Posted on 03/20/2017 at 07:39 AM by Liz Determan

If you are a state-funded preschool in Iowa there are a few changes that will be affecting you for the 2017-18 school year.  If you are a preschool that is not state-funded you still may want to be aware of these changes as they align with what is research-based and best practice, and we all know how much impact we have during those formative years prior to a child entering kindergarten! 

The Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards have been revised.  The state task force, charged with keeping their rigor yet reducing the amount of criteria, has completed their work and the state board of education has approved them. There are still 10 standards that model the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), but the number of criteria within those standards has been reduced from 172 items to 132 items. Preschool teachers will now need to look to the revised standards as they design their programs and submit annual desk audit information to the Department of Education.

4-year-old Statewide Voluntary Preschool Programs and Early Childhood Special Education classrooms in Iowa will now fall in line with Iowa’s Differentiated Accountability (DA) model designed to provide support to school districts for remaining compliant with state and federal law and continuously improving their education.  In 2017-18 there will be voluntary participation in the DA preschool desk audit for determining needed adjustments.  Then in 2018-19 all districts with be required to participate.  When submitting desk audit information districts demonstrate they and their community partner are complying with various Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards, the chosen criteria possibly rotating from year to year. 

State-funded preschools have been required to complete Teaching Strategies GOLD child assessment on their students for the past several years.  That requirement remains, but beginning the 2017-18 school year teachers must use the updated version called My Teaching Strategies.  The new platform has all the same features, but more, and a more user-friendly interface.  The new features include a redesigned home page, planning and instruction tools, mobile optimization, expanded progressions through third grade, kindergarten entry assessment surveys and redesigned reports.  There may be some adjustments for teachers making the transition but in a short amount of time they should see great value in the switch.

The goal for supporting these three state-initiated changes (revised Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standard, DA Preschool Desk Audit and, the new GOLD platform) is improved quality of education for your district and our state.  Let’s do it with fidelity and watch children succeed!



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