Universal Pre K. and Experimental Kindergarten ProgramsCurrent through March 31, 2010.
§ 151-1.1 Scope of Subpart
The purpose of this subpart is to provide four-year-old children with universal opportunity to access prekindergarten programs. This Subpart sets forth procedures and requirements for implementing such programs and making application to the Commissioner of Education.
§ 151-1.2 Definitions
As used in this Subpart:
- Approved expenditures means any expenses for which grant funds may be used, such as, but not limited to, program components, professional salaries, professional development, support services, materials and supplies, administrative support services, transportation services, leasing expenses or other appropriate facilities expenses and other costs as approved by the commissioner. Pursuant to section 3202 of the Education Law, no parent and/or guardian of a child participating in a universal prekindergarten program should be subjected to a fee/charge for the instructional program.
- Eligible agencies shall mean a provider of child care and early education, a day care provider, early childhood program or center or community-based organization including, but not limited to, approved preschool special education program, Head Start, nursery schools, libraries and museums which meet the standards and requirements of this Subpart.
- Eligible child means a child who resides within the school district who is four years of age on or before December 1st of the year in which he or she is enrolled or who will otherwise be first eligible to enter public school kindergarten commencing with the following school year. For a summer only program provided in accordance with the provisions of section 151-1.4(d) of this Subpart, eligible child means a child who resides within the school district who is five years of age on or before December 1st of the year in which he or she is enrolled or who will otherwise be first eligible to enter public school kindergarten commencing with the current school year. Parents and/or guardians may choose, but are not required, to enroll their child(ren) in a universal prekindergarten program. However, upon enrollment, the school district's attendance policy must be applied.
- Universal prekindergarten program plan means a plan approved by the board of education or, in the case of a school district having a population of one million or more, by the community superintendent and chancellor, that is designed to effectively serve eligible children directly through the school district or through collaborative efforts between the school district and an eligible agency or agencies.
§ 151-1.3 Uniform quality standards for all universal prekindergarten classrooms, including both district-based and eligible agency-based classrooms.
(1) Each school district operating a prekindergarten program shall adopt and implement curricula, aligned with the State learning standards, that ensures continuity with instruction in the early elementary grades and is integrated with the district's instructional program in kindergarten through grade 12.
(2) Each school district operating a prekindergarten program shall provide an early literacy and emergent reading instruction based on effective, evidence-based practices. Essential components of this program shall include:
(i) background knowledge;
(ii) phonological awareness;
(iii) expressive and receptive language;
(iv) vocabulary development; and
(v) phonemic awareness.
(3) Activities shall be learner-centered and shall be designed and provided in a way that promotes the child's total growth and development, and ensures that:
(i) children are encouraged to be self-assured and independent through a balanced schedule of teacher-initiated and child-initiated learning activities;
(ii) instructional materials and equipment shall be arranged in learning centers that promote a balance of individual and small group activities; and
(iii) teachers shall use intentional planning to focus instruction to meet differentiated learning styles of students.
(b) Assessments, monitoring and reporting.
(1) School districts shall establish a process for assessing the developmental baseline and progress of all children participating in the program. Such process must at a minimum provide for on-going assessment of the development of language, cognitive and social skills, and ensure that:
(i) the instrument(s) used for assessment must be valid and reliable; and
(ii) assessment information must be used to inform classroom instruction and professional development.
(2) School districts shall use the results of such assessments to annually monitor and track prekindergarten program effectiveness. A program shall be considered effective if the enrolled children demonstrate significant gains, as determined by the commissioner, in language, cognitive and social skills.
(3) Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, school districts shall report annually, in a manner and timeline prescribed by the commissioner, the percentage of prekindergarten children making significant gains, as determined by the commissioner, in language, cognitive and social skills. The data shall be made part of school performance reports to parents and/or guardians of preschool children and the public.
(c) Health and nutrition.
(1) All prekindergarten students shall be screened as new entrants as set forth in Part 117 of this Title.
(2) Prekindergarten programs that operate for less than three hours shall provide a nutritional meal and/or snack. Programs operating more than three hours shall provide appropriate meals and snacks to ensure that the nutritional needs of the children are met. Meals and snacks shall be provided in an environment conducive to interaction between staff and children and at a time appropriate to meet the children's needs and provide sufficient time for eating and interaction.
(d) Class size. The maximum class size for a prekindergarten class is 20 children. For classes of up to 18 students, there must be one teacher and one paraprofessional assigned to each class. For classes of 19 or 20 students, there must be one teacher and two paraprofessionals assigned to each class.
(e) Staff qualifications.
(1) Prekindergarten teachers providing instruction through this Part shall possess:
(i) a teaching license or certificate valid for service in the early childhood grades pursuant to Part 80 of this Title; or
(ii) a teaching license or certificate for students with disabilities valid for service in early childhood grades pursuant to Part 80 of this Title; or
(iii) for eligible agencies collaborating with the district to provide prekindergarten services, a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field, or a teaching license or certificate valid for services in the childhood grades pursuant to Part 80 of this Title, and a written plan to obtain a certification valid for service in the early childhood grades within five years; or
(iv) eligible agencies collaborating with the district to provide prekindergarten services and licensed by an agency other than the State Education Department may employ staff who meet the standards of the licensing or registering agency, until the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, at which time all prekindergarten teachers shall meet the qualifications set forth in subparagraphs (i)-(iii) of this paragraph.
(2) Until all universal prekindergarten teachers at an eligible agency site possess a teaching license or certificate valid for services in the early childhood or childhood grades, the agencies operating such programs shall employ an on-site education director during the hours that the prekindergarten program is in operation that will be responsible for program implementation. The on-site director shall possess a teaching license or certificate valid for services in the early childhood or childhood grades pursuant to Part 80 of this Title.
(3) A prekindergarten teaching assistant providing instructional support in a prekindergarten classroom shall meet qualifications pursuant to Part 80 of this Title.
(4) A prekindergarten teacher aide providing support in a prekindergarten classroom shall meet the requirements prescribed by the local board of education.
(f) Fiscal and program oversight. A school district shall monitor compliance by collaborating eligible agencies with all fiscal and program requirements, shall assess student progress in the prekindergarten program, and shall correct any identified deficiencies.
(g) Professional development. Professional development shall be based on the instructional needs of children and shall be provided to prekindergarten teachers and staff in district and agency settings in which prekindergarten services are provided under this Subpart.
(h) Parental involvement. Each school operating a prekindergarten program shall develop procedures to ensure active engagement of parents and/or guardians in the education of their children.
(i) Support services. School districts shall provide, either directly or through referral, support services to children and their families necessary to support the child's participation in the prekindergarten program. Support services must be provided to the maximum extent practicable in the language or mode of communication which the parents and/or guardians and the child best understand. Whenever possible, such support services shall be provided in collaboration with other community organizations in a non-duplicative manner.