First Steps Legislation - SC First Steps


First Steps Legislation

Ƶ to School Readiness was established in 1999 by the South Carolina General Assembly to close the gap on student’s preparedness for success in school. The work of First Steps, the local partnerships, and the local partnership board of trustees is governed by S.C. Code Ann. § 59-152 (2018). First Steps’ purpose and goals, the structure of the local partnership boards, the powers and duties of the local boards, and other finance and administration requirements can be found within this chapter.

Ƶ to School Readiness 

The Ƶ Board of Trustees was created in 1999 to oversee the First Steps initiative. This legislation outlines the composition of the board, and their duties and responsibilities as it relates to First Steps. This section also codified the Early Childhood Advisory Council, a collaborative body representing the state’s early childhood system. Our trustees serve concurrently as members of the ECAC. The purpose of the ECAC is to carry out ten duties of early childhood state system leadership as defined by this statute.

The Ƶ Board of Trustees and Early Childhood Advisory Council

The Child Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP) Act created the full day, four-year-old kindergarten program for qualifying children within South Carolina. The legislation tasked the Department of Education and First Steps with administering and overseeing the 4K program and coordinating with providers statewide. Program guidelines regarding application forms, finance and administration, professional development, and data collection can all be found within this statute.

The Child Early Reading Development and Education Program (CERDEP)

It is common that amendments and additions to the CERDEP legislation are enacted through one year provisos attached to the annual General Appropriations Bill. The most recent provisions can be found in the following excerpts of Part IB of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2023-2024.

Part IB of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2023-2024

Topics: First Steps 4K, Equity

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Risk Factors Affecting School Readiness

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Certain experiences or conditions are associated with educational disadvantage upon entry into kindergarten. The Ƶ Board of Trustees has identified a set of risk factors as those most likely to affect school readiness.

First Steps 4K Family Handbook 2022-2023

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This essential resource covers everything families need to know about First Steps 4K, from our goals and policies to our curriculum and approach to school-family partnership. The handbook also includes the 2022-2023 First Steps 4K calendar.

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