District to launch expanded preschool program in December

The Greater Amsterdam School District will begin offering preschool for 3-year-olds as of December 7 according to Director of Elementary Instruction Robert Mark, who made the announcement at Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Board of Education.

The state funded program will be offered to families free of charge, and includes space for up to 94 students who are 3-years-old as of December 1. The school district is offering two half day morning classes and two half day afternoon classes, serving 16 students a piece for a total of 64 students at the former Bacon Elementary School building, and one full day program for 30 students through a partnership with Whispering Pines Preschool.

Mark said that the district will hire two teachers and two aids for the program. The district had planned to offer additional classes through a partnership with Head Start, but due to an outside requirement that they accept no more than 14 students at that age level, they were unable to participate.

The district will receive $371,884 through the $30 million Expanded Prekindergarten for Three- and Four-Year Old Students in High-Need School Districts state grant. The grant will be available annually.

According to the district’s website, students will receive exposure to reading, math, science and social studies while developing social skills in early preparation for school.

Student registration forms are available through the district website and will be accepted at the district office through 4p.m. on December 1. Parents must provide their child’s birth certificate, immunization records, and two proofs of residency when turning in applications.

The district will hold a lottery on December 2 to determine student placement. Mark said that if parents of students in the half day program require full day child care, Whispering Pines will offer daycare options, so that those students can move into their programs when their class day ends.

If there are any vacancies following the lottery, the district will continue accepting applications until those spaces have been filled. No transportation will be provided for the program.

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.