With pre-K applications almost due, parents’ phones keep ringing
Phone headsets on, color-coded maps pulled up on their computers, and coffee by their sides, the city’s 30 or so pre-kindergarten outreach workers were in overdrive early Thursday: They had less than 37 hours before pre-K applications were due.
With names culled from birth records, public child-care centers, and responses to robocalls, the workers have already dialed up more than 135,000 parents of four-year-olds to encourage them to apply for free pre-K. Other days, they ventured from their fifth-floor office in a nondescript building overlooking City Hall out to playgrounds, laundromats, and hair salons across the city to pitch parents on the importance of pre-K.
Their work has paid off. By noon Thursday, they had helped convince 64,785 parents to apply for full-day pre-K slots, officials said, making the city likely to meet its goal of getting 70,000 children enrolled well before school starts in September.
While families will still be able to apply after Friday night, officials are emphasizing the deadline since it will help the city plan and give parents the best chance of securing a spot at their top-ranked pre-K sites. So to spur the workers toward the finish line, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery stopped by the “war room” Thursday to deliver pep talks.