Asw. Solages and Sen. Martinez Secure State Funding for a Regional Pre-K Technical Assistance Center on Long Island
Long Island Pre-K initiative celebrates $475K in funding for the LI RTAC
A broad coalition of leaders, including members of the Long Island Pre-K Initiative, Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, State Senator Monica R. Martinez, Long Island’s Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), school superintendents and business officials held a press conference to celebrate the allocation of $475K in monies in the Enacted FY 2019-20 budget towards a Regional Pre-K Technical Assistance Center on Long Island. Speakers discussed their advocacy efforts, how the funding will be utilized, and the next steps toward a fully funded universal pre-K program in the region. Also in attendance were families and community leaders who have been helping to lead the efforts of this grassroots campaign.
Long Island’s RTAC will bolster New York’s existing investments in pre-K, and ensure successful expansion and efficient use of any new funding for universal pre-K for all Long Island children. Moreover, the RTAC will implement best practices, tether pre-K and early childhood education community programs to the K through 12 educational system, and serve as a model for New York State.
“The new Regional Pre-K Technical Assistance Center will provide guidance to organizations and schools districts planning to start, expand or improve pre-K programs on Long Island. We will provide services such as workshops, coaching, and mentoring for teachers and administrators in developmentally appropriate instruction, family engagement and community collaborations," said Lucinda Hurley, coordinator The Long Island Pre-K Initiative.
The Long Island Pre-K Initiative is a grant-funded program that has been strengthening partnerships between school districts and community-based organizations. It is administered by Nassau BOCES, and is a joint effort of the region’s BOCES networks and two child care councils.
"Children need safe, stimulating and nurturing environments in order to support healthy brain development and lay the foundation for lifelong learning and overall well-being. I am excited to announce that the New York State FY 2019-20 Budget included monies for a Long Island Pre-K Regional Technical Assistance Center. This incentive will strengthen the coordination of early childhood education,” said Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages. “ Pre-K is critical to ensuring that all children have an equitable start and it saves money in both the short and long-term by significantly reducing achievement gaps. The Regional Technical Center is a positive step forward in ensuring school readiness as well as build a workforce pipeline and improve health outcomes.
"In order to pave the way for a prosperous future for our children, we must make pre-kindergarten programs available and accessible to all. I am proud to have fought for and secured $250,000 to fund the Long Island’s Pre-K Regional Technical Center, which will provide professional development for both teachers and administrators, and provide them with the necessary tools to foster a healthy and productive learning environment. I will continue to fight for the needs of the Third Senatorial district, especially when it comes to our children and their future. I would like to commend Assemblywoman Solages for her advocacy and I look forward to our continued partnership moving forward." said Senator Monica R. Martinez.
Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association, said, “The LIA supports making child care and early education more affordable and accessible to all working families on Long Island, which is necessary to create additional economic development opportunities and the retention of more young professionals and families, and thus we applaud Governor Cuomo, Senator Martinez and Assemblywoman Solages for securing $475,000 for a regional technical assistance center for Long Island.”
“The debate about whether early intervention makes the critical difference for any child’s educational success is over. All children are entitled to a complete high quality public education starting in pre-kindergarten through graduation from high school,” stated Dr. Constance D. Evelyn Superintendent of Schools Valley Stream 13.
“All children should have access to full-day pre-k like my daughter Aniyah did. She has blossomed both socially and academically and is now kindergarten ready. Part of Aniyah's success was because of the ongoing communication between myself and her teachers." stated Sara Morrison- parent leader with Family Leadership Network at Choice for All.
These programs also represent an effective and essential investment in a region’s economic development. For suburban areas, like Nassau and Suffolk County, funding for pre-K programs and technical assistance is vital for economic sustainability.