State Pre-K Program Adds 320 New Seats

Article-RIDE Press Release

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), in partnership with Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Department of Human Services, announced today that 320 new seats will be open in state-funded pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) programs across the state this fall. While many of the new seats will be filled by selected families from the already completed first lottery, a second lottery is now open for families in Coventry, Warren, and Woonsocket. Parents and families must submit their applications by July 31, 2019, in order to be considered for one of the free, available seats.

“Our Pre-K program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, and I’m encouraged that hundreds more children will now have the opportunity for a strong start,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “This is noteworthy progress toward our ultimate goal of making Pre-K available to every family who wants it. It’s clear that kids who attend Pre-K are more likely to read at grade level, graduate high school, and get a good job. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to expand the program even further in the future.”

“I have seen first-hand how valuable Pre-K learning experiences are for students, and I am encouraged to see even more families take advantage of that opportunity in the upcoming school year,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “As we work across the entire state to improve educational outcomes, we need to do all we can to expand opportunity and access for all learners – no matter where they live. This is a step in the right direction.”

“Pre-K is part of something fundamental that we all want for our children – the best possible chance at a happy and successful life. Regardless of financial barriers, more families across Rhode Island will now have access to this invaluable educational resource,” said Courtney E. Hawkins, Director of the Department of Human Services. “Pre-K establishes a foundation for lifelong learning and general appreciation for education. We look forward to seeing how this vital initiative will benefit this year’s class of Pre-K students and future generations of Rhode Islanders.”

In Governor Raimondo’s proposed budget, she requested additional funding to begin scaling up to universal Pre-K in Rhode Island. Her original proposal was to add 540 seats in the 2019-2020 school year. The final budget approved by the General Assembly expanded the program, adding the 320 new seats and the equivalent of 18 classrooms. This brings the total Pre-K seats for the state to 1,420, with 78 classrooms in all.

New sites in new and existing Pre-K communities have been added, prompting the opening of a second lottery for interested families. Eligible families should apply by July 31, 2019, for seats in these locations:

  • Coventry: CHILD, Inc. (23 Cady Street) – 2 classrooms
  • Warren: The Children’s Workshop (410 Child Street) – 1 classroom
  • Woonsocket (Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association): Cass Park Center (350 Newland Ave) – 2 classrooms
  • Woonsocket (Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association): Pothier Elementary school (420 Robinson Street) – 2 classrooms

Lottery Details:

  • To be eligible, children must be 4 years old by September 1, 2019, and must reside within a community that hosts one of these Pre-K programs.
  • Families may apply for more than one site if multiple sites exist in their community of residence, but only one application per family will be accepted.
  • Paper applications can be picked up at any state Pre-K site within the second lottery and are due back to the eligible program by 4:00 p.m. on July 31, 2019.
  • Families can also apply online at by 4:00 p.m. on July 31, 2019. Each family will receive a confirmation number once they have completed the online application. If they do not receive an email confirmation they can call (401) 222-8184 to speak to a RIDE State Pre-K Team member.
  • Parents will be notified via email the week of August 5 if they were selected or waitlisted for a State Pre-K classroom.
  • Enrollment for selected families will take place the week of August 5, 2019. Programs will contact families to provide specific information.

In several cases, new classrooms have been added to existing sites, opening up more seats to families selected in the first lottery. These families have already been notified. These programs are:

  • Cranston: Cadence Academy (546 Budlong Road) – 2 classrooms
  • Cranston: Comprehensive Community Action Program (848 Atwood Ave.) – 6 classrooms
  • East Providence: Oldham School (60 Bart Drive) – 3 classrooms
  • Pawtucket: Pawtucket School Department, Fallon Memorial School (62 Lincoln Avenue) – 2 classrooms
  • Providence: Meeting Street (1000 Eddy Street) – 3 classrooms
  • Warwick: CHILD, Inc. (849 Centerville Road) – 2 classrooms
  • Warwick: CHILD, Inc. (160 Draper Avenue) – 3 classrooms
  • West Warwick: CHILD, Inc. (28 Payan Street) – 3 classrooms

State-funded Pre-K is fully inclusive, supporting the learning and development needs of all children. Parents of English learners and differently abled students are encouraged to enter the lottery. State-funded Pre-K programs were identified through a competitive process that evaluates the organization’s ability to provide a high-quality program. Earlier this year, Rhode Island was once again recognized as a national leader in quality Pre-K by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).

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