Universal Prekindergarten



  • Eligible agencies shall mean a provider of child care and early education which meets the UPK standards and requirements.
  • Eligible child means a resident 4 year old, who is 4 on or before December 1st of the year prior to Kindergarten entry.
  • The UPK Program Plan is approved by the Board of Education and is designed to serve eligible children through the school district and its eligible agencies.

Instructional Program

  • The curriculum must ensure strong instructional content aligned with K-12 and NYS Learning Standards.
  • The UPK Program must provide early literacy and emergent reading instruction.
  • Assessment is required for establishing children’s developmental baseline and evaluating on-going student progress.
  • Instructional materials and equipment need to be arranged in learning centers that promote a balance of teacher initiated and child-initiated activities.
  • All UPK enrollees must be screened as new entrants as set forth in the PART 117 of the Regulations of the Commissioner.
  • The maximum class size is 20 children, with one teacher and 2 para-professionals.  For classes with 18 and under, one para-professional is required.

Teacher Qualifications

  • UPK teachers must have a teaching license or certificate for students in early grades or students with disabilities in early grades.
  • If collaborating agency teachers are not certified they must hold a bachelor’s degree in early childhood, or a related field, along with a written plan to obtain certification within 5 years.
  • Teachers in collaborating agencies who do not hold certification must be supervised by an on- site certified teacher.

Program Design and Oversight

  • The District is responsible for fiscal and program oversight and student progress in all settings.
  • Professional development must be based upon instructional needs of students.  The District is required to ensure that UPK staff in all settings receive quality professional development.
  • The program must be designed to promote and increase the inclusion of students with disabilities in UPK settings.
  • The District must have procedures to ensure active parent engagement in education of their children.
  • The District must provide support services for UPK children and families directly or through referral and coordination to avoid duplication.
  • The program must be designed to ensure children with limited English proficiency have equal access to the program and opportunities to achieve the same goals as other enrolled children.
  • School Districts must develop a plan to select students on a random basis where there are more children than available UPK slots.
  • Programs may be either full day or half day and must operate five days per week, a minimum of 180 days per year.

Collaborative Efforts

  • Districts must collaborate a minimum of 10% of the grant to provide an instructional program for UPK students in eligible agencies.
  • Districts must select eligible agencies through a competitive process.  Subsequently, a contract between the District and CBO is developed.
  • A variance from the 10% collaboration can be granted when there are no available, willing or eligible agencies for which to contract with.
  • The District is responsible for ensuring program quality across all UPK settings.

Action Steps for Implementation

  • Board of Education Approval;
  • Design Program;
  • Establish Collaborations (including Request for Proposals (RFP) to select providers);
  • Develop Contract(s) with selected providers;
  • Recruitment of Children;
  • SED Application/Approval;
  • Selection/Placement of Children;
  • Screenings or 4-year-olds as new entrants;
  • Implementation of program;
  • Monitoring and oversight of programs in all settings
Last Updated: April 25, 2011