Mayor Lovely A. Warren convened the Early Learning Council in March 2014 in response to Governor Cuomo’s proposal to expand New York State’s pre-K program. The governor’s plan will create $1.5 billion in competitive pre-K grants and open up the program to charter schools, which had previously been ineligible for pre-K funding.
The Early Learning Council will:
- Lead a robust public discussion about the challenges and opportunities inherent in educating Rochester’s youngest and most vulnerable students.
- The Council will convene a series of public hearings, inviting parents, practitioners and early childhood experts to present feedback on the current Pre-K delivery in Rochester and explore local and national models.
- Report the status of Rochester’s current pre-K program, including current and projected enrollment, funding sources, the supply of high-quality professional development and barriers to access and expansion.
- Recommend program and policy changes to improve Rochester’s pre-K program, including concrete strategies to expand access, improve quality and increase parental choice. Final recommendations will be due to the Mayor by June 30, 2014.
- Lobby for Rochester’s fair share of federal and state pre-K funding.
- The Council will make all testimony, research and recommendations available on the City’s website
Meeting, Public Hearings and Testimony
A focus group for parents took place on Tuesday, June 10 at the Thomas P. Ryan Community Center, 530 Webster Avenue. This session was open to all city parents of prospective and former pre-K children (3 or 4 years old). The ELC will also conducted an invitation-only focus group with pre-K service providers on Monday, June 9.
Topics of discussion included::
- Defining “high-quality” pre-K
- Navigating Rochester’s pre-K choices
- Pre-K for all of our children
- Increasing pre-K parent involvement.
The ELC will incorporate the input received at the focus groups in its report to the Mayor.
The Council has also completed three public hearings and two public meetings. An additional ELC meeting was be held on June 12 at City Hall, Room 309-A, 30 Church Street.
The Council is comprised of early childhood experts, business leaders, funders, practitioners and parents.
The Council will be staffed by Allen Williams, the City of Rochester’s Director of Special Projects and Marisol O. Ramos-Lopez, the Commissioner of the Department of Recreation and Youth Services.
Early Learning Council Members