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Violations addressed, Clifton Park preschool cleared to operate by state

Violations addressed, Clifton Park preschool cleared to operate by state

Bilingual Genius Academy currently serves 35 students
Violations addressed, Clifton Park preschool cleared to operate by state
A summer program at the Bilingual Genius Academy in Clifton Park on July 3, 2017.
Photographer: Erica Miller

A Clifton Park-based preschool is no longer at risk for losing its state operating license following a string of reported violations through the beginning of this year. 

According to the state Office of Children and Family Services, the Bilingual Genius Academy has addressed all cited violations and has been given the all-clear. 

In January, the OCFS database listed Moe Road preschool's license as "pending revocation" due to numerous violations over a period of two years, with the most recent being cited earlier that month. 

A "pending revocation" status can mean one of two things: that the case is awaiting a final decision by an administrative law judge or court, or that a hearing or other settlement to resolve the enforcement actions agreed upon by both the state and the school has not yet taken place. Schools waiting for a revocation decision are allowed to operate until a decision is made. 

The majority of the violations reported between 2018 and early 2019 were issued over the lack of appropriate student supervision. For example, a violation from Jan. 8 stated that children were left without the necessary supervision. 

Courtney Cioffi, who has been serving as Bilingual Genius Academy's new director since March, said that the staff began working with the state to make sure all of the violations were addressed. She also confirmed that the preschool has been operating since January. 

Jeanette Savastano, the preschool's acting director, took over for its prior owner, Katy Mejia, in January to begin addressing the violations, Cioffi said, adding that Meija is no longer involved with the school. Savastano has since returned to work for the Academy's licensor, Genius Plaza.

"Everything has been corrected. All of the violations have been corrected. The state came for a visit in March, and found nothing wrong. We're now able to take on new children," Cioffi said.

She confirmed that the state had officially removed the academy's "pending revocation" status in June. The preschool has also been added back to the state's child care and day care referral lists after being removed in January. 

Bilingual Genius Academy, which opened in July 2015, currently serves 35 students ranging in age from infants to preschoolers. The school's maximum capacity is 62, Cioffi said.

According to its website, the academy is a "student-centered educational center that incorporates both English and Spanish into its curriculum."

Programs offered, also according to the website, include bilingual programs for 2- to 5-year-old students, and a bilingual kindergarten program. Tuition for the programs was not available. Programs offered at the academy will not change under the new administration, Cioffi said.

New staff members have also been brought on to work at the school, she added.

OCFS records confirm that the school received no violations during the state's most recent visit on March 14. All of the school's violations, dating back to July 2017, have been categorized as "corrected" by the state.

"The Office of Children and Family Services withdrew its effort to revoke the license of Bilingual Genius Academy once the provider met our directives to replace its director and require the new director to conduct weekly classroom observations, complete additional training for all staff, increase staffing, implement an OCFS-approved supervision policy, staff each classroom with qualified providers and assistants and pay a $3,500 fine. OCFS will continue to monitor the program," said Craig Smith, OCFS spokesman.

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