Pre-Kindergarten Eligibility update

TEA recently sent out the  following letter updating the Prekindergarten Eligibility.


SUBJECT: Free Prekindergarten: Star of Texas Award Eligibility Criterion

During the 85th legislative session, an additional prekindergarten eligibility criteria was created to provide free public prekindergarten to children of peace officers, firefighters and first responders who have demonstrated remarkable courage and heroism in serving and protecting their communities throughout the state.

Free Public Three- and Four-Year-Old Prekindergarten

In 2017, the Texas Legislature amended via House Bill 357 Section 29.153 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) to include among those who are eligible for free public prekindergarten, a child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Awards. House Bill 357 was signed by Governor Abbott on June 15, 2017 and is effective immediately.

Summary of Prekindergarten Eligibility for Certain Children:

A child is eligible for free prekindergarten if they are four years old on or before September 1 of the current school year and meets one of the seven criteria listed below. A district may offer (but is not required to offer) a three-year-old program to eligible children, and the same criteria would apply. Age is always calculated as of September 1, of the current school year (for purposes of establishing eligibility). Therefore, a child is eligible for enrollment in prekindergarten if at least three years of age and:

  1. is unable to speak and comprehend the English language;
  2. is educationally disadvantaged (which means a student who is eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program);
  3. is homeless;
  4. is the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States;
  5. is the child of a member of the armed forces who was injured or killed while on active duty;
  6. is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (foster care) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code; or
  7. is the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as:
    1. a peace officer under Section 3106.002, Government Code;
    2. a firefighter under Section 3106.003, Government Code; or
    3. an emergency medical first responder under Section 3106.004, Government Code.

The Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division honors recipients annually in September. The resolution (certificate) awarded to an individual serves as proof of eligibility to enroll these children in free prekindergarten if they are age-eligible. A list of past honorees may be viewed on the Criminal Justice Division—Past Honorees webpage. If an individual has a prekindergarten-aged child and has been nominated, but not notified as an honoree prior to the current school year, an individual may make a request to the Office of Early Childhood Education to make an eligibility determination based on the nomination submitted for review to the Criminal Justice Division.

If you have additional policy questions, please contact Howard Morrison in the Office of Early Childhood Education at


Marnie Glaser
Executive Director of Early Childhood Education
Academics Division

Last Days to Register for Conscious Discipline July 10-11!

We are just a few days away from our much anticipated event!

As you know we will be offering a copy of the latest edition of the Conscious Discipline book. In order to have all orders in time for the training please register by Friday June 23. If you register past that date we may not be able to have the book here but we can certainly have it delivered to your address within days.

Conscious Discipline® Chaos to Calm

The Early Childhood Services present:

Conscious Discipline® Chaos to Calm

Join us for a 2-Day event where we will discover how Conscious Discipline® empowers teachers to impact children’s behavior.

The NEW Conscious Discipline® book (expanded & updated) will be provided with registration!

Permanently changing children’s patterns of behavior is tough. Children must be both “willing” to learn how to behave and must know the “skills” of how to successfully interact with others . Come learn the skills needed to transform children’s aggressive and defiant behaviors  into cooperative children of your learning community.

Acquire the tools necessary to identify, meet, and manage your most difficult children!


Use promo code CD2017 for:

$25.00 off by May 1st, 2017

$15 off May 2nd-June 2nd

Space IS limited!  Sign up Now!



TX PK Guidelines Now Available in both Spanish and Vietnamese!

Check it out!

Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines (updated 2015) Spanish (PDF)

Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines (updated 2015) Vietnamese (PDF)

In need of new strategies? We may have something for you!

Download our new 2017 Spring/Summer Training Flyer.

Interested in coming to a training that includes an updated copy of the Conscious Discipline Book, a color bound copy of the 2015 TX PK Guidelines OR a Make ‘n’ Take?

Looking for ways to reach the most difficult children?

Want to know more about how to take and use letter-wall activities beyond the wall?

Or perhaps, you are ready to tackle teaching measurement in the Prekindergarten classroom?

Space is limited!

Sign up now!




Looking for ways to Support Families of Children with Disabilities?

Check out this Bilingual Resource – Center for Parent Information and Resources

Families can learn more about how to support their young children’s education and engage with the systems that serve them by visiting the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) website. While CPIR specifically focuses on supporting families of children with disabilities, it provides a wealth of resources and links to support all families. Families can find information about their state’s parent training and information centers that can help them navigate early intervention and special education, even if they only suspect that their child may have developmental delays or disabilities. In addition, families of children receiving early intervention services and providers in early intervention systems can find specific information that supports family engagement in early intervention.

Elementary Extravaganza – “All Systems Go!”

Register prior to March 31st and save $25.00!

Mark your calendar for the 4th annual Elementary Extravaganza. “All Systems are Go” for June 6, 2017! Join us for this special one day conference dedicated to elementary teachers PK – grade 5. You will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of one hour sessions to create a personalized schedule of your very own.

Spend the day with other elementary educators experiencing practical topics and connections, generating ideas, and gaining insight into the multiple areas you are responsible for. Come ready to learn and have some fun in an environment that respects and honors the hard work and dedication required to be an elementary teacher!

Click the link below to REGISTER TODAY!

Elementary Extravaganza

Discount Code: EE2017

*Don’t forget to enter the discount code when prompted for “promotional code” during the checkout process. Discounts will not be applied to already processed registrations.


Read Aloud Tips

Reading aloud to young children is important because it helps them acquire the information and skills they need to succeed in school and in life. As teachers, we need to:

• Make reading books an enjoyable experience
• Read to children frequently
• Help children learn as they read
• Encourage children to talk about the book
• Ask children questions as you read

Comprehension Questioning Activities

Many read aloud programs train teachers and parents to ask purposeful questions about books to increase children’s language skills and give students a purpose for listening (Wasik, Bond, & Hindman, 2006; Whitehurst, et al., 1988). One effective way to do this is to ask a guiding question before reading and then discuss that one, important question in detail after reading (Denton, Solari, Ciancio, Hecht, & Swank, 2010; Solari and Gerber, 2008).

Guiding Questions:

• Set a purpose for listening and generate interest
• Require responses that are open-ended and can be extended
• Improve comprehension and encourage higher-level thinking
• Consider the whole book
• Gradually become more challenging across repeated readings

Guiding questions are usually a rich, open-ended questions that can have several answers, allowing children to respond in different ways.


Denton, C. A., Solari, E. J., Ciancio, D. J., Hecht, S. A., & Swank, P. R. (2010). A pilot study of akindergarten summer school reading program in high-poverty urban schools. The Elementary School Journal, 110, 423-439.

Early Childhood Head Start Task Force at the US Department of Education (2007). Teaching our youngest: A guide for preschool teachers and child care and family providers. Retrieved from

Solari, E. J., & Gerber, M. M. (2008). Early comprehension instruction for Spanish‐speaking English language learners: Teaching text‐level reading skills while maintaining effects on word‐level skills. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23, 155-168.

Wasik, B. A., Bond, M. A., & Hindman, A. (2006). The effects of a language and literacy intervention on Head Start children and teachers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 63.

Whitehurst, G. J., Falco, F. L., Lonigan, C. J., Fischel, J. E., DeBaryshe, B. D., Valdez-Menchaca, M. C., & Caulfield, M. (1988). Accelerating language development through picture book reading. Developmental Psychology, 24, 552.

Looking for Parent Resources?

Looking for resources to share with parents and families?

Visit the Texas Child Care Solutions website, recently launched by the Texas Workforce Commission.

The website has links to lots of Texas resources for parents, including information about:

  • child development,
  • developmental screening,
  • choosing quality child care, and
  • assistance to pay for child care

We’ve Joined Twitter @R13EarlyChild

Region 13 Early Childhood team is now on Twitter!

Follow us @R13EarlyChild