City of Rochester
(Tuesday, August 6, 2013) — City of Rochester Mayor Thomas S. Richards joined Rochester City School District (RCSD) Superintendent Bolgen Vargas and RCSD Executive Director of Early Childhood Education Robin Hooper today to voice support for the importance of early childhood education and to encourage enrollment in Rochester’s free Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) program. Speakers toured facilities and were greeted by students during the press conference held at Rochester Childfirst Network, 941 South Ave., one of the 56 UPK locations in Rochester.
“Giving our city youngsters every opportunity to succeed from the very beginning is the best strategy to assure that they finish high school,” said Mayor Richards. “We want to encourage parents to take advantage of the many wonderful prekindergarten options within Rochester; each instills the joy of learning in our children and also helps them to gain important basic skills.”
"We have space to give every four-year old child a great Pre-K education. It's fun for the kids and helps them do better in kindergarten,” said Superintendent Vargas. “More than 50% of our Pre-K seats have been filled with some of our locations at full capacity. We encourage every parent to sign up their eligible children. Please help us get the message out by telling family, friends and neighbors in the city."
During 2012-13 the district enrolled 1,926 UPK students in the program.
UPK programs that still have openings are continuing to accept registrations for the 2013-14 school year.
“Our prekindergarten students enter kindergarten classrooms prepared to learn and interact with their peers and adults,” said Dr. Hooper. “Half of our parents tell us they were referred to the program by other parents and parent surveys have indicated a high level of satisfaction with the program.”
Morning and afternoon sessions of two and one half hours are offered at 28 school-based locations and 28 community agency sites during the 2013-14 school year. To be eligible for the District’s free UPK program a child must be four years of age on or before December 1, 2013 and reside in the city of Rochester.
A lottery is held in April of each school year, for those who register between January and March for RCSD Pre-K programs in schools for the following school year. After the lottery, student registrations are accepted on a first come, first serve basis until classes are filled in RCSD school sites. Parents go directly to agencies to register for community-based UPK programs until classes are full.
The Rochester Pre-K program uses the High Scope Preschool Curriculum with lessons aligned to the New York State Foundation for the Common Core Prekindergarten Standards.
The program is funded through the Universal Prekindergarten grant provided by the New York State Education Department.
For those who wish to register their children for the UPK program within an RCSD school, a child’s birth certificate, proof of address, immunization record and a photo identification of the parent or guardian must be brought to the RCSD Central Administrative Offices at 131 West Broad St. between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Proof of guardianship must also be presented. Parents who wish to register with an agency UPK provider must go directly to the agency to register for the program.
Information about the Rochester City School District UPK program, including curriculum, assessments, program locations and links to resources may be found at www.rcsdk12.org/prek or call the RCSD Early Childhood Department at 262-8140. Families are served on a walk-in basis.
Pre-K program booklets and brochures are available at the UPK registration area at Central Office, city libraries, recreation centers and in the City Hall, 30 Church St. lobby.
For further information, contact Tricia Cruz, 262-8363.