Dear SOMSD Pre-K Parents/Guardians:
We hope that you and your family are well. Please allow us to provide an update of the District’s Preschool Education program and registration for the 2020-2021 school year.
As you may be aware, the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) through the Division of Early Childhood and Family Engagement Office, awarded the South Orange and Maplewood School District, Pre-School Education Expansion Aid (PEEA) funding to expand our preschool program that was launched in the 2018-2019 school year. The primary goal of the PEEA is to increase access to high-quality full-day preschool for three- and four-year-olds.
As a District, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to have access to quality Pre-K programs. The funding received through the PEEA supports the Board’s commitment to expanding access to a free high-quality preschool education program in 2020-2021 for children in our community. As such, this expansion will be accomplished through the placement of students at the District’s Montrose Early Childhood Center and includes our partners: Applecore Learning, La Petite, Zadie’s of the Oranges, Iris Family Early Childhood Education Center and KinderGan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a major shift in our normal operations. Some of the early effects of this disruption are being felt, as a couple of our previously anticipated preschool partner sites now cannot commit to partnering in September 2020; thereby, lowering the number of seats we are able to offer for the 2020-2021 Preschool program. In addition, the pandemic may also affect the funding amount that we were awarded; in the coming weeks, we will learn of the state’s revised budget allocation to our District. If PEAA funding is reduced, this may also affect the number of new preschool placements that we are able to provide.
Currently, for the 2020-2021 school year, we anticipate providing a placement to 314 three- and four-year-olds who will continue or who will be new to the program. Based on the number of online registrations submitted (only based on enrollments received by the preregistration deadline), we have an overage and there will be approximately 84 families/students who will be placed on a waiting list. The preschool program lottery will be held during the week of May 18th. While we are unable to accommodate all placements at this time, we are optimistic that we may be able to expand partnerships with other local child-care providers to meet the needs of pre-registered students by January 2021.
In the next couple of weeks, we will be sending out additional correspondence to all families who pre-registered and completed their online enrollment process (by the deadline). The additional communications will include:
- Parent notification and child placement dates (please note, all placements are contingent pending full compliance of District registration requirements/processes)
- Revised in-person registration procedures
We thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Be safe and well.
Melody Alegria, Ed.D
cc: Leroy Johnson III, Supervisor, Preschool Education Program