Brewster Students May Get Even Younger

Proposal for Pre-K is on the Administrative Table


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Landscape image of an empty, nursery classroom. there is a rug in the middle of the room.

Our district has some exciting news to share.

There is the possibility of a Pre-K Program at Brewster! The idea has been discussed for quite awhile and is now being looked into by many.
The group researching this potential new program is officially known as the Pre-Kindergarten Commission, a group made up of staff, parents, and community members who have expressed interest in being involved. With Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gosh at the head of the table, plans are being put into action for the proposal of Pre-Kindergarten at Brewster. Three Commission Meetings have taken place on Zoom already: July 15th, August 25th, October 6th. While this is a very exciting proposition, there are still many, many questions that need to be answered before we can open our doors to preschool aged children. What does preschool mean for our district? How will this happen? Where will this happen? The Commission has been hard at work answering these questions for us.
In our district, Pre-K would look something like this: the preschool day will be a minimum of five instructional hours, with the Commission looking at being able to implement a 90-day program. Class sizes will not exceed 20, and we are looking at about three classes of Pre-K students. This will increase our district size to a little over 3,000 students. As some of you may have noticed, we do not currently have an empty building available on campus for 64 new little learners. The district has issued what is known as a “Request for Proposals” to eligible organizations in Brewster who may potentially be willing to share their space with us while other plans are being discussed. If no organizations are interested in this proposal, the Commission will regroup and other options will be considered.
When it comes to the funding for this new program, New York state has granted our district what is known as an allocation, a certain amount of money that we can put towards this program. Given this allocation, there are going to be a total of 64 slots open for registration when it begins. As far as teachers, one of several models that the district is looking at is where there will be a need for one lead teacher as well as two assistants per classroom, which would be a 7 to 1 student to teacher ratio. Pre-K teachers will participate in district provided professional development days such as Superintendent Conference Days, just like our high school, middle school, intermediate and elementary school teachers do. Teachers will need to have the correct certifications and qualifications in order to be considered for this job. The Commission is planning on having inclusion classes for children with disabilities and also for English language learners. Dr. Michelle Gosh mentioned that, ”This is a true lottery system, so we would provide support to the students (who) are selected based on their specific learning needs – we just need to see who would be selected before designing supports.” The thought process behind the program is that children with language barriers will be given the opportunity to achieve the same success as other participating children.
The possibility of having a Universal Pre-K Program here at Brewster is an exciting one, but is also a challenge. “We have experienced significant barriers, such as lack of space, time to get this off the ground, and funding overall,” added Dr. Gosh. Hopes are high, as several have put in many hours into researching, discussing, and planning for this program, and many are looking forward to hopefully welcoming new young learners into our district.