Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK)

The South Colonie Central School District offers a Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program at Saddlewood and Roessleville elementary schools.

The 2023-24 budget includes two full-day UPK classrooms at Forest Park and Veeder Elementary schools.

Half-day consists of (2 ½ hours) of programming and full-day will consist of five hours of programming. Both programs will have a staggered start time in comparison to the K-4 school day, to avoid traffic congestion. Please note transportation is not provided for either program.

The half-day program currently has the capacity for 144 students. The anticipated addition of the full-day program will allow for an additional 36 students, bringing  UPK opportunities to a total of 180 South Colonie students. 

Children are chosen for the program through a random lottery held the spring of the previous school year. All parents must register their students for the lottery to be eligible for UPK. 

The UPK program is funded in part by a grant provided by New York state with the remaining funds provided by the school district’s general fund.

UPK Lottery Information for the 2023-24 school year

The Universal Pre-K Lottery is a fair and transparent system designed to ensure equal access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education for all children. 

View lottery numbers here. 

Please note that the numbers are read left to right.  The first 36 numbers listed in yellow have first right of refusal for the UPK full-day program.

Please notify Janice Johnson at johnsonj@scolonie.org by Monday, June 5 to confirm your full-day placement in the program.  

Beginning, Tuesday, June 6 those the open spots will be offered to the students next in line sequentially. 

UPK Openings During the School Year

Parents with students of this eligible age group may apply for the UPK program during the course of the school year, as sometimes openings are created by exiting students.  Additionally, even if an opening does not exist at this time, students may be placed on a waiting list in which they would be contacted when an opening occurs. For more information, please contact South Colonie Pupil Services at 518-869-6759.

Registration Checklist

Parents are encouraged to make an appointment to register their child and should bring the following documents:

    • Your child’s original birth certificate
    • Immunization records
    • (3) proofs of the parent/guardian residency
    • Completed Universal Pre-K application (posted to this page)
    • IF APPLICABLE – Custody paperwork
    • IF APPLICABLE – Affidavit if they do not own or lease their own residency

Commonly Asked Questions about the UPK Program

What is the Universal Pre-K Program?

The New York State Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program (UPK) is a state and district-funded program that provides educationally-based, high-quality pre-kindergarten to four-year-old children. The program is free to all eligible children. UPK provides developmentally appropriate activities to help four-year-olds prepare for Kindergarten. As our state’s school standards and expectations become more rigorous, making sure young children enter school with basic skills in place is critical for success. All UPK classes are taught by New York State certified teachers.

What activities are involved in the UPK Program?

    • Reading readiness and early literacy development
    • Exposure to literature, both fiction and non-fiction
    • Math skills
    • Science lessons and discovery
    • Social skills
    • Self-help skills
    • Large motor activities
    • Fine motor activities
    • Music, dance, library and art

Who is eligible for UPK?

UPK is open to children residing in the school district who are four  years old on or before December 1 of the current school year. Income eligibility is not a factor, and all families are encouraged to apply. Admittance is through a lottery drawing held in May.

Where are the classes located and what are the hours of operation?

UPK follows the South Colonie school calendar and runs Monday through Friday.

The  half day program is 2 ½ hours long. The morning session runs approximately from 8:45 to  11:15 a.m., and the afternoon session runs from 12:15 to 2:45 p.m. Presently, the program is located at two schools: Saddlewood Elementary School and Roessleville Elementary School.

If voters approve the 2023-24 school budget in May, South Colonie will begin to offer full-day UPK programming at both Forest Park and Veeder Elementary Schools. The session will run from approximately 8:45 a.m. to 2:45. p.m.

Pending RFPs with collaborating community based programs, additional spots may become available, but that will not be known until mid June. 

Who oversees the UPK Program?

The Office of Student Support Services oversees the program. Questions should be directed to the District Registrar at 518 869-3576.

Is transportation provided for my child?

No transportation is provided for this program. Parents/guardians are responsible for getting their students to and from the program.

If I call right away, will I be guaranteed a spot for my child?

No. The district does not have a first-come, first-served registration list. Student placement will be determined through the use of a lottery system in May. Please keep in mind that while the district would like to accommodate all requests, it is possible that not all children who register will get into the program. This is based upon the overall numbers compared to actual slots that are available. Registration is only held from January to May.

How will I be notified that my child was selected for the program?

The district will mail acceptance letters to all families who are selected for the program. At that point, you will receive additional paperwork and important documentation that will need to be returned to the Office of Student Support Services at Lisha Kill Middle School, 68 Waterman Avenue, Albany, NY 12205 by June 2, 2023, to confirm your interest in the program.

What happens if I am not selected for the program?

If your lottery number is not chosen, you will automatically be placed on a waiting list in the order the numbers are listed.

When can we learn more about the program?

Both selected and wait-listed families are invited to the parent informational meeting which is typically held in June.  More details will follow once the date for the meeting has been finalized.