Monday, March 16, 2015

NYC Pre K Application Period Begins Today - Roosevelt Island PS 217 Offering Full Day Program Says DOE Update

Are you a Roosevelt Island parent interested in a Pre-Kindergarten school program for your child? The New York City Department of Education (DOE) reports:

Pre-K Application Period Is Open!

If you live in New York City and your child was born in 2011, he or she is eligible to attend a free, high quality pre-K program in September 2015. The application period runs from Monday, March 16, 2015 to Friday, April 24, 2015.
and Mayor de Blasio tweets:

Roosevelt Island parent Desiree Charles reported March 6:
So the 2015 Pre-K directory just came out today and PS217 isn't one of the many schools that have gone from offering half day programs to full day programs. The question is why? What happened to the $300 million in funds allocated to providing full-day pre-k to all NY City Public School children. Roosevelt Island is definitely a community that is dying for affordable/free full-day pre-k.

The full-day pre-k options are Roosevelt Island Day Nursery at $17K which actually opted out of the universal pre-k system. Or you can use Bright Horizons at about $14K a school year. Besides cost, there are the difficult logistics this presents to parents who already have a child at 217 - how do you handle pick-ups and drop-offs with one kid on the island and another kid (4 years old) off-island all at the same time?

It's pretty disappointing to say the least! Why has the DOE chosen not to move forward with Roosevelt Island? With no other affordable full-day pre-k options, Roosevelt Island should have been among the first schools to transition.
I asked Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman:
I understand that Roosevelt Island's PS 217 was not chosen for full day Pre Kindergarten class.

Is that true?

I have received inquires on that subject from Roosevelt Island parents.

Can you provide any information on the subject to the community.
Ms. Beckman replied on March 10:
PS/IS 217 supports the DOE’s expansion of full day Universal PreK. Although we will continue to have 2 half day sections for the 2015-2016 school year, we will be working throughout the year on ways to address accommodating full day PreK in our Pre K to Grade 8 school in the future.
Ms. Charles followed up on March 15:
An update to the Pre-K Directory was just released and lists PS217 as going full day! I can't tell you how excited I am!
The DOE has more information and application for Pre K program here.

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN) Executive Director Pamela Stark explains why RIDN declined to participate in the NYC DOE Pre K program:
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery is an independent school that has offered quality early childhood education to Roosevelt Island residents for 40 years. In addition to highly qualified professional teaching staff, RIDN also offers an excellent teacher to child ratio and special activities including Music Together with Owen (of RI Music Together and MST & DA) and Creative Movement and Dance with Debra (of MST & DA).

As a not-for-profit school, RIDN continues to look for ways to help keep our quality early childhood program an option for as many families as possible. We offer financial aid to families who qualify, a sibling discount for families who have more than one child attending RIDN, and we have a partnership with Weill Cornell which provides subsidized tuition for five postdoctoral families each year. We are also open to creating further partnerships with local employers seeking to subsidize school tuition for their employees, and the school is actively engaged in various fundraising efforts to support its program, including events focused at current students, alumni, and the broader community.

Unfortunately the NYC Universal Pre-K funding that the Department of Education provides is not only insufficient to support the program we offer, it currently imposes obligations upon recipient schools that are unworkable at RIDN. As a result, RIDN’s Board of Directors (the majority of whom are current RIDN parents) has decided not to pursue UPK funding at this time. Other independent schools in Manhattan have made similar decisions.
Here's more information (including video) on Roosevelt Island PS 217 Pre Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Gifted & Talented program at this January 12 Community Board 8 meeting.

UPDATE 4:10 PM - The Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA is holding a Silent Auction Fundraiser Saturday March 21 from 2-5 PM.

More information on the PS/IS 217 PTA Silent Auction fundraiser and an online catalog for the auction available at their web site.

UPDATE 6:30 PM - PS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman reports that the Roosevelt Island full day Pre K program will have 1 class with 18 children. The previous half day program had two classes with 18 children each.

Also, the DOE page has changed from 36 seats (listed in Screenshot above) to

 18 seats for 1 class.


Jo said...

So glad to hear these issues are on RIOCs agenda, but it's not good enough to fine people feeding pigeons! RIOC needs to fix the problem of pigeons nesting all over motorgate. The footpaths running from Gristedes to the end of Motorgate (past the Post Office) is a nauseating disgrace.

Islanderx2 said...

Ticketing the offending dog owners is a good idea, but I wouldn't rely on PS catching the offenders in the act, as they can't even issue parking tickets when the violators are in plain sight. Public education is the easiest answer, but we know the animals that are walking the animals could care less.

NotMyKid said...

Only problem is the PSD and RIOC administration only wants their officers to act like security with an absolute hands off approach on issues.

Go write to RIOC and the PSD.

CheshireKitty said...

Imagine if the stairwells of RL were painted with the water-repellent paint..