RICHMOND—As nearly 1.2 million Virginia students return school to begin a new academic year, First Lady Pamela Northam will celebrate by visiting early childhood education programs and elementary schools and discussing the importance of school readiness. The First Lady will continue delivering books and school supplies as she visits schools and learning centers in each of the Commonwealth’s eight Superintendent Regions. From September 10 through September 13, the First Lady’s Back to School tour will conclude with stops in the remaining five Superintendent regions.
“Many of us can still remember the excitement of getting that shiny new folder and new shoes for the first day of school, but school readiness actually starts in those important years before kindergarten, when around 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs,” said First Lady Pamela Northam. “All Virginia children are capable of, and deserve to be, entering kindergarten with the tools they need to succeed. We are dedicated to unifying Virginia early education programs and providing access to quality care and education for children and families no matter who they are or where in the Commonwealth they live.”
The First Lady will be joined by Chief School Readiness Officer Jenna Conway, highlighting school readiness as an economic development issue across the Commonwealth. The First Lady and Jenna Conway will also speak with local stakeholders about the challenges and successes local communities are facing in improving school readiness.
“Today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce. Children who participate in high quality early care and education—whether in school, child care or Head Start—are more likely to succeed academically and socially in school, in the workforce and in life,” said Chief School Readiness Officer Jenna Conway. “Affordable child care also benefits the current workforce by enabling parents to work or complete school which is especially important when Virginia’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low.”
Roughly $500 million is invested in early childhood care and education in Virginia with additional resources available this year. More than $55 million in additional federal and state funding will help strengthen child care, Head Start, and the Virginia Preschool Initiative this year.
“Investing in high quality early education is one of the best ways to reduce the achievement gap among students in Virginia,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni.
“Teachers and leaders across the Commonwealth are excited to welcome children and families back to school,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. James Lane. “Each year offers another opportunity to support all Virginia students, including our youngest learners, to build the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to be successful in school and beyond.”
Media interested in attending any of the following events are asked to RSVP to Marissa.Astor@governor.virginia.gov.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
First Lady Pamela Northam to thank teachers at Accawmacke Elementary School26230 Drummondtown RoadAccomac, Virginia 23301
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Eastern Shore Head Start24429 Front StreetAccomac, Virginia 23301
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit P.B. Young Sr. Elementary School543 East Olney RoadNorfolk, Virginia 23510
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Mount Hermon Preschool Center3000 North StreetPortsmouth, Virginia 23707
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Cople Elementary School7114 Cople HighwayHague, Virginia 22469
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Washington District Elementary School454 Oak Grove RoadColonial Beach, Virginia 22443
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Tappahannock Elementary SchoolElementary School CircleTappahannock, Virginia 22560
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Northside Preschool121 Gloucester AvenueDanville, Virginia 24540
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Grove Park Preschool1070 South Main StreetDanville, Virginia 24541
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Harvest Corner Child Kare Center1333 Industrial AvenueDanville, Virginia 24541
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Crewe Primary School1953 Sunnyside RoadCrewe, Virginia 23930
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
First Lady Pamela Northam to participate in “Feed Virginia Day of Action” event at Smithland Elementary School474 Linda LaneHarrisonburg, Virginia 22802
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Elon Rhodes Early Learning Center at Smithland Elementary School474 Linda LaneHarrisonburg, Virginia 22802
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Stone Spring Elementary School1575 Peach Grove AvenueHarrisonburg, Virginia 22801
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Agnor-Hurt Elementary School3201 Berkmar DriveCharlottesville, Virginia 22901
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit JABA Shining Star Preschool674 Hillsdale Drive, Suite 9Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
First Lady Pamela Northam to visit Greenbrier Elementary School2228 Greenbrier DriveCharlottesville, Virginia 22901
The First Lady thanks the following organizations, whose kind donation of books and school supplies for this year’s Back to School Tour helped give students a great start to the new school year:
The Soho CenterBrandyLane Publishers, Inc.Library of VirginiaCommunity Idea Stations and PBS KidsVirginia State EmployeesVirginia State Police Trainees
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