New York City

De Blasio touts pre-K enrollment of more than 53,000

November 13, 2014 By Matthew Taub Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn Brief
Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement of the pre-K numbers at P.S. 397. Credit: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office
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The city has successfully enrolled 53,230 children in high-quality, full-day pre-Kindergarten classes this fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed in an announcement Wednesday afternoon. Since the first day of school, children have been exposed to a common-core aligned curriculum that focuses on developing social interactions, learning language, early literacy and counting skills through reading and self-directed play, and engaging in thematic lessons.

“We are well on our way to providing every child with the right start in their education, so they can succeed in school and in life,” said de Blasio. “We made pre-K for all the centerpiece of our agenda to fight inequality and give every family opportunity. We are working every day to ensure these programs fulfill their potential and meet the highest standards. Two months in, high-quality, full-day pre-K is changing children’s lives.”

The announcement included a tour of P.S. 397 in lower Manhattan. On the second floor, a group of about 18 students were gathered around a table in a bright, modern classroom, and were given a chance to briefly interact with the mayor and other city officials, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

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“We know that universal pre-K is the launching pad to the long-term academic achievement that each and every one of our children needs and deserves. That is why, in 1997, under my leadership, we established the first statewide universal pre-K program,” said Silver. “Mayor de Blasio has been a critical advocate and partner to help finally establish full day universal pre-K in New York.”

Of the children presently enrolled in full-day pre-K, 17,152 are in Brooklyn, 13,576 are in Queens, 12,127 are in the Bronx, 7,255 are in Manhattan and 3,120 are in Staten Island. Children are learning at nearly 1,700 sites at public schools and community-based early childhood centers in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

Next year, the city plans to offer free, full-day, high-quality pre-K for every child in New York City.

All programs are under the ongoing supervision of the Department of Education, with additional oversight by the Administration for Children’s Services, Fire Department, Buildings Department, Department of Investigation and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Teachers have received significant support to ensure the highest quality instruction, with 6,000 educators participating in the city’s first-ever citywide Professional Development Training specifically for pre-K.

To analyze the expansion of pre-K, promote best practices, and improve implementation for next year, the city is partnering with New York University and an independent evaluator to track the system’s progress and engage students, parents and educators. Instructional coaches and supervision teams from the Department of Education have visited every community-based program since the first day of school, to ensure programs are maintaining high standards as the school year continues.


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