USED & White House
ED Releases New Guidance on Title I Preschool Services
USED Title I Preschool Guidance

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released new guidance on the use of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I, Part A funds for preschool programs.  The last time ED published related guidance was in 2012, prior to the 2015 ESEA reauthorization.  The guidance was rescinded following the 2015 reauthorization.  The new guidance, titled “Non-Regulatory Guidance on Serving Preschool Children Through Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” is a response to the administration's executive order last year that required ED to release such guidance.


ED says that the new guidance document will help schools, local educational agencies, (LEAs), and States expand access to high-quality preschool opportunities.  In a statement about the new guidance, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said that “high-quality, early learning opportunities are proven bridges to later academic success.”  The new guidance, he said, would also help States, LEAs, and community organizations partner together to reach more underserved children and expand access to early education for all. 


A school or LEA can use ESEA Title I, Part A funds for preschool programs to serve eligible students “from birth to the age at which the LEA provides a free public elementary education.”  The guidance includes ways that LEAs and schools can partner with community organizations and Head Start programs to extend programs for children most at-risk.  It also addressed the importance and requirements for coordination with other federal programs, especially for students with disabilities.


Additionally, the guidance clarifies how schools and LEAs can use funds to provide professional development to teachers and paraprofessionals, including using funds to encourage paraprofessionals to transition to teachers.  LEAs and schools can also use funds for professional development activities and for educational technology, such as programs that help teachers analyze student data.  The guidance also addresses LEA responsibilities in helping preschool students transition to kindergarten.


The new guidance document was released with a Dear Colleague letter from ED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the importance of utilizing a “mixed delivery approach” when providing preschool services.  The letter encourages agencies to coordinate delivery of services through the various funding streams available through both ED and HHS.


The non-binding guidance document can be found here.  The Dear Colleague letter can be found here.

About the Author

Brandi Tennant joined The Bruman Group, PLLC in October 2022. Ms. Tennant assists clients with federal grants management requirements under the Office of Management and Budget’s Uniform Grants Guidance (UGG) and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR).


During law school, Ms. Tennant interned in government relations practices at Broydrick & Associates and Exelon. She also interned on Capitol Hill for U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). In her first year of law school, Ms. Tennant interned with Judge Deborah Robinson in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where she worked on cases related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Prior to attending law school, Ms. Tennant worked in admissions, recruitment, and advising at the University of Florida.


Ms. Tennant received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2011 and her Master’s Degree in 2019 from the University of Florida. She received her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School in 2022. Ms. Tennant is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.