The North Shore School District has offered universal pre-K for a month now and is starting registration for the lottery to enroll more pre-K students in the fall.
The district welcomed about 50 preschool students to the first day of school Feb. 1. The students were split into three classes of about 15-18 students, with one class each held at Glen Head Elementary, Sea Cliff Elementary School and the Glen Cove YMCA.
A universal lottery hosted in December determined the students accepted into the new pre-K program, and another will be hosted in April for the incoming class in the fall. Families must prove their residency and register by April 5 to participate.
Children who are 4 years old prior to Dec. 1 are eligible to enroll in the lottery for the next academic school year.
Families that participate in the lottery will not be guaranteed a spot in class for their child. The lottery is the only way children can be enrolled. After the lottery, if seats are available, then families can enroll their children on a first come, first serve basis
Families can indicate their preferred pre-K location and, if selected, the preferred location will be granted in the order it was drawn in the lottery.
Families with multiple children to enroll at the same time will not be guaranteed a spot for all their children nor placement at the same location.
Registering for the lottery can be done by making an appointment with District Registrar Katherine Miller by emailing her at [email protected] or calling (516) 277-7824. Residency packets can be picked up at the North Shore Central Office at 112 Franklin Avenue in Sea Cliff, or online.
Superintendent Christopher Zublionis said the universal pre-K program has been “so far so good” with the district receiving positive feedback about the new program. He said the benefits of the program are that the students get familiar with their school campuses prior to kindergarten and families save money.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for all students and to help our residents,” Zublionis said.
The preschool students have been attending school for an abbreviated day, spending about five hours in class from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The universal pre-K program follows the normal school calendar, with kids in class Monday-Friday and abiding by school break schedules.
The addition of universal pre-K at the North Shore schools was done through the New York State UPK Expansion Grant Program, a grant that funded the school’s newest grade. The grant provides the district with about $5,400 per pre-K student.
The district received the grant for the first time last April, but it was too late to establish the pre-K program by September. Instead, they opted to begin it halfway through the year.
Due to the mid-year start, Zublionis said it brought challenges. This included finding classroom space on campuses and off, as well as families needing to unenroll their children from their prior preschools.
Despite the challenges, the universal pre-K program has been going well and the district is now anticipating its next class of pre-K students in the fall.
More information about the program and enrollment can be found on the district’s universal pre-K website.