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The Riverhead Central School District has received a $600,000 grant to expand its pre-kindergarten programs.

The Riverhead Central School District currently enrolls 251 students in pre-K for half a day, according to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christine Tona. The grant allows the district to increase that number by 60 students in the 2022-23 school year, and allow those 60 students to be in the program for a full day, Tona said. 

The grant is a part of a $13.36 million State Education Department program to expand universal pre-K. The funds may be used during the 2021-22 or 2022-23 school years.

Tona said the district will most likely hold a lottery for the slots. “We anticipate greater than 60 people being interested in a full-day program,” she said. “Those details will be forthcoming as we approach pre-kindergarten registration, which starts in February.”

“The district is truly excited to be named a recipient of the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant,” Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said in a press release. “Through this grant the district will be able to effectively expand our pre-K program and provide opportunities to more students in the Riverhead community.”

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]