Lake Placid received a grant Monday, Aug. 18 for full-day universal pre-K, an initiative created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The district's grant was for $405,000 and will fund the program for the 2014-15 school year. The full-day pre-K classes will include about 50 children. The program in Lake Placid will offer five hours of instruction to four year olds, and the classes will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The taxpayer-funded program comes at no up-front charge to parents.
"We're thrilled," district Superintendent Roger Catania said.
Catania said that 81 schools in total were awarded grants, a bulk of which were from New York City.
"Numerous research studies provide clear and specific evidence to support the long-term social, intellectual and economic benefits of preschool eduction," Catania wrote in a press release.
The program will be a collaborative effort between the school district and St. Agnes Elementary School. Catania said St. Agnes Principal Catherine Bemis was "instrumental" in securing the grant. An informational session about full-day pre-K will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26 at the St. Agnes school.
"We'll be available to answer questions about specifics of the programs, curriculum, who the teachers will be, all the details of the program," Bemis said. "We'll also have registration paperwork at the meeting.
Bemis said traditionally universal pre-K has been a three-hour program.
"It's going to allow the teachers to provide a more comprehensive program," she said. "There will be increased opportunities for more activities."
Parents in the Lake Placid school district should contact Bemis at 518-523-3771 or at email@example.com.
Saranac Lake Central School District was awarded $137,700 in universal pre-K grant funding. The district hopes to enroll 51 children into its morning pre-K program. As of this week, about 22 to 24 students have enrolled so far, Bloomingdale Elementary Principal Patricia Kenyon said.
Kenyon said children are signed up to the pre-K program on a first-come, first-served basis.
"We have some spaces available," Kenyon said. "It is based on higher standards for all students; it is based on specific curriculum. I have seen the programs and the children there are learning many, many different things and having many different experiences."
Kids-R-Us Early Learning Center, at the North Country Community College Campus, will run the program. Kids-R-Us also offers extended day care before and after universal pre-K classes. The pre-K program is a morning class from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. A Kids-R-Us representative said they align their curriculum with the Saranac Lake Central School District's curriculum.
Parents in the Saranac Lake school district should contact Kenyon at 518-891-3198.
Tupper Lake Central School District was awarded $97,900 for its universal pre-K program. The program's two sessions are currently full with 36 children already signed up.
Students meet at the L.P. Quinn Elementary School for morning and afternoon classes. The morning class is from 8:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and the afternoon class is noon to 2:30 p.m.
Parents can sign their children up to the wait list by contacting L.P. Quinn Elementary School Principal Carolyn Merrihew at 518-359-2981 ext. 1004.