The Starting Strong Rapid City Initiative seeks to provide a voluntary scholarship program to help 3-and 4-year-old children at risk of school failure access to quality early education in a qualified program of the parent’s choice. This model is parent-driven (parents choose the program they want their child enrolled in) and market-based (involves quality preschool providers in the Rapid City marketplace). The model includes development of public/private partnerships to spur quality improvement and combine knowledge, influence and financial resources to create opportunities. Such partnerships draw on available programs in Rapid City while increasing access for children from low-income families in need.
This program will provide a high-quality pre-kindergarten experience for preschool children whose families have socio-economic challenges and research-based risk factors and who reside within the Rapid City Area Schools district boundaries. In the first year, 50 3-year-old children will be enrolled. In the second year, the program will serve the three-year-olds progressing to age four as well as a group of 50 more three-year-olds. In the third year, the program will again serve 100 children — 50 3-year-olds and 50 4-year-olds.
A list of qualified providers who meet the quality benchmarks and choose to participate in the program is currently being compiled. If you are a program in the Rapid City Area Schools district boundaries and would like more information, please contact Kim Booth firstname.lastname@example.org or 342-6464.