We have great news for New York and Long Island.
New York State is taking bold new steps to create the infrastructure of support that all programs need to achieve high quality and produce the best outcomes for children. Much of what will happen next brings all the years of work and research of The Early Years Institute directly into the schools.
This news is a wonderful holiday present for everyone who has supported EYI over the years.
Thanks to a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education, New York will see 1,725 new full-day Pre-K slots created and an additional 1,350 existing slots will be expanded to meet the definition of a full-day High-Quality Preschool Program. This grant will also strengthen our infrastructure of support and data collection statewide. Community coalitions will be created to help the pilot sites improve quality and offer services that address the whole child. I am very proud that two of the innovations that EYI brought to Long Island have been included for replication in this grant.
In a statement, Governor Cuomo said, “By expanding pre-kindergarten across the State we’re giving children the chance to learn from an even earlier age and raising the bar for how this country prepares its student for the future. Our administration is fundamentally reimagining New York’s schools with that in mind, and I am proud to have the federal government’s support in this endeavor.”
The U.S. Department of Education has committed $226,419,228 for this expansion of pre-K. NYS was one of 13 states to receive a Pre-K Expansion grant. Three-quarters of the funding has been allocated for expansion grants.
Uniondale is one of five pilot sites, which were chosen for having the state’s highest percentage of unserved four-year olds. The other sites include two districts in Westchester, as well as Indian River (a rural district upstate) and a neighborhood in New York City. Districts will receive $10,000 per child served in the new or expanded pre-K programs.
The innovations that will be supported and tested in each pilot site include QualitystarsNY and a process of examining pre-K through 3rd grade alignment. All early childhood programs in the district will be asked to use the Common Metric, which makes it possible to compare findings from different assessment tools. Additionally, funds will be used to enhance the state’s Longitudinal Data System that will allow children to be tracked from pre-K through 12th grade on a range of measures. There is a special focus on reaching children with special needs and those for whom English is not the language spoken at home.
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) that The Early Years Institute has used to great effect in Westbury will also occur in the pilot sites. The community coalition that comes together to review the EDI data will then create the implementation of interventions to improve school readiness. In addition, EYI’s UPK School Leadership Project will be replicated in the pilot sites.This involves the creation of learning communities for principals, pre-K administrators and directors of community-based organizations (CBOs) contracting with the districts to offer pre-K, as well as professional development for teachers in both school-based and community-based pre-K programs. There will also be coaching to districts to help principals support continuous quality improvement.