Frequently Asked Questions about UPK

  • Orchard Park Central School District Universal Pre-Kindergarten

    Who is eligible?
    For the 2022-2023 UPK school year, children who reside in the Orchard Park Central School District attendance area with birthdays between December 2, 2017 and December 1, 2018 are eligible to apply for the program.

    Where is the program located?
    The Orchard Park Central School District partners with local preschool providers, known as community-based preschool school organizations, for the program.   For the 2021-2022 school year, the program is being held at the following preschool sites in Orchard Park: the four elementary schools in our district; Eggert Elementary, Ellicott Elementary, South Davis Elementary and Windom Elementary along with local preschool providers; EduKids and the Southtowns YMCA.   For the 2021-2022 school year we offered over 160 UPK placements.  This included some half day placements (2.5 hours a day, Monday - Friday) and some full day placements (5.5 hours a day, Monday - Friday).  UPK sites for the 2022-2023 school year have yet to be determined.  

    How are community-based preschool partners selected?
    The Orchard Park Central School District is committed to partnering with high-quality preschool providers.  Interested preschool providers undergo an extensive application process, outlining curriculum (literacy development, character development, fine & gross motor development, etc), ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities, and opportunities for parental involvement.  A site visitation is conducted, ensuring the facility meets expectations including safety, furniture & equipment, opportunity for outdoor play and literacy resources. Throughout the school year, site visitations are conducted on an on-going basis. 

    What are the obligations to families (cost, transportation, etc)?
    There is no cost for the program.  The program is paid for through a Universal Pre-Kindergarten grant.  Unfortunately, however, transportation is not included in the scope of the grant.  Transportation is the obligation of families.

    How are children selected for the program?
    If more children apply than there are available openings, there is a computerized “lottery.”  Anyone who has completed registration by March 4, 2022 will be eligible for the lottery.  Children are randomly selected for the program.  Selection is not based on academic or economic need.  All children are equally eligible for participation.  Registering for the UPK program does not guarantee you a placement.  

    Can I choose the preschool site that my child attends?
    Once UPK sites are selected, families who apply for the program will be surveyed, allowing them to rank their preferences for the preschool site they wish their child to attend.  If for any reason a family not satisfied with their selected preschool site after the lottery and wish to withdraw their child from that placement, they can be placed on a waiting list for a different site.  Should an opening later be available at their site of choice, they will be contacted.

    Is there wrap around care available at each UPK site? 
    Wrap around care may be available at a particular site for an additional fee based on availability.  The wrap around program is offered by our community partners and are not provided by the Orchard Park School District.   During the 2021-2022 school year, the Southtowns YMCA provided the wrap around care at the four district elementary UPK sites (Eggert, Ellicott, South Davis and Windom).  In addition, the EduKids UPK program offered wrap around care at their facility.  Currently it is unknown what wrap care may be available during the 2022-2023 school year.  

    What is the timeline?
    Applications are accepted from December 1, 2021 - March 4, 2022 for the following school year.  Completed applications, including all necessary registration documentation are due by March 4, 2022.  As soon as the school district is notified of the grant funding, we notify families as soon as possible regarding their UPK placement.  Historically the lottery is held in mid March each year.  

    How do I apply?
    The following are required for consideration to the program and all documents must completed and submitted by March 4th.  
           Complete Online Registration Form*
           Completed Home Language Questionnaire*
           Proof of residency (two recent, valid forms are necessary)
           Birth certificate for your child
           Vaccination records

    More Questions?
    Should you have any further questions, please contact: 

    UPK Program Questions Amy Woodward (716) 209-6440 or awoodward@opschools.org 
    Registration Questions the Central Registrar at (716) 209-6325 or registrar@opschools.org