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A record 50,407 UPK students now enrolled for 2014-2015 in New York City

Over 50,000 pre-k students now enrolled
Over 50,000 pre-k students now enrolled
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Today Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that his new “Pre-K-For-All” initiative has enrolled an unprecedented 50,407 children in high-quality full-day pre-K programs. Last year, only 20,000 children received full-day pre-K, according to a statement made today by The Mayor’s office, Examiner has learned in this exclusive story.

All summer long, teams of canvassers and enrollment specialists have worked to connect with families of 4-year-olds and assist them with finding the right programs for their children. Based on these latest figures, the City is on target to enroll 53,000 children in pre-K by the October 1st deadline for final registration, added a City Hall press statement.

The launch of Pre-K for All has been the focus of a major interagency effort. It has encompassed the Department of Education, which oversees all programs, and engaged the FDNY, Health Department, Buildings Department, Department of Investigations, and the Administration for Children’s Services—all of which exercise key responsibilities ensuring the health, safety and appropriateness of every site and its employees, added the press announcement.

“We have great classrooms that have been pored over and prepared at every level. We have great teachers who have received extra training and support. And today, it’s clear we have the children who are ready to learn. Because of this incredible effort by educators, advocates, parents and agencies, 30,000 more children and their families will have this life-changing opportunity. That’s what this has always been about,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press conference today.

“As a grandmother, I am proud that the academic careers of more than 50,000 New York City schoolchildren will begin next week. Our children will have fun and enriching new experiences, build their vocabularies, and get on track to be ready for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning. I encourage all families with 4-year-olds to still apply—it is critical and will transform our school system. With incredible teachers at the front of every classroom and strong parent involvement, we’ll ensure the high-quality learning of each child,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña at the media event in New York City.

“Having created the first statewide universal pre-K initiative nearly two decades ago, I have fought relentlessly to bring expanded full-day, universal pre-K to the children of our state. Working with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and my Assembly Democratic colleagues we are finally on the verge of realizing this dream. In this year’s state budget, we committed $300 million to New York City for the coming school year and $1.5 billion over the next five years, and news that the city has been able to fill more than 50,000 seats in just a few short months is proof positive that our efforts have been worth it. Setting up this program is a tremendous undertaking, and I am confident that Mayor de Blasio and his team are carefully scrutinizing each and every pre-k center to ensure the highest-quality and safest environment for our children. In the end, as I have said in the past, universal pre-k is a game changer for so many families and their children, with proven positive long-lasting effects on our children, their academic achievement and prospects for the future,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, added the press statement.

“Not only is New York City’s UPK program groundbreaking, but parents and guardians can rest easy knowing that these high-quality programs will be safe, and provide benefits that will follow their children for the rest of their education and adult life. In this first year of UPK expansion, 30,000 more children will have the opportunity to enroll in full-day pre-k programs. As we move towards September, I commend the administration on more than doubling pre-kindergarten seats in throughout the City of New York,” said Public Advocate Letitia James, added the press statement.

Here is how enrollment is shaping up for UPK citywide:

  • Full-Day District School Enrollment -19,235 enrolled
  • Full-Day CBECC Enrollment (DOE and ACS) - 31,172 enrolled
  • Grand Total Full Day Enrollment - 50,407 enrolled

Parents can apply or inquire about pre-K at nyc.gov/prek, by calling 311, or by texting ‘prek’ to 877877. The Department of Education has 39 enrollment specialists on staff who speak to each parent at length about options in their communities and specific programs that may suit the unique needs of their child. Enrollment specialists are able to complete applications over the phone with parents for Community-Based Early Childhood Centers.

The New York Times added today, expanding free full-day prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds was one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature campaign proposals, and his administration has invested heavily in it, training thousands of teachers and hiring close to 200 fire and health inspectors, teaching coaches and “enrollment specialists” to make sure the first phase of the effort, involving 53,000 seats, rolls out next week without major problems.

On Thursday, Mr. de Blasio announced that the city was close to reaching its enrollment goal, with 50,407 children signed up so far, added http://www.nytimes.com. According to http://www.chalkbeat.org today that the city has enrolled 95 percent of its target of 53,000 four-year-olds in full-day pre-kindergarten, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

“With one week left before the start of school, it was a declaration of near-victory in a hard-fought enrollment battle. Since de Blasio secured $300 million from the state to dramatically expand full-day pre-K by about 33,000 seats, the city has made a major push to sign up students for the seats it created, including sending outreach workers to parades and parks to find four-year-olds, and setting up an enrollment hotline,” added De Blasio in a press conference today.

Staten Island parents, it is not too late to get your child enrolled in a community based UPK program. Teachers it is still not too late to apply for an early childhood teaching position. Staten Island parents and teachers, what are you waiting for? School is almost in session!