OEL News and FAQs

From the New York State Education Department Office of Early Learning 

November 2022

  • 2022-2023 Guidance on Reporting Students in SIRS
  • PreK FAQs
  • Anti-Bias Education and Holidays: Making Thoughtful Decisions
  • Helping Children Through Difficult Times
  • Helpful Resources/Professional Development

2022-2023 Guidance on Reporting Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) and Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten (SUFDPK) Students in SIRS

The Student Information Repository System (SIRS) currently includes two PreK program codes:

902 for Universal Pre-K and 990 for “Other” Pre-K.

In 2022-2023, SIRS does not provide a distinct code for the Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten (SUFDPK). We will be collecting additional necessary data pertaining to child enrollment counts for SUFDPK through the SED Monitoring and Vendor Performance System (MVPS) on NYSED’s Application Business Portal. Information and guidance regarding this process will be forthcoming in a separate field memo.

Find a chart with instructions for reporting prekindergarten students here.

Program Design FAQs

Common questions and answers regarding PreK Program Design

Q:  What Laws and Regulations are associated with Universal Prekindergarten (UPK)? 

A:  Education Law 3602-e and Commissioner’s Regulations Subpart 151-1 (8 NYCRR 151-1) oversee all state-administered universal prekindergarten programs in New York.

Q:  Can summer months be included as part of the “180 days per year” requirement?

A:  UPK programs starting at the beginning of the school year and reporting their student count on the October BEDS date must operate for a minimum of 180 days during the school year. By law, “school year” is defined as July 1st through June 30th. As part of 8 NYCRR 151-1.4(b), a district may operate a summer program during the months of July and August only upon demonstrating to the Commissioner’s satisfaction that the school district is unable to operate a program during the regular school session because of a lack of available space in both district buildings and eligible agencies.

Q: Does operating only during the summer months have an impact on our funding?  

A:  As part of 8 NYCRR 151-1.4(b), when a school district operates a summer only program, the aid per prekindergarten pupil shall be reduced by 1/180th for each day less than 180 days that the summer program is in session.  

Q: Can a district start a program “mid-year”?  

A: Districts implementing state-funded programs for the first time or who have been awarded expansion slots may operate a minimum of 90 days, provided that in such instances the aid per prekindergarten pupil shall be reduced by 1/180th for each day less than 180 days that such program or expansion slots are in session.  

Q: What are the hour requirements for a half-day and full-day program?

A: A half-day program must operate for a minimum of 2.5 hours a day for 5 days a week for at least 180 days. A full-day program must operate for a minimum of 5 hours a day for 5 days a week for at least 180 days.  

Q: Is mealtime (lunch) counted towards the instructional hours in the day? 

A:  Mealtime is an important part of a young child’s development and can include many learning experiences. Mealtime can provide a natural environment for young learners to share in conversations that build language skills and develop relationships with peers and adults. If the program chooses to include mealtime as part of the instructional day, it should be a positive experience for each child and must include meaningful adult-child interactions and opportunities for learning. The Office of Early Learning looks carefully at mealtime when conducting on-site visitations to justify this time being included as part of the instructional day. 

Q: Is nap time required for children who attend a full-day prekindergarten program?  

A: While not required, NYSED’s Office of Early Learning suggests that all programs serving prekindergarten students in a full-day program provide a regularly scheduled nap or rest time. During this time, students are encouraged to rest, relax, and nap. Quiet activities should be planned for students who do not wish to nap. Nap time is not considered part of the instructional day.  

Q: Do Superintendent Conference Days count toward the minimum 180 days?

A:  Yes. The days for UPK are calculated in the same manner as for the district’s K-12 program.


Anti-Bias Education and Holidays:

Making Thoughtful Decisions

In a 2019 blog post, NAEYC reminds us that acknowledging or celebrating holidays in early childhood programs can bring pleasure to many families, staff, and children and can be useful in building connections between school and families. This resource supports our state-wide efforts in ensuring that we are culturally responsive to our students and families.

Read More - Anti-Bias Education and Holidays: Making Thoughtful Decisions

Helping Children Through Difficult Times

This presentation provides professional development for guiding and supporting early learners and the professionals who serve them through trauma.

View the Presentation Here

Helpful Resources/Professional Development:

Jason Breslin, NBCT, Director, Office of Early Learning

Lori Smart, Supervisor

Tanya Amodio-Kovacs, Samantha Chobot,

Carly Feldman, Eric Feml-Nelsen,

Jason Gish, Christine Lyons,

Brandon Orszulak, Tina Rose-Turriglio,

Michelle Sidoti, Zachary Snyder