Dear ECE Families,
Yesterday we sent a communication notifying families that UPK Colorado results would be shared by the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) on March 30. We have since received an updated timeline from the CDEC confirming that families should now expect to receive their results by April 26. The timeline for sharing results has shifted based on the feedback the CDEC has received from a number of stakeholders. The extended timeline will allow the CDEC more time to ensure that the programs children have been matched to are still in place, appropriately place children with disabilities, and address continuity of care issues.
Just like many other ECE providers in Colorado, we adjusted our typical SchoolChoice process so ECE-4 families could also participate in the UPK Colorado lottery process to take advantage of this great opportunity. As a reminder, UPK Colorado results for four-year-olds and DPS SchoolChoice results for three-year-olds will not be released together. UPK Colorado results are now expected to be shared by the CDEC by April 26 via email or text (depending on the contact information provided in the application). DPS SchoolChoice results will be shared by DPS in mid-April.
UPK Colorado offered priority placement to:
Note: These priorities were only granted if the application indicated that they existed.
If you have questions about your initial UPK assignment, please call the UPK Colorado helpline at 303-866-5223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind that DPS is unable to change a family’s UPK Colorado lottery results as this is a state-run program.
We recognize that launching a program of this magnitude has its challenges but are optimistic that this is just the start of making preschool more attainable for Colorado families for years to come. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work through this initial year of the UPK Colorado process.
The DPS Early Education Department
Round 2 begins every year after families are notified of their Round 1 school placements, and ends in late August. This year, Round 2 will open in late April.
Round 2 of SchoolChoice is on a first-come, first-served basis, within school priority groups, and is for families who missed Round 1; took part in Round 1 but want to re-explore their options; or are new to DPS for next school year. Round 2 opens following the release of Round 1 results. To submit a Round 2 application sign into your SchoolChoice account and apply to your preferred schools. If you don’t have an account, you can create one using your email address or a current Parent Portal log-in. You can also call the Choice Hotline at 720-423-3493 for assistance with submitting a Round 2 application.
Note: ECE4 enrollment for the 2023-2024 school year is managed by UPK Colorado. Round 2 does not apply for ECE4.
SchoolChoice Hotline: 720-423-3493
Hotline hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mark your calendar for SchoolChoice: Jan. 13-Feb. 14, 2023
Save the date! The DPS SchoolChoice open enrollment window for the 2023-24 school year is 10 a.m. Jan. 13 through 4 p.m. Feb. 14, 2023. SchoolChoice enrollment is for any student who wants or needs to attend a new school for the following school year, particularly “transitioning” students, typically incoming kinder, sixth and ninth-grade students.
To prepare for SchoolChoice, families should begin thinking about which schools might be of interest to them for the 2023-24 school year.
Here’s how it works:
The SchoolChoice enrollment process for Early Childhood Education (ECE) families will be much different than in previous years due to Colorado voters passing Proposition EE in 2020 which Governor Polis signed into law in April 2022. Along with other Colorado school districts, DPS is working with the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) to continue expanding its Early Childhood Education program by rolling out a new enrollment process for Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado. This new change will provide additional funding opportunities for our ECE-providing schools and district partners, including charter schools and private ECE providers.
Families must complete both applications to apply to a DPS ECE program. Click here for more details on the application process.
1. Apply on the DPS SchoolChoice website at https://dps.schoolmint.net/ between January 13 and February 14 (closes at 4:00 pm). Select up to 12 programs to which you would like to apply.
2.0Apply on the UPK website between January 17 and February 15 to see if you’re eligible for additional funding.
1. Apply on the DPS SchoolChoice website at https://dps.schoolmint.net/ between January 13 and February 14 (closes at 4:00 pm). You will not select schools here– your school choices will not be recorded unless you also complete the next step.
2. Apply on the UPK website between January 17 and February 15 to select the schools to which you would like to apply.
Families must complete both applications to apply to a DPS ECE program. Please note, the new state implemented process will not have a waitlist for ECE4 applications unlike the DPS ECE lottery system. As a state entity we must comply with the new CDEC program, and follow the guidance provided at the state level.
More information about the state’s inaugural Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado program can be found on https://cdec.colorado.gov/colorado-universal-preschool. We look forward to updating you as new details come in, and starting your child’s educational journey here at DPS. If you have questions during the new application process, please contact the CDEC at (800) 799 5876.
Learn more about the ECE and Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado registration process here.
Universal Preschool (UPK) Colorado ensures that every child in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten is eligible for half-day (15 hours) of state-funded, voluntary preschool beginning in the 2023-23 school year. Three-year-olds with qualifying factors are eligible for part-time (10 hours) of preschool programming.
Who is eligible for the 15 free, voluntary hours?
Every child in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten is eligible for half-day (15 hours) of state-funded, voluntary preschool to support their preschool enrollment for the 2023-24 school year. Three-year-olds with qualifying factors are eligible for part-time (10 hours) of preschool programming.
What happens if I need more than 15 hours of free, voluntary preschool every week?
Families of children in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten and with certain qualifying factors, are eligible for an additional 15 hours stacked on top of the half-day programming, bringing those children to full-day programming.
Does this mean I can only get 15 hours of preschool every week?
No, you can apply for many types of programs. Your options include part-time, half-day, and full-day. Half-day (15 hours) of that program will go toward your total cost of care.
For example, if you are eligible for half-day, but need full-day care, the half-day portion is covered by UPK Colorado and the additional hours could be paid through Head Start, local funding, CCCAP or parent pay. Check with your provider to determine that amount, or review their rates on their application page.
Can I apply for any program in any location?
If you are applying for a preschool program at a school, you may need to be a resident in that district.
For example, you may not be accepted into a school-based program near your place of work as the school may need you to be a resident in that location.
What documents will I need to apply?
Proof of date of birth and residency will be collected as part of the registration process with the provider with whom you are matched.
You will need to provide proof of income with your application if you are applying for additional hours.
Certain families may need to provide a waiver for specific school districts in Denver and Canyon City if enrolling a child under 3. The LCO of these districts can support these families.
What if my child needs special accommodations or is enrolled in an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
While searching for providers, families can filter for special accommodations. Providers are required to list what they are able to support. This includes things such as dietary restrictions, routine medication, language and physical supports, and a variety of other needs.
Please contact your school district to ensure IEP resource alignment.
Are there any restrictions to providers I can apply for?
We want to offer families a wide range of options for their providers. However, we will still have certain limitations for school-based providers. Families applying for a school-based provider may need to be a resident of that district.
When can I submit an application and when they are processed?
You can submit an application anytime once the application opens on Jan. 17. Applications at the beginning of the year will be processed in rounds. This allows us to provide an equal opportunity for applicants to access providers of their choice. Once the rounds are completed, applications will be processed as they arrive.
What happens after my application gets submitted?
Once your application is submitted and processed you will receive an offer from a provider from your list. This offer will guarantee your child or children a spot with that provider.
What happens if I don’t like the provider I was matched with?
Our system will do its best to match you to your most preferred provider(s). If you are matched with a provider that no longer meets your needs, you will be able to reject that match. You may need to resubmit your application if you reject the match, depending on when the rejection is completed.
Can my child go to the same school as their sibling?
Yes, you can note that your child has a sibling with a provider that you have selected. We will take this into account to keep families and siblings together where possible.
Can I continue at my current provider?
Yes, you can note that you currently have a child enrolled with a provider that you have selected. We will take this into account to provide continuity of care where possible.
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For questions regarding programs or curriculum for ECE and Kindergarten, please call the Early Education Department at 720-423-2678.