Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178
Dr. Maureen Montgomery, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 32178

LEONARDTOWN, MD – Due to COVID-19 and the school closures, it has not been possible for parents and guardians to visit schools to apply for Pre-Kindergarten or Head Start early childhood programs. St. Mary's County Public Schools is pleased to announce that beginning June 15, 2020, an online application process for Pre-Kindergarten/Head Start will be open to determine eligibility for school year 2020-2021.

This online process uses Cognito Forms that allows parents and guardians to complete the application and upload critical documents. Any family who is not able to access the online application can contact the Department of Supplemental School Programs at HeadStartPreK@smcps.org or 301-475-5511, ext. 32136 and a paper packet will be mailed to them with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope included. The application will also be available in Spanish.

The goal of the Pre-Kindergarten/Head Start program is to provide initial learning experiences to help children develop basic skills and concepts necessary for successful school performance. This process is not first come first serve. The placement process for Pre-Kindergarten will follow regulations in accordance with COMAR (13A08.01.02) and for Head Start will follow Health and Human Services (1302.12).

In order to apply, parents need to provide the required documents. A child must be three-years-old or four-years-old on or before September 1, 2020. Children will be admitted to the program based on income eligibility first. If vacancies remain, those will be filled using locally determined at-risk criteria and served in rank order. A limited number of Pre-Kindergarten 3 spaces are available in several Title I schools.

Required documentation includes the common application, birth certificate, proof of residency, proof of income, the child’s immunization record, any court papers regarding custody of the minor child, and the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) photo identification. The application will be available on June 15, 2020, on the St. Mary's County Public Schools website at www.smcps.org.

Proof of income must be provided in order for a child’s application to be processed. Proof of income documentation includes a 2019 W-2 form or copies of the LAST 3 consecutive pay stubs. Families must also disclose any supplemental income such as:

a) temporary cash assistance
b) child support
c) SSA/SSI

Documentation, which indicates the current physical address of the child, will be accepted as proof of residence. Proof of residence will include, but is not limited to:

a. Mortgage/deed/rental agreement with 911 address assignment.
b. Current utility bill with parent(s)/legal guardian(s) name, and the 911 address of residence and service address (post office box is not acceptable – and wireless telephone bills            are not acceptable).                                                                                                                                                                   
c. Patuxent River Naval Base housing form NOW-NATC-1110-1/15, Assignment to Public Quarters; which identifies bona fide residence in St. Mary’s County.

To locate your home school zone, please visit the school system website at www.smcps.org and go to: Offices, Transportation, Bus Stop, and School Locator. The name of the child’s home school will be required on the application.

Throughout the summer, parents of eligible children will be notified of their placement in a Pre-Kindergarten or Head Start early childhood program.