Free GSRP preschool starting application distribution on April 8

Dearborn Public Schools Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) will start distributing applications on Friday, April 8 for the 2022-23 school year.

GSRP is a state-funded preschool program students can participate in at no cost to eligible families.  To be eligible, children need to be turning four years old by Dec. 1, 2022.  Preference will be given to students who will be four by Sept. 1, 2022 because those students will qualify for kindergarten next year, but the program will accept students with birthdays between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, if space is available.

Applications will be available for pickup from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday, April 8 at the following Dearborn Public Schools: Cotter, Becker, Henry Ford, William Ford, Geer Park, Long, Lowrey, Maples, McCollough/Unis, McDonald, Oakman, River Oaks, Salina Elementary and Whitmore Bolles.

After April 8, applications can be picked up any Thursday morning at Cotter school.  Appointments can also be made by calling the school office at 313-827-6150. Visit the Cotter School webpage to learn more.

GSRP is a state-sponsored program for families who qualify based on income. The program serves low-income and working class families who are below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, said Early Childhood Coordinator Amy Modica.  For the current school year, the income guidelines allow a family of four earning up to $66,250 a year, or $5,521 a month to qualify for the program.

To apply, students must live with a parent or legal guardian within the Dearborn Public School District.

Dearborn currently has 608 slots for GSRP students at 14 locations, including Cotter, Becker, William Ford, Henry Ford, Geer Park, Long, Lowrey, McCollough, McDonald, Oakman, River Oaks, Salina Elementary, Salina Intermediate and Whitmore-Bolles schools. 

GSRP classes are generally 16 students with two adults, including a certified early childhood specialist.  Classes meet for a full school day from Monday through Thursday.  Times vary slightly by building, but are similar to the elementary school schedule. The program meets detailed state requirements using the Highscope Curriculum for how and what students learn. 

“We focus on kindergarten readiness. Our emphasis is on student social/emotional readiness for school,” Modica said.  In addition to learning academics like letters and colors, GSRP students learn how to get along with other children, how to take care of themselves, and other skills they will need to thrive in kindergarten.

Families will be notified over the summer if they are accepted to the program or put on a waiting list.  Those with birthdays from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 will not find out until the beginning of September if they are accepted to the program.

“We encourage interested families to call and learn more and to fill out an application,” Modica said.  To learn more, parents can call Cotter School at 313-827-6150.