Educare, Innovative Early Education Program, to Open in Brownsville Next Fall
Initiatives Prioritize Early Learning in City’s Efforts to Prepare All Students for College and Careers
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that New York City will open its first Educare school, a national model for providing early education services for at-risk children age six-weeks to five-years-old. The city’s first Educare school will open in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn next fall and include a leadership institute to train early childhood school directors on the most effective approaches to prepare young children for kindergarten and future academic success. The Mayor and Chancellor also announced the addition of 4,000 new full-day pre-kindergarten seats for the 2013-14 school year, accommodating more of the City’s youngest learners in high need areas. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott made the announcement at the Education Nation Summit held in the New York Public Library and were joined by Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Ronald E. Richter and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.
“By opening our first Educare school and expanding full-day pre-kindergarten, we’re investing in programs that will prepare our youngest students for a lifetime of success,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “More and more research points to the importance of early education in closing the achievement gap and helping children of all backgrounds achieve academically, and we are prioritizing the services that will help our students reach their full potential.”
“The time we spend with children in their earliest years, when science shows learning begins, presents a tremendous opportunity to influence their short and long-term paths,” said Chancellor Walcott. “These two major initiatives are designed to seize that unique opportunity in a child’s development, and to ensure that our youngest students are on course for success in school and beyond—no matter what ZIP code they hail from.”
“The Administration for Children’s Services is thrilled that the Department of Education is expanding the availability of full-day pre-kindergarten seats in neighborhoods that need them the most,” said Commissioner Richter. “Coupled with the over 45,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers served under ACS’ EarlyLearnNYC, this expansion allows for the City’s most vulnerable youngest residents and their families to benefit from early care and education now, and well into their futures. We look forward to working with the Department of Education and Educare to implement its innovative model and training institute, which will advance the City's efforts to best prepare our young children for school success.”
“Expanding full-day pre-kindergarten has been one of the Council’s top priorities since the day I became Speaker. Working with the Department of Education, we have added thousands of full-day slots and led efforts to increase the number of full day pre-k seats in New York City," said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “We did this because we know full day pre-kindergarten is one of the best ways to reduce the dropout rate and help assure college success. Today’s announcement moves us closer to the day when every four year old in New York City has access to full day pre-kindergarten.”
“The research shows Educare is one way to level the playing field for children who otherwise would start school behind and, too often, stay behind,” said Susan A. Buffett, chair of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. “The idea of partnering with the Mayor’s office, the nation’s largest school district, local philanthropy and others to create an Educare in New York City is very exciting. Together, we can help families with young children grow up to be more successful in school and life.”
Educare first opened in Chicago and has grown to a network of early learning schools across the country, with the first New York City school to open in P.S. 41 in Brownsville for the 2013-14 school year. Research has shown Educare’s success in narrowing achievement gaps for children at a high-risk for academic disparity. The model serves children from infancy through kindergarten and uses research-based practices to provide highly supportive and effective learning environments. Educare is a hub for family training and support, and can help connect families and children to other essential services.
The Department of Education will work with the Administration for Children’s Services to develop the Educare program, as well as with other public and private partners, including the national Educare Learning Network, a partnership of the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Ounce of Prevention Fund. The New York City Educare school will also serve as an incubator to train early education leaders and develop early education best practices that will be applied city-wide. The Brownsville school will include the first of its kind leadership institute to help meet the city’s short- and long-term needs for high quality early childhood directors.
Next September, New York City will also make 4,000 additional full-day pre-kindergarten seats available in high need districts. This investment in pre-kindergarten builds on those made throughout the Bloomberg Administration to expand upon the number of children participating in early education programs. The collaboration across different agencies and, under the leadership of Speaker Quinn, the City Council has helped increase universal pre-kindergarten enrollment from 40,000 in 2002 to 58,200 in 2012.
According to national research, early education programs pave the way for long-term student achievement, and the Department of Education’s own analysis found a correlation between academic success and pre-kindergarten. The Department examined state English and math test results for third through fifth grade students, comparing those who had attended New York City’s universal pre-kindergarten to those who had not. Third grade students who had attended universal pre-k were 28 percent more likely to score as proficient on the state English exam and 54 percent more like to score as proficient on the state math exam, when compared to their peers to did not attend pre-k. The analysis showed that those performance odds continued for pre-kindergarten students through the fifth grade.
For more information about early childhood education or to find out how to enroll a child in pre-kindergarten, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/ or call 311.
Educare sites across the country are made possible with support from local public-private partnerships as well as the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In New York City, grants to The Fund for Public Schools from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and United Way Of NYC are generously supporting Educare.