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Red Hook Charter School Launches Pre-K Program

By Nikhita Venugopal | May 17, 2013 11:41am | Updated on May 17, 2013 11:50am
 Pave Academy Charter School in Red Hook is starting a pre-k program as a separate nonprofit entity.
PAVE Academy Charter School Looks to Start Pre-K Program
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RED HOOK — A new pre-K program is coming to Red Hook this fall, sponsored by a local charter school.

PAVE Academy Charter School is launching three full-day pre-K classes with a total of 54 4-year-olds in September, after winning approval from the city's Office of Early Childhood Education earlier this month.

The school held a lottery for the seats in April and allowed winning pre-K families to also reserve a kindergarten spot for the following year, said Spencer Robertson, director of PAVE Academy, who started the K-8 charter school in 2008.

The pre-K program, which will be run by a separate nonprofit because charter schools are not allowed to run their own pre-K, recently applied for $453,521 in funding from the Panel for Education Policy.

Robertson had hoped to house the pre-K classes in the PAL Miccio Center, a New York City Housing Authority building that now contains a senior center and was formerly used by a Head Start program, but the school was denied use of the space, Robertson said in an email.

“We understand the decision and are now looking for an alternate space in Red Hook where the pre-K program can operate,” Robertson said.

Some local education leaders said they did not see a need for more pre-K programs in the area. While other neighborhoods in District 15, such as Sunset Park, South Slope and Park Slope, have issues with large class size and overcrowding, Red Hook has not faced that issue, said Jim Devor, president of the Community Education Council in Brooklyn's District 15.

“Frankly there is no need for pre-K space in Red Hook,” Devor said.

The Department of Education added 4,000 new pre-K seats this year to boost early childhood education throughout the city. Community-based organizations like PAVE Pre-K have an application process that is separate from pre-K application for public schools.