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NEWS RELEASE: UTK Pre-Enrollment Opens

NEWS RELEASE: UTK Pre-Enrollment Opens at San Diego Unified
Posted on 05/02/2022


News Release

Universal Transitional Kindergarten Pre-Enrollment Opens at San Diego Unified

Pre-enrollment runs through May 20

May 2, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) will be offered for the first time at all San Diego Unified School District Elementary and K-8 schools beginning this fall.

“This new program is a phenomenal opportunity for San Diego Unified families,” said Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson. “Providing free, universal preschool for 4-year-old children certainly helps our families but I’m really excited about what it does for our students – it will prepare them for kindergarten and lay the foundation for future growth and development.”

Students must be 4 years old by Sept. 1 to be eligible for UTK. Children who turn 5 years old on or by Sept.1 are age-eligible for kindergarten and will not be enrolled in UTK.

Pre-enrollment to UTK is required and runs through May 20. Pre-enrollment will be offered to families who live within the San Diego Unified School District boundaries. An online pre-enrollment link will go live May 2 and can be found on the district’s website. Parents can also contact their neighborhood school for enrollment assistance.


Each school has space limitations; therefore, enrollment at a family’s neighborhood school is not guaranteed. If there is a lack of space available at family’s school of residence, they will be offered enrollment at the next closest school with space available. UTK will not be offered at the Language Academy, Logan Memorial Education Campus, Mt Everest, or the Virtual Academy. 

Public schools across the region and state will offer similar programs this fall. Championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and many state lawmakers, California’s new $2.7 billion universal transitional kindergarten program is being hailed by many experts as a game-changer for families in a state with almost 3 million children under the age of 5, according to EdSource.

This expansion of the current TK program will create more equity in early education, many experts say. Increasing access to preschool may be one of the keys to closing the achievement gap, they say, since about 90% of brain growth happens before kindergarten. 

“There is reason to believe that the benefits last far beyond kindergarten—middle school students who attended Oklahoma’s Pre-K program, which uses the same school-based model as TK, have higher math scores, are more likely to enroll in honors classes, and are less likely to be held back a grade than students who did not attend the Pre-K program,” according to Early Edge California. “The benefits of TK may be especially impactful for children of color. According to the Getting Down to Facts II report, a large part of the achievement gap in academic success experienced by children of color in California would be erased by greater access to high-quality Pre-K programs, such as TK.”

At San Diego Unified, UTK will be held with a full day schedule aligned to the elementary school site, said Stephanie Ceminsky, Director of Early Learning and Development Programs.

“Providing all children access to a high-quality preschool program, regardless of their family’s income, is a game-changer,” Ceminsky said. “We know early childhood education plays a key role in a children’s learning journey, which is among the reasons why all of us at San Diego Unified are thrilled to introduce this new program to our neighborhood schools. We will see the benefits of this investment in our children for decades to come.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Communications Director Maureen Magee, [email protected]