Thursday, March 15, 2012

Community Demands Full Day Pre-K as Part of $150 Million Columbia Deal

Community Demands Full Day Pre-K as Part of $150 Million Columbia Deal Updated March 15, 2012 9:04am

HARLEM — Parents and members of a West Harlem community board are lobbying for the new Teachers College Elementary School to offer full day pre-K in the fall after administrators announced it would instead have two half-day sessions serving a total of 36 students.

The pre-K was promised as part of a $150 million community benefits agreement with Columbia University which is building a new $6.3 billion West Harlem campus on 17 acres of land from West 129th to West 133rd streets, between Broadway and 12 Avenue.

But half-day sessions would throw too many obstacles at working parents who need to make arrangements for their kids to be picked up, and may hinder the West Harlem community from benefiting from the school by discouraging applicants, Community Board 9 said.

"The research shows full day pre-K is more effective," said Joe Rogers Jr., chair of CB 9's Youth and Education Committee.

"If we don't have a proper start with full day pre-K, we are getting off on the wrong foot," said board member Judith Insell.

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