The Application Process
Who may apply for the Voluntary Pre-K class?
Parents/Guardians of children who are 4 years of age on or before August 15 and are zoned for Sumner County Schools.
How do I apply for the Voluntary Pre-K program?
Families have several different options. During the spring and summer months, applications may be completed online in English or in Spanish. At the end of the online application, families will be asked to upload the required documents. Be sure to have these documents ready, as applications without the birth certificate, proof of income, and applicable supplementary documents, will be marked “incomplete” and will not be reviewed.
Year round, applications may be completed on paper and submitted to the Sumner County Board of Education or your local elementary school. If copies are needed of the documents, they can be brought to the address on the back of the application where the Office of Voluntary Pre-K will make copies for you.
What is the due date for the Voluntary Pre-K application?
Letters of acceptance begin being mailed mid-June. However, the Voluntary Pre-K Office will continue accepting students until all seats are filled. There are twenty seats per classroom. The goal is to fill all twenty seats with students who have financial need or who lost a parent as a direct result of war. Any students who do not meet this criterion will be placed in Group 2 or Group 3 of the waiting list. As the school year approaches, if seats remain unfilled, students in Group 2 will be called. Group 2 consists of students who have English as their second language or require special education services. If other seats remain, students in Group 3 will be called. Any application received without documentation verifying income and/or a copy of the child’s birth certificate will automatically be marked INCOMPLETE and will not be reviewed.
My child was put on the waiting list. What are the chances he will come off the waiting list to be enrolled in a class?
It depends on the waiting list group where your child was placed and can vary year to year. It is unlikely that any students in Group 3 will be placed on a class list. In most locations, the same is true for students placed in Group 2. For students in the priority Group 1, open spots become available when students move and relocate or decide to withdraw from the program for another reason. In the past, Millersville and Westmoreland have had the shortest waiting lists and Vena Stuart (Gallatin) has had the longest.
What happens after I turn in the application for my child?
After you submit your child/children’s application, it will be reviewed based on the eligibility guidelines set by the TN Department of Early Learning. You will receive an email with further information, letting you know whether the application is complete or incomplete. However, class lists will not be announced until mid-June. Please make sure your email address is correct and easy to read, as this will be the main source of communication from the Voluntary Pre-K Office.
When will I know if my child is accepted into the class?
The Voluntary Pre-K program is state funded, and notification of funding is not confirmed until the state grant is announced in late spring. All class placements will be determined in the summer, once funding has been secured. Families will be notified by EMAIL about their child’s status for the VPre-K program. The email will state the school location their child has been selected to attend. Families will be able to confirm their acceptance to the class list or deny placement and participation in the program.
Families will also be notified if their child is not accepted and is placed on a waiting list. If a child is not accepted immediately and is placed on a waiting list, the application will be kept on file in the event of space becoming available at a later date.
Is it first come first served on the applications?
No, every application will be reviewed for eligibility, but all interested families are encouraged to turn in applications as soon as possible to be considered for enrollment. Students will be selected based on need and prioritized as such.
Will every applicant receive a spot in a classroom?
No, due to state regulations and teacher to child ratio, enrollment space is limited in each classroom. According to state guidelines for eligibility, priority placement is given to families of financial need or those who have lost a parent due to war. Once all children who qualify based on financial need have been placed, if additional space is available, additional applicants will be considered for placement. Each applicant is selected for placement based on his/her specific child/family need.
What qualifies as financial need?
The Tennessee Department of Education follows the US Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines, which has more specific numbers, but examples include an annual income for a family of three as $38,443; four as $46,435; or five as $54,427.
What will I need to have for enrollment if my child is accepted into the program?
If your child is accepted into a Pre-Kindergarten program, your acceptance letter will notify you of enrollment dates and procedures. You will need the following documents to enroll your child into the school.
- An official copy of your child’s birth certificate (be sure it is not the mother’s copy)
- The Tennessee State Health and Immunization Record and can be obtained from your child’s doctor or the Sumner County Health Department
- Two proofs of residency in Sumner County. These include: Gas, Water, or Electric Bills.
- If you are living with relatives or another resident of Sumner County, you will need to complete additional documents to prove your residence in Sumner County as well as provide residency documents listed above in the Sumner County resident’s name.
- All custody information including legal custody agreements and Parenting Plans, if applicable to your family.
What if I currently do not have a Sumner County residence but my family is planning to move to Sumner County?
Families may complete an application with their current residential address (street, city, state, zip code). In the additional information section of the application, parents will need to provide the approximate move date, residential address, if known, and the reason for the relocation. The application will be kept “on hold” until the family has moved and resides in Sumner County. The family is asked to contact the Office of Voluntary Pre-K once the move has occurred.
What if we are moving from out of state/out of the district and my child is already enrolled in a Voluntary Pre-K? Can we be grandfathered into Sumner County’s program?
No, unfortunately, it is likely all the VPre-K seats will be filled by the time school begins. However, families are encouraged to complete an application for the waiting list. If a spot opens and your child is the next on the priority list, you will receive a call.
I don’t think my child will be ready for kindergarten yet. What if I choose to wait and start my child in kindergarten a year later? Would she be able to attend the Voluntary Pre-K class at age 5?
No, the VPre-K program is only available for children who are 4 years of age using the birth date guidelines stated (August 15). This is a Tennessee State Law for all Voluntary Pre-K programs.