Local Education Agency

LEA Role in UPK

As an Local Education Agency (LEA), your agency has discretion in how it plans to form transitional kindergarten classes to offer pre-kindergarten to all four-year-olds. LEAs can offer stand-alone classes, which serve TK students only; or combination classes, which mix TK students with other students, including kindergarteners or CSPP students. TK stand-alone classes involve students from a narrower age range and may be more developmentally appropriate than TK/K combination classes: A study comparing TK stand-alone and TK/K combination classes found stand-alone classes to spend more time on child-directed activities, social and emotional learning, physical activity, music, and art.

Your LEA may choose to combine TK students with other students because of staffing or facility limitations, or because there are too few TK students to form a stand-alone classroom. In combination classes, LEAs must meet the more stringent legislative requirements for the student groups that are mixed, including for teacher qualifications, average class size max, average adult to student ratio, and facility standards.

Partnership Support Module

By working with Resource and Referral agencies, LEAs can help connect families with the format of preschool that best serves their needs. For some children, a traditional school setting is not best suited to meet their needs in terms of development, culture, or guardian’s work schedule. Through a partnership with R&Rs, LEAs can help direct families to a wider variety of options for early learning.