how to apply or here to see our informational flyer.

What are the higher standards set by Durham PreK?

Durham PreK sites will follow all NC Pre-K standards and policies in addition to Durham PreK Standards and Policies. Durham PreK is in its developmental stages. The Durham PreK Governance Committee will continue to adopt and revise standards and policies. Additional requirements will center on professional development as well as supports for children and families.

Until these standards are fully set, information about standards considered can be found in the recommendations set forth by the Community Early Education/Preschool Task Force report published in April 2017. Additional information about the need for expanded access to preschool in Durham and about the development of Durham PreK is available in the Durham County Supply and Demand Report and our Durham County Supply and Demand Executive Summary published in June 2018.