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2011-12 Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment, Scheduling & Attendance

The legislation that created Tennessee's Voluntary Pre-k (VPK) Program requires the State and our districts to account for the students served in our state and lottery funded pre-k classes. Thanks to the hard work and diligence of the attendance, technology and pre-k staff at our districts to correctly enroll and classify the children in our programs, we are able to provide required information.

The Pre-K Enrollment, Scheduling and Attendance Guidelinesdownload Word file were developed to be used in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Education Student Membership And Attendance Accountability Procedures Manualdownload pdf file.

There are a few points of note in the attached guidelines that we want to bring to your attention when you are enrolling and coding pre-kindergarten (pre-k) students who participate in Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-k (VPK) classes. 

  1. Pre-k coding:  All students who participate in Tennessee’s VPK (expansion or pilot funded) classes must be coded correctly to allow us to account for our students.  Effective last school year (SY 2010-2011), all of Tennessee’s VPK classes are now State funded including classes that were previously lottery funded.  All students in VPK classes should be coded Q.
  2. Pilot classes:  Pilot classes are part of Tennessee’s original VPK program and are also coded Q.  Because pilot classes are the only VPK classes that serve P3 and P4 students, if an LEA was awarded pilot classes in prior years, it is to the LEA’s benefit to retain the pilot status of these classes.  During the grant application process (where applicable) LEAs are asked to designate which class locations are pilot classes.  If the pilot classes are not identified in the VPK grant application someone from the Office of Early Learning will contact you in the near future to do so.     
  3. Age requirements:  To participate in state funded (expansion or pilot) VPK classes, students must meet the age requirement by September 30 of the enrolling year (2011).  Pilot classes continue to allow students who are P3 or P4.  However, other VPK classes are limited to P4 only.  To participate in a P3 class the student must be 3 years of age on or before September 30, 2011.  To participate in a P4 class, the student must be 4 years of age on or before September 30, 2011.  If the child does not meet the age requirement by September 30, 2011 he or she is not eligible to participate in the VPK classes until the following year.  Students who are kindergarten entrance age, five years old on or before September 30, 2011, are not generally eligible for VPK enrollment.  The exception to this rule is the five year old who receives special education services with a current IEP in which the IEP team recommends the VPK program as the most appropriate placement.  Exception requires prior approval of the Director of Early Childhood or Assistant Commissioner of the Division of School Readiness and Early Learning and is contingent upon available space once all first tier eligible at-risk students are admitted. 
  4. At-risk students:  Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year a universal income eligibility application (Income Eligibility -Workbook 2011-12download Excel fileRevised9/27/11 ) should be completed for all children and families applying for admission to the VPK program.  The application will identify at-risk children/families who meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) federal income poverty guidelines, which are equal to the income guidelines defined by TCA 49-6-101, for VPK eligibility purposes.  Students who meet the HHS income poverty guidelines are given first tier priority for admission into Tennessee’s VPK classes and should be coded L (Economically Disadvantaged Pre-k) in EIS.  Please note:  As indicated in the VPK Income Eligibility Application and in accordance with USDA Guidelines, all students who participate in a Head Start VPK class automatically qualify as economically disadvantaged and should be coded L. 
  5. Eligibility for National School Lunch/School Breakfast Program:  Eligibility for the VPK program does not qualify the family for Free or Reduced Price Meals.  If a family chooses to participate in the National School Lunch/School Breakfast program, they must be directly certified, (SNAP benefits, Families First, Homeless, Migrant) or complete an application.  The school system will notify the parents if they are directly certified.  If not, the interested parents should complete an application for this program. This application is available after July 1 through the Office of School Nutrition.  It should be a part of the packet every student receives.  If the parent has questions, please have them contact the local School Nutrition Program supervisor.  All VPK students are to be assigned one of the following lunch designations in EIS:  X (eligible for free lunch), Y (eligible for reduced price lunch) or Z (eligible for student paid full price lunch).  If a student does not have an assigned lunch designation, he or she is presumed to be student paid full price lunch.
  6. Flexible/staggered scheduling:  We have modified the guidelines to allow a maximum of 10 days per school year for staggered (flexible) scheduling.  All 10 days may be used at the beginning of the school year or the LEA may schedule 5 of the allowable 10 days at other times during the school year as deemed necessary and appropriate.  However, none of the 10 days may be used during the last 30 days of the school year. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tracey Ray, Director of Data Services, Tennessee Department of Education, Division of School Readiness and Early Learning at the following:  Phone:  (615) 253-5215; email:

Pre-K Enrollment, Scheduling and Attendance Guidelines Summarydownload Word file

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tracey Ray.

We wish you a fantastic 2011-2012 school year!