1st Base

Preschool & College Savings Account
Providing the highest quality early child education


Program Overview

Parents will be able to easily identify Home Run certified preschools which have programming that meets or exceeds Universal Preschool for West Sacramento (UP4WS) educational standards.  

How it works

The City of West Sacramento works with trained Early Learning Specialists to improve the quality of instruction, training of teaching staff and provide access to resources that can improve classroom environments and materials. Early Learning Specialists then rate preschools and certify those who meet and/or exceed quality standards. Home Run-Certified high-quality preschools have met or exceeded quality standards in the following areas:

  • Child Observation: Home Run-Certified Preschools offer evidence-based assessments/observation tools that offer information about each child’s development to guide curriculum planning.
  • Development and health screenings: Home Run-Certified Preschools ensure children are screened to support appropriate growth and development. Results are used to refer families to appropriate agencies for further assessment if needed.
  • Teacher Qualifications: Home Run-Certified Preschools support ongoing professional learning and staff education.
  • Effective teacher-child interactions/CLASS assessments: Home Run-Certified Preschools promote high-quality teacher-child interactions and developmentally appropriate teaching and learning experiences.
  • Program Environment Rating Scales: Home Run-Certified Preschools offer safe and age-appropriate indoor and outdoor learning environments for all children.

 Why this strategy

Participation and completion of high-quality preschool can have a tremendous impact in the life of a child. High-quality preschool attendance and completion has been shown to reduce grade retention (being held back a grade) and increase high school graduation rates.


Program Overview

Kindergartners enrolled in the Washington Unified School District who attended a Home Run-Certified high-quality preschool are eligible for a $50 seed deposit by the City of West Sacramento and a $50 seed deposit by ScholarShare529, California’s 529 college savings plan, in their new city-sponsored college savings account. ScholarShare529 provides tax-advantaged, easy-to-use college savings accounts with a variety of investment options for you and your family to choose from.

How it works

Step 1: Determine your eligibility, part I: Did your child attend a Home Run-certified high-quality preschool during the 2017 – 2018 school year? Click the link below for a list.

Home Run-certified high-quality preschools

If yes, continue to Step Two. If no, your child is ineligible. Not sure? Contact Home Run staff at [email protected].

Step 2: Determine your eligibility, part II: Is your child enrolled in a Washington Unified School District kindergarten for the 2018 – 2019 school year?

If yes, continue to Step Three. If no, your child is ineligible. Not sure? Contact Washington Unified School District Administrator of Communication and Community Outreach Giorgos Kazanis at (916) 375-7600 or [email protected].

Step 3: Determine your eligibility for the optional ScholarShare 529 Matching Grant Program The ScholarShare529 Matching Grant Program currently offers up to $225 in matching dollars for eligible families who open and contribute to a new ScholarShare529 account by December 31, 2019. Click here to learn more about the matching grant program or to apply for the matching grant.

  • If you are eligible for the matching grant program, you will be directed to complete step four after you’ve completed your matching grant program application
  • If you are ineligible for the matching grant program, continue to Step Four

Step 4: Create a ScholarShare529 account. Click here to open your ScholarShare 529 college savings account. This should take 10-15 minutes. You will need the information listed here to open your ScholarShare529 account.

When creating your account you will be prompted to make a minimum contribution of $25. If you are not ready to make this contribution yet, you can still create an account. Click on the $25 button (or specify another amount), and on the next page click the “Pay by check” button. This will allow you to proceed through the rest of the account setup without making a deposit. Please note: You must contribute to the account by December 31, 2019 to be eligible for up to $225 in matching funds from ScholarShare529.

For more information about ScholarShare529, or for assistance in opening your account, visit www.scholarshare529.com or contact a customer service representative at (800) 544-5248.

Step Five: Complete and submit additional information once your account has been created:

  • Complete the ScholarShare 529 Authorization to Receive or View Account Information form. You only need to complete Part 1, “Account Information,” and sign and date Part 6, “Signature of Participant.”
  • Submit this form to your child’s elementary school. The City of West Sacramento needs this information in order to confirm that you have created your ScholarShare529 account and to link the matching funds, provided by the City of West Sacramento and ScholarShare529, to your account.

Please note that you will not be able to withdraw the city’s contributions from your child’s account until you request a withdrawal for qualified higher education expenses. Requests can be made to the City of West Sacramento [email protected]

Why this strategy

Sixty-five percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020. Completing some form education past high school is necessary for success in any career field, particularly for the high demand, high wage and high growth positions in West Sacramento. Children with college savings between $1 – $499 are three times more likely to attend college than their peers without savings and four times more likely to graduate.

How to Get Started:


View the list of certified preschools and choose one that works best for you and your child.


Once your child graduates preschool, find a WUSD kindergarten to be eligible for the city-sponsored College Savings Account and receive a $50 seed deposit to help your family save and plan for college. Complete the steps above to get started or attend an upcoming workshop on the College Savings Account program.

Program Success

Students enrolled in a High Quality, Certified Preschool