• Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) Office

    Tammy Coleman, UPK Director
    ext. 18120
    Chrystal Lozano, UPK Assistant
    ext. 18134
    Nakresha Joseph, UPK Nurse
    120 Broadway
    Maybrook, NY  12543
     ext. 13700  
    FAX:  845-427-5119

    The Valley Central School District announces its anticipated half-day & full-day Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) Program for 2020-2021.

    Eligible children include those who reside in the district and who will be 4 years old on or before December 1, 2020.

    If you have an eligible child or know someone who has an eligible child, please share this information with them. 

    A Parent Information Night and Vendor Fair will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 7:00 PM in the Berea Elementary Cafeteria (snow date is Monday, February 3rd). 

    The application period runs from January 23, 2020 through March 12, 2020. 

    Applications for the 2020-2021 school year will be available beginning January 23, 2020 at the District Office and at the Parent Information Night (see details below). You may also request an application packet be sent to you by email. Please indicate which type of application packet you require in your email.

    Types of UPK Applications

    UPK Application: HOMEOWNER

    UPK Application: LIVE with DISTRICT RESIDENT

    UPK Application: RENT with LEASE

    UPK Application: RENT without LEASE

    2020-2021 UPK Provider Open House Schedule

    Directions to VCSD District Office:

    From the WestTravelling West on I-84, take Exit 28 to Route 208 North for about 1.2 miles until you reach NY 17K East. Turn right onto NY-17E for about .6 miles.  Turn left on the driveway to Berea Elementary School. Continue straight past the parking lot for the elementary school and you will see the administration building.  Parking is in the front.   

    From the EastTravelling East on I-84, take Exit 28 to Route 208 North for about 1 mile until you reach NY 17K East. Turn right onto NY-17E for about .6 miles.  Turn left on the driveway to Berea Elementary School. Continue straight past the parking lot for the elementary school and you will see the administration building.  Parking is in the front.



    The goal and purpose of the Valley Central School District Prekindergarten Program are to offer four-year-old children the opportunity to access an educational environment that is learner-centered and promotes the use of early literacy and emergent reading instruction based on effective, evidence-based practices. In alignment with New York State Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core, the program curricula promote balanced support between the development of early childhood social, emotional, motor, and cognitive skills. The program ensures continuity with instruction in the early elementary grades and is integrated with the District’s instructional program in kindergarten through grade twelve.

    The program is designed to:

    Promote literacy through the use of evidence-based practices

    Promote positive emotional, social, and cognitive skills through collaboration between school and parents

    Provide learner-centered activities to promote children’s growth and development

    Provide a balance between teacher-initiated and child-initiated learning activities in order to encourage student self-confidence and independence

    Provide a balance of individual and small group activities for the children

    Provide activities that support parent participation in their child’s educational plan

    Design an assessment process that determines the developmental baseline and progress of all children

    Provide a nutritional snack to all of the children every day

    Provide support services to children and their families that are necessary to support the child’s transition and participation in the Prekindergarten Program

    Promote differentiated instruction to meet the learning styles of the children

    Maximize the integration of preschool children with disabilities

    Provide equal program access to participating children with limited English proficiency

    The Valley Central School District has chosen to provide prekindergarten services through local collaborating agencies (UPK Providers) rather than through a District run program. UPK Providers are chosen based upon review of their proposals. The proposals are measured by the competitive process set forth by the Commissioners’ regulations 151-1.1 – 1.7. On-going collaboration between the District and the UPK Providers will continue throughout each school year as programs are visited and evaluated by District administration.

    For the 2019-2020 school year:  You may also pick up a printed application from our Central Office Administration building located behind Berea Elementary School or request one be sent to you via email.

    The application deadline was March 14, 2019, therefore, all completed, eligible applications received from this point forward will automatically be placed at the end of the waiting list in the order they are received.

    UPK Program Eligibility Criteria for the 2019-2020 UPK Program:

    Your child must be a resident of the Valley Central School District

    Your child must be four (4) years old ON or before December 1, 2019

    2019-2020 Half-Day UPK Providers

    Miss Cindy’s Neighborhood Nursery School   

    Montgomery Nursery School      

    School Time Children's Center

     2019-2020 Full-Day UPK Providers

     Learning Together 

     Montgomery Nursery School

     Most Precious Blood School

     Ms. Claire's Montessori School  

    School Time Children's Center


    Basic Facts and Information

    Eligible Children: children who reside within the Valley Central School District AND who will be four years old on or before December 1st of the school year enrolled.

     Program Length: half-day programs require a minimum of 2 ½ hours, but no more than three hours, per day; full-day programs require a minimum of 5 hours per day.

    Both programs must be a minimum of 180 days, 5 days a week.

    Program Calendar: It is expected that UPK Providers will follow the District’s adopted/approved school year calendar for program dates, vacations, etc. 

    Class Size Requirements: Maximum class size is 20 students; classes with 19 or 20 students require 1 teacher and 2 paraprofessionals; classes with 18 or fewer students require 1 teacher and 1 paraprofessional.

    Bussing: Bussing services will not be provided.

    Student Selection Process: Students will be selected using a random selection process. Once students are selected, approved UPK Providers will be notified of students entering their program.

    Informational Links: New York State Universal Prekindergarten website: NYSED Universal PreKindergarten

    Half-Day & Full-Day Universal Prekindergarten Frequently Asked Questions 

    What is Universal Prekindergarten (UPK)? UPK is a free preschool experience made possible through grants from the New York State Education Department (NYSED). As long as the funding remains available and as long as the district has the human resources to coordinate the program, the district can offer the program.

    Is the UPK program free?:Yes.  The cost of tuition for those students selected through a rubric/lottery selection process is paid for by the grants. There are no fees paid by the family or the district for up to 2 ½ hours per day/five days a week for the half-day program and up to 6 ½ hours per day/five days a week for the full-day program.

    What days are the children off from school? The UPK program follows the Valley Central School District calendar.

    How long is the program?The half-day program is 2 ½ hours per day, Monday through Friday, for 180 days (as per the district calendar).The full-day program is 6 or 6 ½ hours per day, depending on the provider, Monday through Friday, for 180 days (as per the district calendar).

    Is the program run by the Valley Central School District?The program is administered by the Valley Central School District but is offered at community based organizations (CBO’s), also referred to as “providers”. The three half-day providers are: Miss Cindy’s Neighborhood Nursery School, Montgomery Nursery School and School Time Children's Center.  The six full-day providers are: Learning Together, Montgomery Nursery School, Most Precious Blood School, Ms. Claire’s Montessori School (Maybrook), Ms. Claire’s Montessori School (Montgomery) and School Time Children’s Center.

    Who is eligible? How do I apply? Valley Central School District children who turn four (4) years of age on or before December 1, 2020 are eligible for the program. To apply, you must complete a Universal Prekindergarten Application available beginning January 23, 2020. Applications must be received in our office no later than March 12, 2020. This allows proper processing for our April lottery. Children who turn five are not eligible per New York State regulations.  Applications received after March 12, 2020 will automatically be placed at the end of the waiting list.

    If I hand in my application right away, does that improve my child’s chances of being selected?No.  All completed, eligible applications will be included in the lottery/selection process; handing your application in on January 23, 2020 versus handing it in on March 12, 2020 does not affect your child’s chances of being selected one way or the other.  It is best to wait to hand in your application until you have completed ALL the applicable forms in the application AND have all of your documentation to submit WITH your application. Submitting documentation AFTER handing in your application makes it more difficult for the UPK Office to process your application.

    When is someone in the UPK Office so I know when I can drop off my application?  When is the best time to drop off my application?The UPK Office is located in the Central Office Administration Building, 944 State Route 17K, Montgomery.  Applications can be mailed to the UPK Office at that address or dropped off at the front desk of the Administration Building between the hours of 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  UPK staff are unable to answer questions or personally accept your application if you choose to drop it off. If you have any questions about the application or required documentation, please call or email the UPK Office BEFORE bringing your application to the Central Office Administration Building.

    Can all district 4-year-olds attend?  No. The New York State Education Department funds these grants and has allocated enough funds for 35 half-day students and 114 full-day students.  It is anticipated that both grants will continue for the 2020-2021 school year, but until we go through our budget process and the state budget is adopted, we will not know for sure; nor will we know exactly how many students will be served. Each year there are more applicants than the number of available spots, therefore, a rubric/lottery are used in the selection process to determine who will participate. All students who are not selected during the rubric/lottery will be placed on a waiting list. If any vacancies occur during the year, they will be filled until the waiting list has been exhausted.

    When will we know if the grant is going to be offered again for 2020-2021? Will it be for the same number of children again? As we move through the VCSD budget process, we will know if the grant funds and our human resources are sufficient to run the program. Please join us at the public meetings held during our budget development process to let us know what programs are important to you.  Information about the dates and times of these meetings can be found by visiting the district web site. Both grants are part of the NY state budget. Usually the state budget is adopted in April. Once the state budget is adopted, funds are allocated in May. Our school district budget vote will be on May 19, 2020. After the state and local school budgets have been decided, we will know if the UPK program will be offered and for how many students.

    How will I know if my child has been chosen?Lottery selection usually takes place in April to determine which students will start the program in September. The UPK Office will email ALL applicants as soon as possible after the lottery selection to notify students if they were selected or placed on the waiting list.  You will be notified via email and asked to confirm receipt of the email notification. If we do not receive confirmation from you that you received the email, we will then attempt to reach you by phone and finally, if necessary, by a letter mailed to your home address.

    If selected, which UPK Provider will my child attend?During the application process, you will indicate your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice, etc. for each of the UPK providers that participates in the program you are applying for (either the half-day program or the full-day program). We will place students in their first choice unless that provider is full or your child has certain medical and/or physical needs that dictate they be placed at a specific UPK Provider (**see next FAQ). If your child does not have any medical and/or physical needs and their first choice is full, then we will move to the second choice, then the third choice, etc. until a placement is available.

    If selected, how will my child’s medical and/or physical needs affect which UPK Provider my child will attend?If your child is selected during the lottery and currently has any medical and/or physical needs that have been documented by a physician, and we are able to meet those needs at a specific UPK Provider, your child will be placed at that provider regardless of your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, choice etc.  Your child’s medical and/or physical needs may dictate which provider they will need to be placed at.If your child develops any medical and/or physical needs that are documented by a physician after they have already been placed at one of the UPK Providers, we retain the right to switch your child’s placement to the UPK Provider where those needs can best be met regardless of the time of year.

    Can we choose the location we want our child to go to?You can indicate on your application your 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice, etc. of the location you would like your child to go to. We will make every attempt to accommodate your request unless your child’s medical and/or physical needs dictate which provider they will need to be placed at. We cannot guarantee placement at a specific UPK provider.

    How does the waiting list work? If, for any reason, a child drops out of the UPK program, the next family on the waiting list will be notified and offered the vacant spot.  If the family declines to accept the vacancy for any reason, they will be removed from the waiting list, and no longer eligible to participate in the UPK program.

    How does the lottery process work for twins or triplets, etc.?The rubric/lottery selection process does not give preference to families with twins, triplets, etc.  Each child is entered as an individual student and will be selected according to the rubric and/or at random.  The selection of one twin or triplet has no effect on the selection number of any other siblings during the rubric/lottery selection process.

    What happens if one of my twins is selected and one is placed on the waiting list?We highly recommend that families with multiples pre-register their children at their first choice of UPK provider.  Most of the UPK providers offer pre-registration in order to guarantee your child’s spot in September. If one twin is selected during the rubric/lottery and one is placed on the waiting list, it would be up to the parents/guardians to decide if they were able and willing to pay for the other twin to attend the same UPK provider.  If both twins were already pre-registered you would be guaranteed two spots at that provider and wouldn’t have to worry that they couldn’t attend the same provider.

    Can a parent pay for an eligible child to attend additional hours in the program? All questions regarding additional hours, before-care and after-care, should be addressed directly with the UPK provider.

    What if there is a custody situation regarding my child? You must provide court documentation at time of registration.  In addition, you must notify the UPK provider. We recommend that you follow up with the UPK provider to be sure that all the proper safeguards are in place.

    What if my child has a severe allergy or other serious medical condition?A Health Inventory Form and NYS School Health Examination Form are required as part of the UPK application.  The UPK Nurse reviews these forms and if your child is selected you will meet with the UPK Nurse during registration. Any serious medical condition must be reported directly to the UPK Nurse and also to the UPK provider. We recommend that you follow up with the UPK provider to be sure that all the proper safeguards are in place.

    What are the Immunization requirements?Children must receive all first age/grade level appropriate doses, or overdue follow-up doses if they already received prior doses in a series, within 14 days from the first day of instruction for the school year, and must provide evidence of age appropriate appointments for the next follow-up doses, in accordance with the ACIP schedule, within 30 days of the first day of attendance.

    Is there a religious exemption for the immunization requirements? New York State no longer offers a religious exemption for immunizations.

    Is there a medical exemption for the immunization requirements? Yes.  A valid medical exemption must adhere to ALL of the following: 

    Be submitted on a signed, completed medical exemption form issued by NYSDOH 

    Specify which immunizations may be detrimental to the child’s health

    Contain sufficient information to determine if a medical contraindication to a specific immunization exists

    Specify the length of time the immunization is medically contraindicated

    Be reissued annually

    **The UPK Nurse may require additional information beyond the items listed above that support the exemption 

    What is taught in the program?All UPK providers that are contracted by the Valley Central School District must follow The New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards and utilize the Teaching Strategies Creative Curriculum. Each UPK provider is permitted flexibility in how they choose to deliver the curriculum.

    Does every UPK provider have to run identical programs?Specific teachers, lessons and special events will vary by location. However, any UPK provider selected by the Valley Central Board of Education must adhere to state and local standards. 

    Is transportation available?No. Families must provide transportation for their child.  It is expected that students will be dropped off and picked up at the appointed starting and ending times for their particular class.  Both grants pay for students to attend school for a specific amount of time each day school is in session, so it is not acceptable or permissible to repeatedly drop your child off late for class or pick them up early before class ends.  If you regularly do not get your child to school on time or regularly pick them up before class ends, it may jeopardize your child’s continued enrollment in the UPK Program. 

    Is lunch provided to students in the full-day program?Students in the full-day program should bring their own lunch to school with them each day.

    Does my child need to be potty trained before starting UPK?Yes.  Your child should be potty trained BEFORE September 2020.  If you have not already started to potty train your child, we highly recommend the eBook “3 Day Potty Training.com” by Lora Jensen (http://www.3daypottytraining.com/). There is a small fee to purchase this eBook (approx.$27).

    What is the difference in the selection process for the half-day & full-day program?Each grant has its own guidelines on how students must be selected.  The half-day grant is a straight lottery; all eligible applicants are entered in the lottery and each is randomly selected.  The first 35 students selected are placed at one of the half-day UPK providers and all remaining students are placed on the half-day waiting list in the order they were selected.

    The full-day grant gives priority to high needs students.  Factors that determine high needs are income, disabilities and when English is not the students’ primary language.  Points are assigned to indicate high needs; five (4) points is the maximum, zero (0) points is the minimum. Once all applications have been sorted into groups based on the total number of points assigned, a random lottery is held for each group, beginning with the five (4) point group and working all the way down to the zero (0) point group, until every application has been selected.  The first 114 students selected are placed at one of the full-day UPK providers and all remaining students are placed on the full-day waiting list in the order they were selected. 

    Since the full-day selection process gives priority to high needs students, how are high needs students identified?  Who came up with the point system to identify high needs students?Forms submitted as part of the UPK Application are used to identify the factors that determine high needs, i.e. income, disabilities and when English is not the students’ primary language. A combination of the grant guidelines and Valley Central School District determinations established the point system.

    Can I pre-register my child for a prekindergarten class now, even though the UPK selection process will not take place until April?  Yes.  If you are definite about where you would like your child to attend prekindergarten, we recommend you pre-register at that provider to guarantee your child a spot in September.

    If I choose to pre-register my child now, and then my child is selected for UPK, what happens to the registration fee I paid when I pre-registered?If you pre-register at one of the UPK Providers the Valley Central School District contracts with for UPK services, and your child is selected for UPK, the UPK Provider will refund the registration fee you previously paid.  If however, you choose to pre-register your child at a prekindergarten provider that the Valley Central School District does NOT contract with for UPK services, and your child is selected for UPK, it is up to that prekindergarten provider to decide whether they will refund any registration fees you paid when you pre-registered your child.

    If my child is placed on the waiting list, can I still pay to send my child to a prekindergarten class?Yes.  Please directly contact the prekindergarten provider you are interested in to enroll and pay for your child to attend prekindergarten at their school.

    Are there class size limits for UPK?  What is the student to teacher ratio in a UPK classroom?    Per New York State Regulations, the maximum UPK class size is 20 students.  Classes with 19 or 20 students require one teacher and two paraprofessionals.  Classes of 18 or fewer students require one teacher and one paraprofessional.