HUDSON VALLEY REPORTER: PEEKSKILL CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT RECEIVES STATE FUNDING FOR PRE-K PROGRAM

 

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    PEEKSKILL, N.Y. –  The Peekskill City School District has received received $171,154 in state funding to start a Peekskill Priority Pre-K Program (4P Program).

    The 4Ps Program will create one new full-day inclusion class and will convert two half-day classes to full-day classes, creating a total of three new full-day placements, which will serve a total of 60 children. The class schedules will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Arc of Westchester’s Children’s School for Early Development, which will receive 10 percent of grant funds as a purchased service, will provide aid in staffing the inclusion class.

    “Working with local partners, I am so happy that we have been able to deliver this money for the Peekskill Pre-K Program,” said Sen. Greg Ball (R, C, I -Patterson), who helped facilitate the funding. “In this tough economy, many blue-collar working families rely on pre-k programs. These funds will allow Peekskill to expand its pre-K program, allowing much needed seats for families with pre-k children as well as high-quality seats for children with special needs.”

    Sherri Goffman, who oversees Uriah Hill Elementary as the school’s principal and also serves as the interim director of educational services in the district, said she is eager to start the program, which is slated to begin on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

    “We are very excited that we received final notification from the State Education Department that our pre-K grant funds have been authorized and we can begin the program,” she said.

    Officials said that the 4Ps Program will reduce the waiting list and ensure more high-quality seats for children with disabilities and English Language Learners. The new full-day pre-k class will offer an inclusionary setting in conjunction with the Children’s School. It will include a full-time general education teacher and teacher aide, as well as a special education teacher, teacher assistant, and related service personnel, as needed, depending on the number of preschoolers with disabilities included in the room and the specific services they receive.

    The half-day conversion classes will provide an additional 2.5 hours per day for 40 of the highest-need English Language Learners. Those students will remain in their current classes for the half day they are already enrolled, and will attend school for the other half of their day in one of two classes designed to support their English language learning. The new classes will be staffed by a teacher certified in ESL and Early Childhood, and a teacher aide.

    “As a former teacher I understand how important it will be to expand education for our youngest students and to be able to provide more seats in the program,” said County Legislator John Testa, who thanked Ball for helping to obtain the funding.

    Peekskill received $171,154 for Year 1 (the remainder of this school year, from January. through June 2014) and will receive $326,752 annually thereafter to support the Peekskill Priority Pre-K Program. (ARTICLE)