Kindergarten Readiness
Quality Subgrants

Grants for Transition Planning

The Children’s Cabinet announces a request for proposals for Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subgrants. These grants support community efforts to help ensure successful transition of children from early childhood settings into kindergarten.

The transition into kindergarten is a critical milestone for children and families. A smooth transition helps kindergarten staff meet the individual needs of children. A defined, collaborative, and sustainable transition plan benefits the entire community.

Applications will be submitted through the new Kansas CommonApp platform.

Who is eligible to apply?

Key partners in transition planning efforts include community-based organizations, school districts, Head Start programs, parents and families, child care centers/home-based providers, and organizations that support early childhood care and education (e.g. service centers, technical assistance providers).

The following organization types are eligible to apply: 

  • 501c3 organizations
  • Community-Based organizations and libraries
  • Unified School Districts
  • Head Start programs
  • Community coalitions with one partner designated as fiscal agent
  • County and city governments
  • Universities
  • KDHE-licensed child care facilities serving birth through age five

Kansans Can Star Recognition program

The Kansans Can Star Recognition program (Kansas State Department of Education) recognizes communities that offer quality, inclusive opportunities to young children and their families so that each student enters kindergarten at age 5 socially, emotionally and academically prepared for success. These Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subgrants will help prepare districts for the self-assessment and application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application, Eligibility, and How to Submit

Can I apply to more than one grant?

Only one application can be submitted per organization.

Where can I see my User Profile information?

Your profile details are as you entered them when you first registered on this site. If you need to change them, click on your avatar at the top right of the screen and modify as needed.

Your profile details will be visible to reviewers, and you’ll also see them in the final PDF of your application once you have submitted it.

Can I make changes to my application once it has been submitted?

Applications cannot be edited once submitted.  However, you may submit a request to have it administratively unlocked. Once you make the edits, you will need to submit again. The final version is due March 19, 2021 by 11:59 pm. Applicants who intend to make changes to their applicants are encouraged to save it as “In Progress” prior to submitting the final version.

What is a "community-based organization"?

This could be a nonprofit, a library, a service organization of any kind. For the Connecting Families to Services Subgrant, we know that a lot of communities use nontraditional organizations to help make connections so families get their services from all kinds of different places. This is intended to give your community flexibility on who might be the best entity to put forth an application.

Could these grant funds be used in partnership with ECBG, KPP, or Preschool at Risk grant funds to improve quality and availability of services?

PDG Subgrant funds are not intended to replace other grant funding, but you can certainly combine funding sources to create an overall project that is larger or enhanced with new features. You could request a subgrant for your entire project or you could request that the subgrant amount is a portion of another project. It is not a requirement to have any matching funds.

Can these funds be used to support COVID-19 issues?

These Quality Subgrants are not the state’s response to challenges presented by COVID-19. Child Care Aware of Kansas has compiled a list of resources that can be found on their website.

How can I get connected with other organizations to partner with in my local area?

Great idea! To connect with our Technical Assistance team, please utilize the Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subrants Technical Assistance Request Form. Include where your service area is and some things you’re looking to partner on, and then the TA team can be on the lookout for that and help make connections.

Do individual child care providers, or groups of providers, need a fiscal agent to handle funds?

Not necessarily. You certainly can identify a fiscal agent if you’re coming in together to collaborate. One provider could receive the grant, and then tell us who you’re going to distribute grant funds out to if they are other child care providers. You certainly do not need to have a fiscal agent identified outside because you are a child care provider, you are licensed, and you are eligible for several of these grants.

What type of Technical Assistance is available?

Technical Assistance is intended to provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions and think through concerns or challenges. Technical Assistance is not intended to help applicants complete or edit an application, or develop project plans, rather as a tool to aid applicants in this work. Applicants may utilize a maximum of three hours of Technical Assistance, based on resources available. Please note that utilization of Technical Assistance has no influence on the application review process and scoring or final award determination.

All questions and requests for technical assistance must be submitted via the Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subrants Technical Assistance Request Form between February 10 and March 18, 2021. The Subgrant technical assistance team will respond to individuals as quickly as possible via email, with follow-up phone calls as needed. Information from technical assistance conversations may be used to populate additional applicant and grantee resources to ensure shared learning.

Use of Funds

What is considered an indirect expense?

Indirect expenses are typically administrative costs of operation.  These may be items in the larger organizational budget that go beyond the grant budget. For example, annual insurance costs, utilities, or monthly Internet costs.

Are there ineligible expenses we should be aware of?

The Quality Subgrants are focused on additional support for our early childhood system. They are not meant to fund slots or fund major capital improvements, such as purchasing a new building or a full remodel.

Can funds be used for personnel and are there limitations?

Personnel expenses related directly to the activities of your project, and not currently covered by another funding source, are an allowable use of funds. To discuss questions specific to your project, please utilize the Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subrants Technical Assistance Request Form.

Can funds be used for capital expenses and are there limitations?

These grants are funded by federal dollars which stipulate that funds cannot be used for any construction or physical infrastructure costs, including modifications, reinstallations, renovations, improvements, additions, rearrangements or alterations. This includes land, facilities, equipment and intellectual property. The only exception is improvements made for accessibility for children with special health care needs. If you are applying for capital expenses such as equipment purchases or upgrades specifically to better serve children with special health care needs, these expenses might be eligible. To discuss questions specific to your project, please utilize the Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subrants Technical Assistance Request Form.

Application Sections and Examples

Is the Project Abstract the only section with a word limit?

The abstract is the only section that has a word limit. The word limit exists for consistency across applications because that information may be pulled for other front facing information.

What is an example of a qualitative success measure?

Qualitative success measures describe a change that has occurred using words or feelings more than numbers. Possible methods for tracking a qualitative measure include parent, staff or partner surveys or testimonials. These indicators should be more detailed than “satisfied families” or “more communication between staff and families.”  Consider what tools you currently have in place for tracking measures, and what may be useful in the future.

Example: “Staff reported feeling more confident in their ability to safely deescalate a situation following their completion of a training program. This information was collected during our weekly team meeting.”

What is an example of a quantitative success measure?

A quantitative measure describes changes that have occurred using numbers. Possible methods for tracking a quantitative measure include staff time logs, family intake forms, etc. These indicators should be measurable and should be more detailed than “increased participation” or “higher engagement”. Consider what tools you have in place for tracking measures, and what may be useful in the future.

Examples: “We hope to achieve a 15 percent increase in staffing hours. This will be reported using staff time logs, and if applicable, information about new hires.” 

“We will use our family intake forms and service logs to show that 10 new families were served during the grant period.”

What do you mean by Strategies and Key Activities? What are the expectations of this section?

A strategy is a way – a plan of action – for how to make a change. Activities are the “to do” part of your strategy action plan.  Begin with the end of the grant period in mind – what will look different if your plan works? What do you hope to accomplish? Once you write down the result you expect, list and describe the actions you will take to make that happen. Be sure to write down who will be responsible for doing what activities, and when they will need to do this work.

Examples:

“Provider XYZ operates in Anytown, KS, which is a very rural community. We have struggled to maintain our staff of child care providers. Our strategy is to increase our workforce to serve more families. Staff recruitment efforts will be the main activity to achieve this goal. We plan to post information about recruitment through social media, local job boards, through the local community college, school district and local faith communities. We will provide digital and hard copy flyers about job opportunities, and make them available in English and Spanish, as we hope to increase our number of bilingual staff. It is difficult for us to pay above market rate for our providers, so we want to find creative ways to attract new staff. One way we plan to do this is by including short stories from our current staff and a family we serve about the importance of child care services, and how rewarding this work is. We will offer job interviews virtually, as well as in person at our site. We will do this after hours with social distancing protocols. Lastly, we want to increase training opportunities for current and new staff and will require that all staff complete Evidence Based Training 123 within the first three months of the grant period. This training will help us show our investment in our staff and help us better support the diverse children we serve.”

“We know there are several children with special health care needs who need services in our community, and we are not currently set up to serve them. Our strategy is to be able to begin serving these children within six months. We will achieve this by purchasing sensory friendly equipment and activities, offering trainings about behavioral interventions and de-escalation techniques to our staff and ensuring our current program vehicle is safe and accessible for all children. All of these activities will be completed within the first four months of the grant. We will partner with a local school district to conduct outreach to families that may be interested in joining our program.”

What are the expectations of the Description of Need section?

Write this in terms of your community’s need, and the needs of the children you currently or will serve. Although COVID-19 has affected most providers, this grant is not intended to fund COVID-19 related expenses.  Focus on ways you can increase access to child care for families and improve the quality of your facility and services (e.g., offering care at non-traditional hours, adding learning materials that show cultural and racial diversity, upgrading play equipment). Although your needs may be related to your business, this statement should focus on the needs of those you serve.

Example: “My community has only two home-based child care providers within 50 miles.  I maintain full enrollment of 10 children and have a waiting list of 15 additional families. Many families in our community need services outside of 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday-Friday due to their jobs, and neither provider currently offers that. To meet those needs, we will extend our hours to 7:30 pm on weekdays and be open Saturdays from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.”

What should Population and Geographic Reach include?

Identify the community you are serving, its population and important demographic data. Census QuickFacts is one source to help you find this information.  https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045219

 Example: “My child care center serves the entire town of Anytown, KS, which has a population of 5,700, with 20 percent who are Hispanic or Latinx.”

What should the Outreach Activities include?

Describe how you will let families and others in the community know about what you will be offering.

Example: “I plan to post about our new hours on our Facebook page, put up flyers at the library and let the Chamber of Commerce know we have evening and weekend child care so they can post it on their website.”

What should Equitable Access include?

Equity helps everyone get a fair opportunity. Think about who in your community may not have the same opportunities as others and why. Talk about how your project will increase equity for families in your community.

 Example: “Our literacy program, in partnership with the local library, will actively recruit children and families whose primary language is not English.”

What should Barriers include?

List anything that will make it more difficult to complete your project and how you plan to address them.

 Example: “New families coming to our community are difficult to reach, often because of issues of trust or fear.  We plan to partner with several churches to help us connect with these families, many of whom have a relationship with church leadership.”

What should the Timeline include?

Talk about when you expect to complete your project, and key steps along the way, including any potential delays or changes in the timeline.

Example: “The new playground equipment will be in place by March 1, 2021.  The equipment will be ordered by mid-November 2020, with input from the parents whose children have special health care needs, and it will be installed by mid-January 2021.  I will work with the supplier to learn how to use and care for the equipment, as well as how to guide the children in using it.”

What should the Budget Template include?

The budget should be as detailed as possible. Consider how you might be able to find estimates for costs. For example, if you are interested in purchasing printed materials or equipment, shop online for an estimate. Be sure to break out expenses by budget category. For example, the Personnel category should include position, pay rate, percent of position grant funds would support (25 percent of a Full Time Employee equals 10 hours per week), etc. If you plan to purchase items such as supplies, break them out into categories (i.e. art supplies, reading materials, etc.), with an estimate of costs. If the items are larger, you may want to include possible vendor information. The budget narrative section is where you can add more detail about how you have determined these costs.

 To discuss questions specific to your project, please utilize the Kindergarten Readiness Quality Subrants Technical Assistance Request Form.

The application references family engagement several times. How is family engagement defined?

Family engagement looks different for different programs and needs. For this application, family engagement means ensuring ways for families to actively participate in the project. Applicants should explain the role of families as part of the planning process for the project, as well as how families will be engaged through the Strategies and Key Activities. It may be helpful to consider the following questions when responding:

  • How have families been engaged in the past? What has worked well and what were the challenges?
  • How can the project ensure representation across family needs? If there are voices and perspectives missing, what are the barriers?
  • How can families be included throughout the kindergarten transition?
  • What strategies and activities may help families be more involved early in the transition planning, even if they do not yet have a relationship with the school district?

Example: “Many children in our community do not attend preschool prior to transitioning into kindergarten. Last year we hosted a meeting with community partners and providers to better understand the needs of these families, and how we can better support all families. Parents and caregivers were also invited to attend and share their experiences and concerns about their upcoming transition. To increase support for these children and their families, our partners will host sessions throughout the summer for families to get to know each other as well as our teachers. This provides a small group opportunity for everyone to ask questions, determine if any additional supports are needed and how communication will be managed throughout the school year to address any concerns. These sessions will be open to all families in the community. We will work with local child care providers, partners, and employers to help promote the opportunity broadly.”

The application references innovative ideas several times. How is innovation defined?

Though not a requirement, innovation and exploration of new ideas and approaches are encouraged. For this application, innovation means testing new models, collaborations, ideas, etc. related to kindergarten transition. This could be based on an approach that has been successful in another program or area, or something that is a new idea. Applications should provide detail about how strategies and key activities will bring these ideas to life.  It may be helpful to consider the following questions when responding:

  • What are the shared goals of our community team? How will the proposed project help achieve these goals?
  • How can the proposed project help address existing and future community needs?
  • How have current conditions influenced the approach? How might current conditions influence future needs? (i.e. the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, gaps in services, changes in community growth)
  • How can we position our community and partners better moving forward to address the needs of local families and stakeholders?

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