Mayor Walsh Announces Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee
Seeks to Double Enrollment of Four-Year-Olds in Pre-K Programs by 2018
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For Immediate Release
May 06, 2014
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

BOSTON – Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the formation of a Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee to recommend a city-wide strategic framework and action plan to double the enrollment of four-year-olds in high quality, full-day pre-kindergarten programs by 2018. Access to full-day pre-kindergarten with a certified teacher in a Boston Public School or in a community-based program is part of the city’s multi-year effort to improve the achievement of all Boston students and close the achievement gap by grade three. 

“Pre-kindergarten programs ensure that all students start kindergarten ready to learn,” said Mayor Walsh. “Rather than spend time on remediation in education, we are investing in our youngest students to lay the groundwork for their long-term success and the long-term prosperity of Boston.”

To create the framework and action plan for the expansion of full-day pre-kindergarten programs, the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee will look at many factors including class space requirements, teacher qualifications, funding requirements, and potential partnerships for before school, after school, and summer wrap-around services. Thrive in 5, a partnership between the Mayor's Office and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and other community partners will conduct a series of stakeholder focus groups across Boston, and offer online surveys to gather input about the strengths and needs of all of the City’s neighborhoods for high-quality pre-kindergarten. The Advisory Committee will make its recommendations for a mixed delivery system to Major Walsh in November 2014.

There are approximately 6,000 four-year-olds living in Boston, and the population of four-year-olds is projected to grow to as many as 8,000 by 2030. Currently, approximately one-third of all four-year-olds (2,200) are in the nationally-recognized Boston Public School Pre-Kindergarten (K1) Program, while others attend community-based private programs. An estimated 25 percent of all Boston four-year-olds do not attend a pre-kindergarten program. Mayor Walsh’s FY15 budget adds over 100 K1 seats for four-year-olds.

Research on early childhood programs with trained teachers and smaller teacher to student ratios have been shown to yield benefits in increased MCAS performance, academic achievement, improved behavior, prevention of delinquency and crime, and labor market success. Boston’s K1 program has demonstrated significant gains for all students in their language, literacy and mathematics development, and reduces the achievement gap significantly between students by third grade.

2014 Mayor’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee

Co- Chairs

Jeri Robinson, Vice President for Education and Family Learning, Boston Children’s Museum*

Jason Sachs, Director of Early Childhood, Boston Public Schools*


Noah Berger, President, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

Danubia Campos, Parent[NK1] 

Michelle Cannon, Parent

Sharon Scott Chandler, Executive Vice President, Action for Boston’s Community Development (ABCD)

Ana Crowley, Parent

Anne Douglass, Assistant Professor, Early Education and Care, UMass Boston 

Betsy Drinan, Co-teacher, Boston Teachers Union School

Linda Dorcena Forry, 1st Suffolk District, Massachusetts Senate

Dominique Graham, Parent

Kimberly Haskins, Senior Program Officer, Barr Foundation*

Renee Boynton Jarett, MD, ScD, Founding Director, Vital Village Community Engagement Network

John Kelly, Executive Director, East Boston Social Centers

Mary Kinsella, Vice President of Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Programs, Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester

Suzanne Lee, Boston Public School Principal (Retired)

Michael Loconto, Member, Boston School Committee

Susan McConathy, Director, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

Nejat Sirag, Parent

Todd Rainville, General Partner, Symmetric Capital

Marchelle Raynor, Director (Retired), Head Start

Ayesha Rodriguez, 0-5 Manager, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

Peg Sprague, Senior Vice President for Community Impact, United Way of Massachusetts Bay* (Thrive in 5)

Marie St. Fleur, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children

Jane Tewksbury, Esq., Executive Director, Thrive in 5* (Thrive in 5)

Robert Triest, Vice President and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Education, Wheelock College


*Steering Committee Member



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