Tonawanda News

Local News

May 21, 2008

SCHOOLS: Tonawanda expands universal pre-k program

Parents of young children in the City of Tonawanda will be happy to know that the school district is offering a few new options as part of its universal pre-kindergarten program this year.

First, Tonawanda is expanding the program to Fletcher Elementary School to cover both ends of the city. Before this year, universal pre-k was held only at Mullen School.

The program’s expansion has been in the works for several years, Fletcher Principal Susan D’Angelo said. Offering pre-k at Fletcher as well will particularly benefit parents and students near that school and nearby Riverview Elementary, she said, adding that it will ease Fletcher students’ transition into kindergarten classes.

In addition to expanding pre-k, Tonawanda is providing more options for special needs students and has partnered with Child’s Creative Development Center on Delaware Street. A limited number of spots are available for children to attend pre-k at the center and stay there for day care services.

“I’m very excited about being able to offer so many different programs to the residents of Tonawanda,” D’Angelo said.

Universal pre-k is being offered in morning and afternoon sessions, and the program coincides with the district’s calendar. Children must be age 4 on or before Dec. 1 to attend universal pre-k, and must not be eligible for kindergarten this September.

With more stringent state assessments, “a quality pre-k experience is very important for children these days to meet the new standards,” said Mullen Principal John McKenna. “There’s definitely a difference. The kindergarten teachers can tell.”

Universal pre-k applications are available at each elementary school, the Board of Education Office at 202 Broad St., and at the City of Tonawanda Public Library on Main Street. The application deadline is June 6. For more information, call McKenna at 694-6805 or D’Angelo at 694-7694.

Contact reporter David J. Hill at 693-1000, ext. 115.

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