Durham PreK Application Now Open

A man helps kids scoop toys out of a tub


Savion Thorne

Durham PreK is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year.

Durham, N.C., February 1, 2024: Durham PreK is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year. All families living in Durham County with a child that will be 4 years old by August 31, 2024, are eligible. The Durham PreK application includes all pre-K seats in Durham Public Schools Title I, Durham Head Start, NC Pre-K and Durham PreK classrooms. Families can apply online at durhamprek.org/dpk-application.

Durham PreK has many resources available to support families as they complete their applications, including a help desk hotline, interpretation services and a new texting service. Families can call 1-833-773-5338 or email prek@childcareservices.org to speak with the Bilingual Durham PreK Information Desk. Interpretation services are available for conversations with the Durham PreK Help Desk and during application appointments in many different languages. Our newest resource for families is a texting service to help families stay up-to-date on application deadlines and upcoming events. The service is provided through StepAhead and allows families to send and receive texts with Durham PreK staff. Families can sign up on our website or text “DPK” to 59925.

In 2021, Durham PreK launched an online application for families, and we are continuing with this platform this school year. “Our collective goal in Durham is to make public preschool available to all families. The online application is a convenient option for families enrolling for the upcoming school year, and the phone and virtual appointments aim to make applying as easy as possible,” said Linda Chappel, Senior Vice President of Triangle Area Child Care Resource and Referral Services at Child Care Services Association.

“We are so excited to collaborate with the community to provide high quality preschool to our youngest learners,” said Durham Public Schools Office of Early Education Director, Dr. Suzanne Cotterman. “The online application allows families to be matched with a wonderful program that fits their needs. We can’t wait to meet your preschooler!”

“The Partnership continues to share in its excitement as a partnering agency in providing access and services for pre-K,” said Executive Director of Durham’s Partnership for Children, Danielle Johnson. “We are encouraging families during this time to complete the online Durham PreK application for the 2024-2025 school year. This is a beneficial opportunity open to all families of Durham County children.”

Durham PreK is a local investment in public preschool for 4-year-olds by the Durham County Government. Built to enhance and expand the state-funded NC Pre-K program, Durham PreK is open to all children in Durham County and will grow incrementally over time to meet the full community need for publicly supported high-quality early education.

Child Care Services Association serves as the management agency for Durham PreK and works collaboratively with Durham County Government, Durham’s Partnership for Children, Durham Public Schools, Durham Head Start and numerous other community partners to expand access to high-quality pre-K classrooms to Durham’s 4-year-olds.

The overall goal over the next few years is to expand each year so that Durham PreK will be available to all families with 4-year-old children who choose to participate.

Durham PreK

Durham PreK is committed to improving the quality of preschool programs by providing financial support, training opportunities for teachers and increasing eligibility for families to enroll their child. The program began in 2018 with the Durham County Government committing to equitable access to high-quality preschool for all children in Durham. Investments will not only increase the number of publicly funded pre-K seats but also broaden eligibility and work with teachers and private centers to build their quality through teacher and director education, mentoring and coaching. The County has a contract with Child Care Services Association (CCSA) to manage the expansion of Durham PreK. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has established a Governance Committee chaired by the Durham County Manager’s office to approve Durham PreK standards and policies. For more information, visit durhamprek.org.

Child Care Services Association

Founded in 1974, the mission of Child Care Services Association (CCSA) is to lead efforts to strengthen accessible and affordable quality early care and education by providing supports for families, communities and the workforce. To that end, CCSA provides free child care referral services to families, financial assistance to low-income families seeking child care and professional development and technical assistance to child care programs. Through spoonFULL, CCSA also provides nutritious meals to children at child care centers, where they may eat 50-100 percent of their meals. Throughout North Carolina, educational scholarships from CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program give child care professionals the means to obtain a debt-free education, while CCSA’s Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® Plus programs supplement their meager salary. CCSA also licenses T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ across the U.S. through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center at CCSA and conducts early childhood systems and homelessness research and policy development statewide and nationally. For more information, visit childcareservices.org.

Durham Public Schools

Durham Public Schools is one of the ten largest districts in North Carolina, serving more than 32,000 students in the city and county of Durham with a vision of igniting the limitless potential of its students. It is one of the top 30 districts in the nation for employing teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, boasting two National Blue Ribbon Schools and a commitment to equity and excellence. Driven by its five-year Strategic Plan, DPS embraces, educates, and empowers every student to innovate, serve, and lead.

Durham Head Start

Durham Head Start & Early Head Start strives to provide a high quality pre-school experience by educating children, empowering families and expanding community collaborations.

Durham’s Partnership for Children – Preparing our children to succeed.

Founded in 1994 and first funded in 1995 to administer the Smart Start grant in Durham County, the Partnership works as an independent, local nonprofit that serves young children birth to age 5 and their families to ensure that all children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. For more than 25 years, the Partnership has helped parents pay for child care, improved the quality of child care and provided health and family support services to thousands of Durham County families with young children. The Partnership leverages the public and private sectors to achieve its mission: To ensure every child in Durham enters school ready to succeed, we lead community strategies for children birth to 5 and their families that promote healthy development and learning and enhance access to high quality care. The Partnership administers Smart Start, NC Pre-K, and Early Head Start in Durham County. For more information about the Partnership, visit www.dpfc.net or call 919-403-6960, ext. 230.