Board OKs additional preschool classes
The demand for public preschool in Henrico County has grown so fast that the waiting list for the county’s program – more than 500 students – nearly exceeds the number of students being served by it.
But some help is on the way.
The Henrico School Board voted unanimously at its Jan. 13 meeting to add eight preschool classes (144 students) beginning this fall.
Its vote authorized the inclusion of $283,000 in its 2011-12 budget to help hire eight teachers and eight assistants; matching funds will come from the Virginia Preschool Initiative.
It’s unknown where those eight classes will be located. They could all be placed at the New Bridge School in Eastern Henrico or spread across several schools in the county. Officials also are considering leasing space at the new Children’s Museum of Richmond location at West Broad Village in Short Pump, among other spots.
“Our preschool staff is always looking for opportunities for space,” said Gail Jones, the school system’s federal programs coordinator.
Henrico’s preschool program currently serves students in 30 classes at 22 schools countywide, and Jones expects more than 1,000 students to register for the 2011-12 school year. The school system received 245 calls about the program on Jan. 12 alone, she said.
Three Chopt District School Board member Diana Winston praised the preschool program as an effective way to instill proper conduct, discipline and ideals in youngsters.
“We’re going to impact our overall graduation rates, and schools will definitely improve because of it,” she said.
Jones concurred, telling the board that the schools that have had preschool programs for several years have seen the difference it makes and many now want to add more classes.
Winston suggested that the school system consider using space at Short Pump Middle School for the new classes, since that school has only 800 students and plenty of vacant space since the opening of Holman Middle School last fall.
Varina District representative John Montgomery suggested the Mathetmatics and Science Center – operated jointly with seven other school districts – as a possibility, and Tuckahoe District representative Lisa Marshall suggested incorporating students from the teaching center at Glen Allen High School into the preschool program.
On June 13, the Short Pump Rotary Club partnered with Schnabel Engineering for a day of volunteer work with Rebuilding Together Richmond. Team members (among them [from left] Chris Rufe, Melissa Abraham, Rick Naschold, and Micky Ogburn) completed a variety of repairs and home improvements ranging from painting and landscaping to cabinet installation and fence building.
“It was a privilege to be involved in this project," said club president Melissa Abraham. "The homeowner kept thanking the volunteers, but I think all of us would agree we are the ones who actually benefited. It was an opportunity to help a community member, fellowship with great people and improve our handyman skills." > Read more.
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ is a magnificent, emotional ride
Explaining the nuts and bolts of Pixar’s new, exciting, innovative Inside Out – really digging into the film’s shape-and-color explanation of the human mind – would take up the entirety of this review. And probably three or four more (if movies had instruction manuals, Inside Out’s would be the size and general poundage of a cinder block).
It’s a complicated movie. So here’s the gist, in as simply-put terms can be. > Read more.
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