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.
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.
The Innsbrook Rotary Club, which is celebrating its 25th year in 2015, has completed a number of volunteer projects this year and raised thousands of dollars for various organizations through three events.
The club's annual rose sale, benefit for youth live auction and Virginia Fire Games competition, combined with individual and corporate donations, have raised nearly $70,000 – money that the club contributes back to the community.
FeedMore is the beneficiary of the club's 25th anniversary project, which provides refrigerated trailers to be used for the distribution of food throughout Central Virginia. > Read more.
Chef Bryan Voltaggio will host a special three-course dinner event July 21-22 at his Willow Lawn Family Meal restaurant. The menu will consist of his favorite dishes and offer diners the chance to purchase a signed copy of his newly released book, HOME.
Voltaggio will attend and cook at each dinner, as well as share stories that inspired recipes for the book. > Read more.
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CalendarInnsbrook After Hours will present country music artist Corey Smith at 6 p.m. Smith’s 10th album, “While the Gettin’ is Good,” was funded by fans through Kickstarter. Gates open at… Full text