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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott, ACS Commissioner Richter, and Speaker Quinn Encourage Families to Enroll Children in Universal Pre-Kindergarten Programs


Enrollment Deadline for Universal Prekindergarten is October 2nd, 2013, Options in Public Schools and Community Based Organizations Still Available

New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Ronald E. Richter, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn today urged families to enroll their children in Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) programs before the October 2 deadline. All children born in 2009 who reside in New York City are eligible for UPK during the 2013-2014 school year, and families are encouraged to apply for currently vacant seats. The Department of Education is supporting families in finding programs by raising awareness through subway and bus shelter ads, posting updated vacancy flyers online weekly through the end of September, as well as canvassing in high need areas with staff and volunteers.

“Over the last decade, we’ve increased pre-k enrollment by nearly 40%,” said Chancellor Walcott. “This year, we’ve expanded full-day pre-k options by adding 4,000 seats. The benefits of pre-k are widely known, and that’s why we’ve doubled down on it. We know college and career readiness doesn’t have to start in Kindergarten – children can start school on that path by participating in high quality pre-k.”

“Early childhood education is critical to the success of our school children,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “That’s why, since 2006, the City Council has worked with the Department of Education to expand full and half-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten. I encourage parents to commit to the future of our children - and our City - and enroll in a universal Pre-Kindergarten program before the October 2nd deadline.”

“We are proud to work in concert with the Department of Education to help our city’s youngest residents gain valuable early education,” said Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Ronald E. Richter. “Through EarlyLearn NYC, we are providing innovative, high quality early care and education to families in need across the five boroughs. Our prekindergarten programs promote social and intellectual development, preparing our children for kindergarten today and a successful future tomorrow.”

Research shows that early childhood education is essential in closing the achievement gap. National and local findings demonstrate that high-quality early childhood education expands short- and long-term opportunities for children in high need communities. Research also shows that half of the achievement gap that is evident at the end of high school is already present by kindergarten. High-quality early childhood interventions have been shown to lead to increased social readiness, higher incomes, less likelihood of drug use, and less involvement in the criminal justice system.

These findings are echoed in New York City where a Department of Education analysis last year found a correlation between participation in the Universal Prekindergarten program and academic success. The Department examined state English and Math test results for third through fifth grade students, comparing those who had attended UPK to those who had not. Third grade students who had attended UPK 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 who did not attend UPK. The analysis showed that those performance odds continued for pre-kindergarten students through the fifth grade.

UPK programs offer at least 2.5 hours of educational services at no cost to parents. To find a UPK program that may still have availability for the 2013-14 school year, parents can call 311 or visit the Department of Education’s website at http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/.  Flyers with information about programs that may have availability in each district are available here: http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/EarlyChildhood/ParentResources/vacancy