Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK)

The South Colonie Central School District offers a Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program at Saddlewood and Roessleville elementary schools. 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. No bus transportation is provided.

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 is a half-day (2 ½ hour) program that follows the normal school year calendar and is offered at no cost to residents of the South Colonie Central School District.

UPK Lottery Information for the 2023-24 school year

Children are chosen for the program through a random lottery held in the spring of the previous school year. 

    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 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.

    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.