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UPK Program Expanding, Accepting Applications

For years, Webster CSD has offered half-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) in a lottery format to roughly 127 students. That’s about to change.

photo of children playing

With the passing of the recent state budget, additional funding has been allocated to all New York State districts to expand UPK.  These new dollars, that total almost $1.1 million for Webster, are dedicated to a full-day (five hour) UPK program.  Webster is still able to offer the half-day program as part of the older funding as an option to families for now.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to return from a pandemic to offer this to our families,” said UPK Program Coordinator Heather Balsamo.
Families who applied for the UPK lottery when it was open February 12-March 12 will all receive a spot.

“When we found out we were getting the full-day funding, we went back and asked all of our lottery winners if they wanted full-day or half-day,” Balsamo said.

More student spaces are available, so the district is opening an ongoing application process. Families may apply online at this link.

The play-based program engages students in social and emotional skills with a heavy emphasis on communication. The full-day program will be housed in all seven of the district’s elementary schools, plus child care partners Kids First and Doodle Bugs. Half-day programs will be located within the schools where space is available.

There is no cost to attend either the half-day or the full-day program. The only cost families would incur would be for wrap-around care at one of the child cares, if the parents/guardians choose that.

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