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Declaration of Independence

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(First-time Incentive to Raise Standards for Teachers)

F I R S T Program
Pre-Application Form

“Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is proud to support Georgia’s early care and education professionals through the FIRST program. This limited-time program is intended to help boost standards in our state while at the same time providing individuals an incentive to achieve a first-time credential in the field of early care and education. We also encourage FIRST recipients to enhance and continue their journey in professional development with the Department’s SCHOLARSHIPS & INCENTIVES programs.”
--Holly A. Robinson, Commissioner

The FIRST program is Georgia’s First-time Incentive to Raise Standards for Teachers. The FIRST incentive is for an individual who attains his or her first valid early care and education or school-age care credential from an eligible institution. Eligible credentials are the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, the Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC), the Technical College Diploma (TCD), and the Associate Degree if earned between September 1, 2009 and February 28, 2011. Deadline extended to 7/1/2011 To Pre-Qualify for F I R S T

✓ ❑ program of study leading to your first early childhood education (ECE) credential or degree. Those qualifying are: • Child Development Associate (CDA) issued by the Council for Professional Recognition, or • Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC), or • Technical College Diploma (TCD) or

You must be pursuing an early childhood education

✓ ❑ September 1, 2009 and February 28, 2011.

You must attain your credential/degree between

• Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education (containing a minimum of 39 quarter hours or 30 semester hours in ECE courses) You must attend one of Georgia’s technical colleges ✓ ❑ or a Georgia HOPE-eligible, SACS-accredited institution with an early childhood education department.

You must have been working in the early childhood ✓ ❑ education field at least three months before the award date of your credential or degree and be currently working: • As a teacher or assistant teacher at least 25 hours per week, or • As a teacher or assistant teacher in a school-age care program at least 20 hours per week, or • As a director or assistant director in an early care and education program, school-age care program, or be a registered family day care home provider at least 40 hours per week. • Working for a child care facility licensed by Bright from the Start or the Department of Defense, or • A registered family day care home provider, or • Working in a private or public Georgia Pre-K Program.

✓ ❑ You must be:

✓ ❑ CDA training must be approved through the Georgia
Early Care and Education Professional Development System (see and search for “CDA” under the “Find Training” tab).

In the case of the CDA, the 120 clock-hours of your

Visit to see responses to frequently asked questions.

FIRST Program - Eligible Credentials/Degrees ❑ CDA – Child Development Associate* ❑ TCC – Technical Certificate of Credit ❑ TCD – Technical College Diploma ❑ Associate Degree

* The 120 clock-hours of your CDA training must be approved through the Georgia Early Care and Education Professional Development System. In addition to completing the training, you must receive the CDA credential from the Council for Professional Recognition to be eligible for FIRST.

Fill out this Pre-Application now to let us know you intend to apply for the FIRST incentive. The PreApplication allows Bright from the Start to pre-qualify and track participants and anticipate funding needs. You will receive a letter indicating that your Pre-Application has been reviewed and whether you are on track to receive the $1,200 incentive. For additional information, contact the SCHOLARSHIPS & INCENTIVES office at 800-227-3410 or 770-642-6722.

Why a Pre-Application?

Georgia technical colleges offer credentials and degrees that are eligible for the FIRST incentive, including the Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC), Technical College Diploma (TCD) and Associate Degree. To find out more about a technical college near you, visit

FIRST Program – Eligible Academic Programs

To locate CDA preparation courses approved by the Georgia Early Care and Education Professional Development System, visit Search for “CDA” under the “Find Training” tab. CDA course work is also available through Georgia technical colleges, visit to locate a college near you.

State-Approved CDA Preparation Courses & Course Work

The Bright from the Start SCHOLARSHIPS & INCENTIVES programs also help support Georgia early care and education professionals. Free educational advisement is available and the SCHOLARSHIPS program offers tuition assistance and a stipend for academic programs at Georgia’s colleges, universities and technical colleges. Visit the website,, for additional information or call 770-642-6722 or tollfree at 800-227-3410.


Personal Information (please print):

County of Residence:


First-middle initial-last (as it appears on your social security card)

Home Address:

Street or post office box (enter only one)

Apartment Number:






Home Phone: (

) / /

Cell Phone: ( E-mail:


Date of Birth:



Social Security Number:

Are you currently employed in the early childhood education field? If yes, complete the following: Name of center or family/group day care home: License/Registration Number Work Address: City: Phone: ( )
Enter actual location as it appears on license/registration

❏ Yes

❏ No

Original date of hire:

Enter name as it appears on license/registration

Zip+4: )


County: (required)

State: Fax: (

Facility type (check one): ❏ Child Care Learning Center ❏ Group Day Care Home ❏ Family Day Care Home ❏ Licensed School-Age Care ❏ Public School

Home or center is licensed by (check one): ❏ Bright from the Start ❏ Department of Defense (DOD)

If a Georgia Pre-K facility, indicate location (check one): ❏ Licensed Child Care Center ❏ Public Elementary School If you are a teacher or an assistant teacher, provide the number of children in your classroom and check the one age group that you work with the most: Infants and/or toddlers (birth up to 3 years) Three-year-olds Four-year-olds School-age children (5-12 years old) Combined age group(s)

Job Title (mark all that apply): ❏ Asst. Teacher ❏ Asst. Director ❏ Family Day Care Home Provider ❏ Teacher ❏ Director (other non-teaching staff positions do not qualify) ❏ School-Age Care Provider Are you a Georgia lottery funded Pre-K teacher? ❏ Yes ❏ No Number of hours you work each week:

We encourage you to achieve your first early childhood credential! Visit for answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Your response letter will verify your eligibility and provide instructions on submitting your completed credential/degree for payment.

The FIRST Program Pre-Application process will determine if your planned program of study is eligible for the $1,200 incentive. Awards will be processed for credentials that are earned between September 1, 2009 and February 28, 2011 or when all funds are expended, whichever comes first. All required credential verification must be received on or before March 15, 2011. Deadline extended to 7/1/2011
Education Plans: Are you currently enrolled in a program of study leading to your first credential in early childhood education? ❏ Yes ❏ No Please check the credential or degree you are pursuing or plan to pursue: ❏ CDA – Child Development Associate (The 120 clock-hours of CDA training must be approved through the Georgia Early Care and Education ❏ TCC – Technical Certificate of Credit ❏ TCD – Technical College Diploma ❏ Associate Degree Name and address of institution/agency you are attending or will attend: Have you been accepted? ❏ Yes ❏ No What is the first term you were or will be enrolled? ❏ No Month
Professional Development System.)



Have you completed your program of study? ❏ Yes Educational History (complete all that apply): Credential/Degree Earned: ❏ Child Development Associate ❏ Technical Certificate of Credit ❏ Technical College Diploma ❏ Associate Degree ❏ Bachelor’s Degree ❏ Master’s Degree
Have you already earned any other credential or degree?



Major (field of study)

Year Earned

STATEMENT OF AFFIRMATION: Read carefully before signing and dating. I (Applicant’s Name) attest that all of the information appearing on this application is true to the best of my knowledge. I also attest that this is my first degree or credential in early care and education. I understand that any false or incomplete information knowingly provided on this application or supporting documents may be grounds to be denied participation in this program and may prevent me from future participation in the program. I understand that intentionally providing false information on this application or supporting documents is a violation of state law and may result in civil or criminal proceedings. I authorize any agent or employee of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning to verify this information and release it to any necessary party for my consideration in this program. I understand that, if approved for the incentive, I will receive a 1099 tax form. Applicant’s Signature Date

Complete and submit this FIRST Pre-Application as soon as you know your intended course of study or if you are currently enrolled in an eligible credential/degree program. Mail your completed Pre-Application to: FIRST Program, c/o Care Solutions, Inc., 1117 Perimeter Center West, W– 300, Atlanta, GA 30338
For additional information, contact the SCHOLARSHIPS & INCENTIVES office at 800-227-3410 or 770-642-6722 or visit
The FIRST program is funded by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is managed by Care Solutions, Inc.…...

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