Grant application submitted for 3-year-old pre-K class

Parents of 2 and 3-year-olds might have the option of sending their children to pre-school later this year, if a grant application recently submitted by Robert Mark, Director of Elementary Instruction, is approved. Mark announced he had submitted the application to NY State at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education.

Due to the late release date of the grant, the anticipated start date would be in December or January of the 2015-16 school year, if the district receives funding. The grant would enable the school to establish pre-K classroom space for a year younger than what the district currently serves. Students from the age of 2 at the beginning of the year to the age of 4 at the end of the year would be eligible to attend.

The grant was written to include partnerships with the Amsterdam Head Start program and Whispering Pines Preschool, whom Mark says have been good partners for the district for a number of years.

In order to accommodate the new class, Mark said that the district would turn the two existing half day classes at William B. Tecler Arts in Education Magnet School into one full day class. Mark said that enrollment for the half day class is currently low, noting that the numbers could change as the school year begins. He added that many parents whose children attend the half day program express a preference for the full day program.

If the district is awarded the grant, Mark would start work on a transition plan in September. Due to the size of the grant, it is unlikely that the district would be able to afford to provide transportation for students in the program, all the more so because that would require the additional cost of providing car seats for the younger students.

Preschool classes within the district currently consist of two full day programs at R.J.  McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy Magnet School, one full day program at William H. Barkley Micro Society Magnet School, one full day program at Marie Curie Institute of Engineering and Communications, and one full day and two half day programs at Tecler.

Ashley Onyon

Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.