Resources for Boston UPK Families & Partners
Boston UPK Family Newsletter
Introduction to UPK
If you are a parent or caregiver of a current UPK student at a community provider and were unable to attend the Open House on November 10, 2022, you can find an Introduction Video below. The video, shown during the Open House event, provides an introduction to some of the Boston Universal Pre-K leadership and staff at Boston Public Schools. The video gives an overview of the Boston UPK program and benefits available to your family - which include workshops hosted by BPS and partner organizations, leadership opportunities, and priority registration for your child in BPS K2 through the Connector System.
Boston UPK Year in Review
Learn about enrollment growth and continued expansion of Boston Universal Pre-K in the 2021-2022 Year in Review, which can be found below:
English (additional languages coming soon)
Special Education, Related Services and Behavioral Health for UPK Children
The Boston Universal Pre-K Special Education team includes service provider staff in the following roles who provide assessments and services for UPK children on site at provider facilities: special education liaison, behavioral health services liaison, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, school psychologist, social worker, and family partner.
If your child has an identified disability or Individualized Education Program (IEP), please notify your UPK provider to coordinate support.
Boston UPK Screening and Support
If a parent or caregiver of a current UPK student has a concern about a child’s development or behavior, please contact staff at the provider to coordinate a screening assessment or other support. A child should be provided 4-5 weeks to acclimate to their new classroom and routines at the start of the school year before a screening is conducted.
When a family and/or teaching team has expressed concern, A UPK service provider (occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, school psychologist, or social worker) will visit the site for observation and assessment as appropriate. The provider will observe the child in the early education setting, and depending on the type of concern, a Related Services provider may conduct a formal screening, or a behavioral health provider may recommend that a student participate in short-term counseling services individually and/or in a small group.The service provider will communicate with the site-based staff and families of children regarding how long an intervention will last and what recommendations will be made for continued progress after counseling services are discontinued.
The UPK service provider will compile findings and recommendations which result in a recommended course of action, such as: 1) The child is deemed to need no further testing or support at the current time, 2) the provider will recommend strategies and support which may include individual/small group intervention and follow-up with the child’s UPK teaching team in 4-5 weeks, or 3) the provider recommends immediate special education testing of the child to better assess their needs, which will take place through Boston Public Schools Welcome Services.
Therapy services available on site at UPK community providers through BPS include occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and counseling. Other supports are available off site at Boston Public Schools locations.
Another course of action a family can take if a child is suspected of having a disability, or if your family is not currently participating in Boston Universal Pre-K/Boston Public Schools and is three or four years old, is to have the child screened through Child Find. Child Find requires school districts to identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities. These screenings are for 3- and 4-year-old children who are Boston residents and not presently attending Boston Public Schools. For information on dates of annual Child Find screenings, contact the BPS Office of Special Education at email@example.com or 617-635-8873.
Boston UPK can provide crisis support to individual students, an entire classroom or an entire site, as as single/one-off supports or ongoing services in the event of an unexpected death, dangerous behavior, community violence, or a severe winter storm.
Parents and caregivers have the option to opt into this support at their child's UPK site and are provided this option in the SchoolMint enrollment platform. If your child is in need of crisis support or if you are unsure if you opted into this support, please contact your UPK provider.
Boston Universal Pre-K provides workshops for parents and caregivers on topics of accessing special education services; proactively teaching social, emotional, and behavioral skills; and responding to challenging behavior when it occurs. Information on these workshops is included in the UPK Family Newsletter which is sent to your UPK program’s family engagement coordinator (FEC). If you are not receiving the UPK Family Newsletter via email from your FEC, please contact them to request to receive it each month.
Boston UPK service providers in Related Services and Behavioral Health contribute to the monthly UPK Family Newsletter for parents and caregivers and write articles on special education resources, behavioral health (i.e. behavior support, self regulation), speech and occupational therapy activities that can be done at home, and other topics including wellness and community resources for families. Find copies of past Family Newsletters in a Google Drive folder here.
Health and safety protocols:
All Boston UPK community providers are following COVID-19 health and safety protocols from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). Recent recommendations from EEC can be found here.
COVID-19 Parenting Resources:
- Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
- Parenting During COVID-19 (Psychology Today)
- 24 At-Home Learning Activities to Share with Parents of Young Children (Brookes Blog)
Helpful Links for Families