Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Expands Universal Pre-K Access in 16 School Districts

Expansion will add 488 seats for children in Gateway Cities and rural communities
For immediate release:
  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
  • Executive Office of Education
  • Department of Early Education and Care

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Expands Universal Pre-K Access in 16 School Districts

Karissa Hand, Press Secretary

Barnstable — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced today at the YMCA of Cape Cod that 16 school districts are receiving $3.4 million to support their efforts to expand access to affordable high-quality preschool through the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI). Nine currently participating districts will be expanding their efforts, adding 32 preschool classrooms, representing an additional 488 seats across public schools, family child care, YMCAs, Head Start and other community-based preschool programs. Further, the administration is awarding a first round of new grants to: Fitchburg, Quincy, Pittsfield, Worcester, Barnstable, Wareham, and the Gateway Regional School District that includes seven rural communities in Western Massachusetts. 

The $3.4 million, through revenue generated by the Fair Share Amendment, was included in Governor Healey’s fiscal year 2024 budget proposal to increase access to high-quality preschool and put the state on a path towards universal access to preschool. The proposal was supported by the Legislature and included in the final budget. Governor Healey’s proposed “Gateway to Pre-K" agenda will further expand these efforts, investing an additional $15 million in fiscal year 2025 to move Massachusetts closer to meeting the goal of universal, high-quality preschool access for four-year-olds in all Gateway Cities by the end of 2026. 

“We know that the high cost of child care is holding back our families, providers and our economy. That’s why I am proud to be in Barnstable today to announce that we are expanding access to affordable, high-quality preschool in 16 school districts, creating hundreds of new seats for children in Gateway Cities and rural communities across the state,” said Governor Healey. “Our ‘Gateway to Pre-K' agenda would build on this progress by expanding high-quality pre-k access to even more communities, lowering costs for more families, and ensuring our hardworking providers have the support they need to deliver high-quality care.” 

“As a former Mayor, I know how important access to high-quality preschool is for families and for closing the learning gap before kids enter kindergarten. This funding is going to local school districts and community-based early education and care programs, highlighting our commitment to supporting cities and towns from Pittsfield to Cape Cod in meeting the needs of their residents and making Massachusetts a more affordable and equitable place to live, learn, work and play,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll.  

“As the Director of Rural Affairs and a former school teacher, I know how extremely important it is that every child regardless of where they live in the commonwealth, have an opportunity to start out on the right pathway. I appreciate the investment the Healy Driscoll administration is making in our youngest students. I congratulate the Gateway school district, and all they do to educate students and prepare them for a life of success,” said Director of Rural Affairs Anne Gobi

A main driver in the administration’s approach to expand preschool access and promote kindergarten readiness, CPPI establishes a district–wide preschool program across classes in public and community-based early education and care programs. By working across the state’s mixed early education system, districts are expanding access to a range of programs that meet different needs of working families. CPPI also promotes equitable access to special education to ensure full inclusion of children with disabilities across all settings. Through this program, the CPPI funding also provides scholarships to participating families to enroll at no or low cost and enables full day/full year services through the mix of public and community-based classrooms. 

“The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to expanding access to affordable high-quality preschool. We delivered $13 million earlier this year, and with $3 million more now we’re making the necessary investments to reach more kids in more communities,” said Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler. “This is not just an investment in our children and families, early childhood educators, and local communities—it's a downpayment on the future success of our state.” 

“The Administration is focused on expanding access to low or no cost preschool to provide all children across the Commonwealth with the high-quality early education experiences we know give them the academic and social-emotional skills they need to enter kindergarten,” said Early Education and Care Commissioner Amy Kershaw. “I am excited to see our current grantees expand to more classrooms and serve additional families, including through community-based centers and family child care programs. We look forward to working with our new grantees to support them in planning and implementing universal access to pre-k in their districts through our diverse mixed-delivery system.”  

“The CPPI grant is a great example of educators working across sectors for the benefit of children,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Acting Commissioner Russell D. Johnston. “It’s a pleasure to see the collaboration taking place in each of these communities and to know that students will get a strong start to their education.”  

“As a Gateway City the Town of Barnstable welcomes Governor Maura Healey’s announcement of her “Gateway to Pre-K” agenda that includes delivering universal, high-quality preschool access – at low or no cost – in communities like Barnstable by the end of 2026,” said Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells.  “‘Gateway to Pre-K' will fundamentally transform the early education system in Massachusetts by lowering costs for families to enroll their children in childcare and Pre-K.  By achieving this agenda the Governor can make early education and child care more affordable and accessible for all families across Massachusetts.” 

“Barnstable is proud to be one of the CPPI Planning and Implementation Grant recipients. A strong preschool learning experience is the foundation upon which young children build social-emotional, physical, and academic skills. Indeed, a strong preschool experience springboards students towards school readiness and improved outcomes in their future school years. We appreciate the support of Governor Healey and her administration in serving even more learners,” said Superintendent of Barnstable Public Schools Sara Ahern

“We are thrilled Governor Healey has come to Barnstable to announce this continuation of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s dedication to our workforce. This program offers crucial support to working families in Cape Cod's biggest town. Both our members and local economists agree that providing top-notch early education and childcare is the fastest way to strengthen our local workforce. With Barnstable Public Schools' esteemed reputation and strong alumni network, we're confident their administrators are eager to join this important partnership,” said Paul Niedzwiecki, Chief Executive Officer, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

"The Massachusetts YMCAs, as the largest provider of early education programs across the Commonwealth, applauds the Healey Administration's commitment to expanding access to our youngest learners. The YMCAs are honored to be a trusted partner with the Administration and our school districts as we look at the next phase of quality early education, " said Kate-Marie Roycroft, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs. 

School districts not currently participating in CPPI could apply to support planning and early implementation of a universal access to affordable high-quality preschool plan. Districts in the early planning stage receive $50,000 to build partnerships with local community-based early education and care programs, develop a leadership team, conduct a needs assessment and draft a strategic plan. Districts who already have strong partnerships with community-based early education and care programs and have conducted a needs assessment can receive a higher amount of funding to develop or update a strategic plan and begin early implementation. 


First Round of FY24 New CPPI Awardees: 

School District 

Cities & Towns Served 


City of Fitchburg 



City of Quincy 



City of Pittsfield 



Gateway Regional School District 

Blandford, Chester, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, Russell, Worthington 


Town of Barnstable 



Town of Wareham 



City of Worcester 




Current CPPI grantees could also apply to expand their efforts. First Round of FY24 CPPI Expansion Awardees: 

School District 

Community-Based Partners 


Brockton School District 

Self Help Head Start, Brockton Day Nursery, Early Learning Center YMCA (new) 


Lawrence School District 

Greater Lawrence Community Action Council/ Lawrence Early Achievement Partnership (LEAP), The Community Group 


Lowell School District 

YMCA Greater Lowell YMCA Nursery School, Community Teamwork, Lowell Day Nursery, Small Steps (new) 


Lynn School District 

Gregghouse, LEO Head Start, Lynn YMCA (new) 


Northampton Public Schools 



Community Action Head Start, Gummybears Family Child Care, Meadowlark Childcare Center, Nonotuck Community School, Cloverdale Preschool, New Village/Farm Hands Family Child Care program, People’s Institute, Smith College Center – Fort Hill, Montessori School of Northampton, Gan Keshet Preschool (new) 


Salem Public Schools 


Salem YMCA, Salem Community Child Care Center, Ashley Preschool and Daycare, Pathways for Children (new), Angela’s Preschool and Daycare (new) 


Sandwich Public Schools 


Joyful Noise, Montessori Beginnings, Maureen Raymond Family Child Program (new), Bobbie Jo O’Brien Family Child Program (new), Melissa White Family Child Program (new), Julie Coughlan Family Child Program (new), Diane Hill Family Child Program (new) Sandwich Montessori (new), It’s a Special Day (new) 


Somerville Public Schools  


Elizabeth Peabody House, Dandelion Montessori, CAAS Somerville Head Start, Open Center for Children, Bigelow Cooperative Day, Pooh and Friends Child Care, Tree House Academy, Kingdom Rock Children’s Village, Somerville Child Care Center, JHC Allen Street Head Start (new) 


Springfield Public Schools 

Community Partners for Community Action, Square One, YMCA of Greater Springfield 



Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Expands Universal Pre-K Access in 16 School Districts

  • Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll 

    Since taking office, Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll’s top priority has been building a Massachusetts that’s competitive, equitable, and affordable for every family, worker, and business.
  • Executive Office of Education 

    From pre-school to post-secondary education, the Executive Office of Education works to connect all Massachusetts residents with an high-quality education regardless of their circumstance, zip code, or socioeconomic status.
  • Department of Early Education and Care 

    The Department of Early Education and Care's mission is to support the healthy growth and development of all children by providing high quality programs and resources for families and communities.
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