2022 – 2023 Applications
The Pre-kindergarten programs provide high-quality early learning experiences to help children develop basic skills and concepts necessary for success in kindergarten. Acceptance in a Pre-Kindergarten/Head Start program is based on age, income, risk factors, and eligibility.
- A child must be 3 years old on or before September 1, 2022, to apply for PreK 3 or Head
- A child must be 4 years old on or before September 1, 2022, to apply for PreK 4 or Head
Parents/Guardians may contact their home school for guidance on registering a student for the current (2021 – 2022) school year.
For more information on Pre-Kindergarten and Head Start, please contact
Department of Equity, Engagement, and Early Access
(301) 475-5511, ext. 32136
Online Cognito Common Application
The online process uses Cognito Forms and allows the parents/guardians to complete the application and upload required documents. Before you begin, upload the following required documents:
- Proof of Birth
- Proof of Residency
- Proof of Income Verification
Paper Common Application available in English/Spanish
It is recommended that all parents/guardians apply using the online Cognito Form. If a paper application in English or Spanish is needed, please contact your home school. 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.
Children are admitted to the program based on income eligibility.
To apply for the 2022-2023 school year, a child must be 4-years-old on or before September 1, 2022, and come from a family with an economically disadvantaged background or are homeless.
To apply for the 2022-2023 school year, a child must be 3-years-old on or before September 1, 2022, 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.
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.06.02.03 and the system has determined that the child demonstrated educational needs warranting early admission to the 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:
- 2021 W-2, 1040, or 1099
- Copies of the Last 3 consecutive paychecks
- Child Support
- SNAP Benefit Letter
- Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA)
- Social Security Insurance (SSI) or Social Security Income (SSA)
- Additional Supplemental Income
Food Stamps are not used as a source of income.
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.
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 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 into the Head Start program, the Family Service Providers work with families and conduct home visits to set family goals and provide support in a 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-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 and Evergreen school zones attend Pre-K 4 at Town Creek. 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.
Notification of Acceptance Status
The Pre-Kindergarten program is compelled by regulations to serve income-eligible (Tier 1) students first. Families will be contacted by the home school and a start date, with options for delivery of instruction, will be discussed with the parent/guardian.
The Early Childhood Education Review Team will make decisions on the acceptance (in rank order) of existing and new applications that are deemed Tier 2, and on the waitlist as space allows.
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.
All elementary schools are providing information, and are available to answer questions regarding the Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten Application. Please visit the elementary school websites for your home school telephone number and the contact person in the main office who will help.