At the beginning of this school year, the Niskayuna Central School District formed a Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) steering committee made up of district leadership, elementary school teachers, parents and community members to examine prekindergarten at Niskayuna. The committee reviewed the benefits of prekindergarten for children and families, the capacity for classroom spaces, and how to best leverage state grant funding to launch a program.
In January, the committee presented its findings to the Board of Education and outlined the most viable program options. The committee recommended launching a Universal Prekindergarten program in the 2023-24 school year consisting of three classrooms serving up to 54 students.
“Prekindergarten is shown to have long-term social and emotional benefits for children and helps prepare students for success at the elementary school level,” said Rosendale Elementary School Principal Laurel Jones, who co-chaired the committee. “Providing access to these benefits is invaluable to the families in our district.”
Following the committee’s work, the district will propose a UPK program as part of its 2023-24 budget. The Universal Prekindergarten program is funded by a New York State grant that provides a set amount per student, with remaining funds to be provided by the school district as needed.
Due to space constraints, the district cannot accommodate prekindergarten classrooms in our school buildings. New York State allows districts to contract with licensed prekindergarten providers to offer a program. The district released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on March 3 to solicit participation from prospective community partners in the area.
Additional information about the program, including schedule and location, will be available after agreements with community partners are finalized this spring. We anticipate releasing an application for student enrollment in our 2023-24 UPK program in April. Please note that enrollment will be decided using a random lottery selection, as required by New York State.