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 chosen through a lottery selection process is paid for by the grant.
    What days are the children off from school?
    The UPK program follows the Cornwall Central School District calendar.
    How long is the program?
    The program is 6 hours per day, Monday through Friday, for 180 days (as per the District calendar).
    Is the program run by the Cornwall Central School District?
    The program is administered by the Cornwall Central School District, but it is offered at community-based organizations, also referred to as “providers.”
    Who is eligible? How do I apply?
    Cornwall Central School District children who turn 4 years of age on or before December 1, 2022 are eligible for the program. To apply, you must complete a Universal Prekindergarten Application. You can find the application on our CCSD website under the UPK for 22-23 tab. You may also pick one up at the District Office building (24 Idlewild Avenue). Applications must be received by 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8th. Applications received after the deadline will automatically be placed at the end of the waiting list.
    When is the best time to drop off my application?
    Completed UPK applications can be dropped off at the District Office building, located at 24 Idlewild Avenue, Cornwall on Hudson, NY. Our staff will be available to accept applications Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    When does the application window open and close?
    Applications will be made available beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 2nd. The application window will close at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8th.
    Can all Cornwall Central School District 4-year-olds attend UPK?
    No. The amount of funding from NYSED allocated for this grant, along with available slots from providers, will determine how many students can be served. Typically, there are more applicants than the number of available spots; therefore, a lottery is used in the selection process to determine who will participate. All students who are not selected during the 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 the lottery occur?
    The UPK lottery will take place on Thursday, June 9th.
    How will the lottery be conducted?
    Each child will be assigned a number and numbers will be chosen through a random lottery system. The lottery will be conducted by senior administrators with at least two witnesses.
    How will I know if my child has been selected?
    The lottery selection will take place on Thursday, June 9th to determine which students will start the program in September 2022. We will email ALL applicants as soon as possible after the selection process to notify parents/guardians if their child was selected or placed on the waiting list. You will be notified via email and asked to confirm receipts of the email notification. If we do not receive confirmation from you that you received the email notification, we will attempt to reach you by phone and, finally, by a letter mailed to your home address if necessary.
    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 the district partners with. We will place students with 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. If your child does not have any medical and/or physical needs and their first choice is full, we will move to the second choice, then third choice, etc. until a placement is available.
    Which providers will the Cornwall Central School District partner with for UPK?
    There is a process underway that allows providers to submit an application to partner with the district to provide UPK services. The application process closes on May 31st. The district will announce the providers that are selected on our website on June 1st.
    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 process 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 with that provider regardless of your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, choice, etc. Your child’s medical and/or physical needs may dictate which provider he/she will need to be placed with. If your child develops any medical and/or physical needs that are documented by a physician after they have 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. 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 provider.
    How does the waiting list work?
    If, for any reason, a child drops out of the UPK program, or the family does not accept the placement offered, the next family on the waiting list will be offered the vacant spot. If the family declines the vacancy for any reason, they will be removed from the waiting list and no longer eligible to participate in the UPK program for the 2022-23 school year.
    How does the lottery process work for twins or triplets?
    The 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 lottery process. The selection of one twin or triplet has no effect on the selection of any other siblings during the lottery selection process.
    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 the time of registration. In addition, you must notify the UPK provider. We recommend that you follow up with the UPK provider to make sure that all of the proper safeguards are in place.
    What if my child has a severe allergy or other serious medical condition?
    A NYS School Health Examination form is required as part of the UPK enrollment process. This form is reviewed by school district health personnel and the UPK provider. Any serious medical condition must be reported to the district and also to the UPK provider. We recommend that you follow up with the UPK provider to be sure that all of 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. In addition, you 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 immunization requirements?
    New York State no longer offers a religious exemption for immunizations.
    Is there a medical exemption for 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
    Additional information may be required beyond the items listed above.
    What is taught in the UPK program?
    All UPK Providers that are contracted by the District must follow the New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards and utilize the Teaching Strategies Creative Curriculum. Each provider is permitted flexibility in how they choose to deliver the curriculum.
    Does every UPK provider have to run an identical program?
    No. Specific teachers, lessons, and special events will vary by location. However, any UPK provider selected by the Cornwall Central School District must adhere to state and local standards.
    Is transportation provided?
    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. The grant pays 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 your child regularly does not attend school, or if you regularly do not get your child to school on time or regularly pick them up early, it may jeopardize your child’s continued enrollment in the UPK program.
    Is lunch provided in the program?
    Students should bring lunch to school with them each day.
    Does my child need to be potty trained?
    Yes. If you have not already started to potty train your child, we highly recommend you search the internet for the PDF of the eBook “3 Day Potty Training” by Lora Jensen. There may be a fee to purchase or download this file/eBook.
    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 Cornwall 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 Cornwall 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 feeds 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 program?
    Yes. Please contact the prekindergarten provider directly that you are interested in to enroll and pay for your child to attend at their school.
    Are there any class size limits for UPK?
    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.