Smart Start is a competitive grant program established in Section 10-506 of the Connecticut General Statutes. This grant provides funding to establish or expand a preschool program in public schools. To date, 25 school districts have received a Smart Start grant, with 23 current grantees (link to other page).
Smart Start for Recovery
In 2021, OEC invited current Smart Start grantees and districts identified to have an unmet need for preschool spaces to apply for the Smart Start for Recovery Grant. This grant opportunity was provided in response to a loss of preschool spaces due to the pandemic. Ten school districts were awarded the Smart Start for Recovery Grant, which is funded for two years through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Smart Start and Smart Start for Recovery programs are required to:
- Submit a plan for allocating at least sixty per cent of the spaces in the program to children from families that are at or below seventy-five per cent of the state median income, or fifty per cent of the spaces in the program to children who are eligible for free and reduced price lunch.
- Demonstrate work toward NAEYC accreditation. Programs that continue to receive Smart Start funding must achieve NAEYC accreditation within 3 years of receiving the grant.
- Have a certified teacher with an early childhood education or early childhood special education endorsement
- Meet other requirements consistent with OEC General Policies, including providing data in the ECE Professional Registry and ECE Reporter
- Submit monthly enrollment reports and an annual operations report to OEC.
- Smart Start for Recovery Programs must have an annual health and safety inspection
Michelle Levy, Program Manager- firstname.lastname@example.org