Apply Online for our Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten Programs


Updates:  Due to COVID-19 and the school closures, it has not been possible for parents/guardians to visit schools to apply for Pre-Kindergarten or Head Start early childhood programs.  We are pleased to announce the opening of the online application process and the availability of paper applications to parents/guardians.

The application will remain open throughout the summer and members of the Department of Supplemental School Programs will be available should anyone need additional assistance.  You may send an email to HeadStartPreK@smcps.org  or leave a message at (301) 475-5511, ext. 32136. 

Please understand our goal is to provide families with accurate and helpful information.  Some inquiries may require our staff to retrieve input from various departments; therefore, we will do our best to return your email or phone messages within 72 work hours. 

Thank you for your interest in applying to the St. Mary's County Public Schools’ Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten programs. 

We Wish You Well,

Head Start/Pre-K Application Team 


Eligibility

All age-appropriate children are welcome to apply. Children are admitted to the program based on income eligibility first.

4-Year-Old Eligibility

To enter a 4-year-old class for the 2020-2021 school year, a child must be 4-years-old on or before September 1, 2020 and come from a family with an economically disadvantaged background.

3-Year-Old Eligibility

To enter a 3-year-old class for the 2020-2021 school year, a child must be 3-years-old on or before September 1, 2020 and come from a family with an economically disadvantaged background.  A limited number of Pre-Kindergarten 3 spaces are available in several Title I Schools.

Economically Disadvantaged

All families regardless of income are welcome to apply.  Head Start Regulation 1302.12i states that program staff must use tax forms, pay stubs, or other proof of income to determine the family income for eligibility verification.   SMCPS is responsible for determining and upholding the regulation permitting a 3-year-old, or a 4-year-old child is eligible under COMAR 13A.06.02 and the system has determined that the child demonstrated educational needs warranting early admission to school.

Parents/Guardians are required to provide income verification in order for a child’s application to be processed. Proof of income verification may include:

  • 2019 W-2
  • Copies of the LAST 3 consecutive paychecks
  • Temporary Cash Assistance
  • Social Security Insurance or Social Security Assistance
  • Child support

Food Stamps are not used as a source of income. 

If a parent/guardian wishes to decline proof of income verification, the application will be processed; however, the child will be placed on a waitlist.  If vacancies remain after income eligible children have been admitted, any remaining seats will be filled using locally determined at-risk criteria and served in rank order.

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 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.  You may also call 301-475-4256, option 6.

Transportation

The safety of students during their transportation to and from school is a responsibility, which students and their parent/guardian 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 Head Start or 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.

Head Start Locations

St. Mary's County Public Schools Head Start provides a comprehensive child and family development program for low-income children ages three to five and their families.

The program is center-based and the students receive their educational instruction at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School or Greenview Knolls Elementary School.  Once a child has been accepted in the Head Start program, the Family Service Providers work with families and conduct home visits to set family goals and provide support in variety of ways.  The Education staff works with families to set education goals designed to support the parent/guardian role as the primary educator of their children.

Pre-Kindergarten Locations

Pre-K 4 programs are held at elementary schools with a few exceptions. Children who reside in the Lettie Marshall Dent, Mechanicsville, and White Marsh school zones attend Pre-K 4 at Lettie Marshall Dent. Children who reside in the Town Creek school zone attend Pre-K 4 at Green Holly Elementary. A limited number of Pre-Kindergarten 3 spaces are available in several Title I Schools.

Disclosure of Student Records

In accordance with St. Mary’s County Board of Education Regulations (JIH-R), the written consent of the parent(s) or 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.

List of Required Documents

In order to apply, parents/guardians must provide documents containing personally identifiable information about the child and their parents/guardians.  Required documents include the following:

  • Common Application;
  • PS 200 Registration Information Form;
  • Proof of Birth; birth certificate, passport/visa, physician’s certificate, baptismal or church certificate, hospital certificate, parent’s affidavit, birth registration.
  • Proof of Residency (POR); JEC-R; Acceptable POR will include one of the following:
  • deed with 911 address assignment, mortgage paper with 911 address assignment, and/or rental agreement or lease which show 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 911 address, and service address of a bona fide residence (post office box addresses and wireless phone bills are not accepted);
  • a signed, notarized affidavit from the landlord of the home in which the student resides verifying that the child resides at the 911 address (must include 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”), and an acceptable POR in the landlord’s name;

Forms\PS 604 Landlord Affidavit English.pdf or Forms\PS 604 Landlord Affidavit Spanish.pdf

  • Patuxent River Naval Base housing form NOW-NATC-1110-1/15, Assignment to Public Quarters, which identifies bona fide residency in St. Mary’s County or other official documentation of housing as provided through the Private Public Venture Housing/Military Housing Privatization Initiative;
  • Mary’s County official 911 address assignment;
  • 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). Parent/legal guardian name(s) must be on the accepted POR. Address Confidentiality Program (ACP): public schools must accept ACP substitute address and use it for all internal and external records and as the student’s actual, residential address.
  • Photo Identification of parent/legal guardian registering student confirming guardianship.
  • Social Security Number (SSN)-Optional; SSNs play a critical role in the linking of student data and therefore should be collected for all students receiving public funding.
  • Maryland Home Language Survey Home Language Survey
  • Income Verification
  • No Income Verification Form (optional)
  • Legal Documents (if applicable); i.e. custody papers, name change, protective orders.
  • Immunizations - documentation of current immunizations; a student with immunizations that are not compliant may be admitted if evidence of an appointment is provided.
  • Health Inventory / Physical; required of students who are entering a Maryland Public School for the first time.

How to Apply Online

Apply Online for our Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Organize and upload required documents

  • Refer to the list of required documents for what is required in your application.
  • You will need an electronic file of the required documents saved on your computer, iPad, Android, iPhone, etc. It can be a scan of the document or clear photo.
  • Accepted formats: .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, .xml, .png, .tiff, .bmp

Complete the Online Common Application.  All required fields must be entered.

  • Use the “SAVE” button to download your information or to resume the application at a later time. Using the “SAVE” button will also allow you to print your information.
  • “Submit” your common application and uploaded documents. You will receive an email confirming your application has been received.

How to Request a Paper Application

Organize required documents

  • Refer to the list of required documents
  • Do Not Send Originals. A copied print or clear photo is acceptable.

Request a Paper Common Application

Email: HeadStartPreK@smcps.org

Phone: 301-475-5511, x 32136

Mail:

Department of Supplemental Schools Programs
23160 Moakley Street, Suite 103
Leonardtown, Maryland 20650

Either audibly or in writing, clearly state your name, home address, telephone number and a brief message regarding your request.

  • A Common Application will be mailed to the address you provide. For your convenience, a self-addressed stamped envelope will be enclosed in the mailing. If you prefer an application in Spanish, please indicate that in your message.
  • Complete the application and mail it along with ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS preferably in the envelope provided to:

Department of Supplemental Programs
23160 Moakley Street, Suite 103
Leonardtown, Maryland 20650 

Notification of Acceptance Status

Throughout the summer, parents/guardians of eligible children will be notified of their placement in a Head Start or Pre-Kindergarten early childhood program.  Acceptance letters and/or emails will begin to be distributed on August 1, 2020.

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 parents/guardians after admittance to the home school has been established. 

Contact Information

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, SMCPS’ are not open to the public at this time.  Dr. Kelly M. Hall, Executive Director, heads the Department of Supplemental School Programs (SSP).  The Head Start/Pre-K application team is comprised of staff in Head Start, Title I, the Judy Center, and Early Childhood programs. Coordinated responsibilities are entrusted to Student Services; the Department of Special Education; Transportation, and the Department of Assessment and Accountability.

For more information:

Email: HeadStartPreK@smcps.org

Phone: 301-475-5511, x 32136

Mail:

Department of Supplemental School Programs
23160 Moakley Street, Suite 103
Leonardtown, Maryland 20650

Additional Documents

No Income FormNo Income Form

Notarized Landlord Affidavit Form

Landlord Affidavit En Espanol (PS 604)

Home Language Survey

Physical Examination Form