Pre-Kindergarten Application Guide
2023-2024 Pre-Kindergarten 4 Application is Now Available
St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) offers full day Pre-Kindergarten to children that reside in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, meet age requirements, and are income eligible. The Pre-Kindergarten programs provide high-quality early learning experiences to help children develop basic skills and concepts necessary for success in kindergarten. Per the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, acceptance in Pre-Kindergarten is based on age, income verification, homelessness, or foster care status.
For general questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blueprint for Maryland Future Eligibility
SMCPS adheres to the guidelines provided by the Blueprint for Maryland Future criteria for Tier 1 status eligibility. An eligible child must:
- be 4 years old on or before September 1st of the current year in which they are applying;
- disclose verifiable family income that is at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. Families that are at 185% FPL will be served first;
- be identified as McKinney Vento via the Department of Student Services or documented as homeless via the Department of Social Services will be served;
- currently in the foster care system.
Required Documents for Screening
A family who voluntarily applies for Pre-Kindergarten are screened for eligibility. The required documents for screening are:
- Pre-Kindergarten Application (online preferred)
- Proof of date of birth will include one of the following:
- an original or copy of the student’s official birth certificate or
- hospital certificate
- physician’s certificate
- birth registration
- a valid, un-expired passport which gives the student’s date of birth
- Proof of residence will include one of the following:
- deed with 911 address assignment, mortgage statement with 911 address assignment, and/or signed rental agreement or lease which shows occupancy of an owned or rented domicile;
- building contract (letter from builder, realtor, landlord, etc., which indicates 911 address and projected occupancy date);
- current property tax bill/Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation form;
- current utility bill with parent(s)/legal guardian(s) name, 911 address, and service address of a bona fide residence (no post office box is accepted - wireless telephone bills are not acceptable); physical address and service address must match;
- a signed, notarized SMCPS PS 604 - Notarized Landlord Affidavit form from the landlord of the residence in which the child lives verifying that the child resides at that 911 address. Include the language, "I solemnly affirm under the penalties of perjury and upon personal knowledge that the contents of the foregoing paper are true in the affidavit." If the documentation is from the landlord, then the landlord must provide the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) with proof of residence using one of the preceding categories;
- 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 or other official documentation of housing as provided through the Private-Public Venture Housing/Military Housing Privatization Initiative (Standard Lease Agreement);
- hardship case as determined by the Director of Student Services; or
- documentation as available through the Maryland Safe At Home Address Protection Program (COMAR.01.02.11).
- Verification of Income will include one of the following:
- 2022-W2, or 2022-1099 Form, or 2022-1040 Form;
- three (3) consecutive pay stubs within 3 months of the application date;
- temporary Cash Assistance (TCA/TANF) Letter displaying current and up to date verification and award amount;
- Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Letter displaying current and up-to-date verification;
- proof the child receives Medicaid Services.
- Additional income the parent/guardian receives to support the child and family may include:
- Child Support
- Social Security Insurance (SSI)
- Social Security Benefits or Pension
It is necessary when applying online, you have electronic access to the required documents. For efficiency, these required documents may be uploaded at the time a family is completing the online Pre-Kindergarten application.
How to Apply
It is recommended that all parent(s)/guardian(s) apply using the online application. The application is also available in Spanish. If a paper application in English or Spanish is needed, please contact your home school or the Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access.
It is necessary that copies of the required documents are submitted with a paper application. Upon completion, paper applications and required documents may be mailed or delivered in-person to the home school.
District Level Acceptance in Pre-Kindergarten
All families are welcome to apply; however, income verification is required for all applicants and all submitted applications are screened by the home school and the District office. The Pre-Kindergarten program is compelled by regulations to serve income-eligible students first. The parent(s)/guardian(s) of applicants that meet eligibility criteria for acceptance will receive notification in writing or by email that the child has been accepted. If there are Pre-Kindergarten spaces remaining after income eligible students have been accepted and enrolled, applicants on the waitlist may be accepted based upon available spaces and location.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future allows for the public school system to prioritize Pre-Kindergarten services to 4-year-olds.
|FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL||CONDITIONS FOR ACCEPTANCE|
|at or below 185% FPL or homeless||Accepted in a Pre-Kindergarten program|
|186% -300% FPL||Blueprint eligible – Waitlisted until available space and location has been approved|
|301% - 600% FPL||Over income and not Blueprint eligible – Waitlisted – should seek alternative Private Providers and/or high-quality childcare|
If an application does not meet eligibility criteria, an alternative type of follow-up will occur:
- Waitlisted: The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified by the District that the application meets eligibility requirements, however, is waitlisted until an available space or location is identified.
- Over Income: The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified by the District on the status of the application and the reason(s) for denial. The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be encouraged to seek an alternative childcare program in the instance available space for over income families does not become available.
- Updates in MSDE guidance or the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future law occurs, and a child may be identified either to be waitlisted or accepted for other reasons.
If the parent(s)/guardian(s) need more information regarding the status of an application or would like to appeal a decision, they should contact the Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access at (301) 475-5511 x 32136.
Families who have successfully been screened and accepted into the Pre-Kindergarten Program will complete the school registration at the home school or the school of designation/availability.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) are required to complete the registration process by providing the following documentation to the home school:
- Student Registration (PS 200)
- Photo Identification of Parent/Guardian
- Child’s Social Security Number (Optional)
- Record of Immunization
- Medical Physical Examination
- Maryland Home Language Survey
- Student Health Information
- Acceptable Use Policy for Technology
- FARMs Meal Application
- Custody or Court Orders (related to the child)
Home School District
Information regarding which school serves your residential area is provided by the Department of Capital Planning. To locate your home school zone, please visit www.smcps.org, Office of Capital Planning. Click on the Find a School by your address button to locate the home school by street name.
The safety of students during their transportation to and from school is a responsibility that students and their parents/guardians share with the bus driver and school officials. A parent or designated responsible party must be at the bus stop to put the student on or take a student off the bus. If no adult is at the bus stop to receive a student, the student will be returned to the school. If a student is returned to the school three times, their bus privilege will be lost.
When a child has been admitted into a Pre-Kindergarten program, the parent/guardian will be contacted in writing or by email providing the student’s bus number, and the estimated arrival and departure times.
Vaccination & Medical Information
In order for your child to enter a Maryland public school for the first time, the following health-related items are required.
- A physical examination by a physician or certified nurse practitioner must be completed within nine months prior to entering the public school system or within six months after entering the system.
- Evidence of complete Maryland required immunizations for all students in preschool through the twelfth grade.
- Evidence of Maryland required blood testing for lead screening is required for all students born on or after 1/1/2015 when first entering Pre-Kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade.
Vaccination & Medical forms are located in our forms database. If you have any questions related to health requirements, you may contact the school nurse at your child’s school.
All eligible students have access to a Pre-Kindergarten program at their home school or at an alternate designated school. Schools that share a Pre-Kindergarten program are:
|Home School||Pre-Kindergarten Program|
|Mechanicsville ES||Lettie Marshall Dent ES|
|White Marsh ES||Lettie Marshall Dent ES|
Disclosure of Student Records
In accordance with St. Mary’s County Board of Education Regulations (JIH-R), the written consent of the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be obtained for disclosure of any personally identifiable records pertaining to a student for educational purposes such as registration and enrollment. Confidentiality will be maintained with regard to student records.
Student Transfer Request
A parent/guardian may indicate on the Common Application a desire to transfer their child to a school outside their home school zone. This does not guarantee that a child will be granted a transfer. Permission to transfer from a school in the home school zone to another zone is a privilege that must be requested and approved annually by the Director of Students Services or their designee.
A transfer will only be considered after placement in the home school has been offered and if space exists at the requested school. You may indicate on the Common Application if you would like to be considered for a transfer outside your home school zone. Home schools will provide the official Student Transfer Request form to parent(s)/guardian(s) after admittance to the home school has been established.
All elementary schools will provide information about their Pre-Kindergarten Program and are available to answer questions. Please visit the elementary school websites for your home school telephone number and the contact person in the main office who will provide assistance.
The Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access can also be of service in answering child specific questions regarding the Pre-Kindergarten Program. You may contact a representative by calling (301) 475-5511 x 32136 or emailing Charlottis Woodley, Director of Parent and Family Engagement at email@example.com.
For bilingual assistance, please call (301) 475-5511 x 32242 to be connected to a bilingual speaker.