As part of her annual statewide tour of Head Start programs, child care classrooms and elementary schools, Virginia first lady Pamela Northam stopped by Rosemont Elementary School on Sept. 9. United Way of South Hampton Roads helped coordinate the Second Annual Back-to-School Tour with the first lady as part of their ongoing partnership with Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
Northam read “The King of Kindergarten,” to an enthusiastic group of young learners. She gave them all specially-minted souvenir coins from the Governor’s office, although some students expressed disappointment that the coins were not actually made of chocolate.
After visiting several other classes at Rosemont, the first lady was quite impressed with what she witnessed. “You can see why they have been rated so highly,” she said of the school’s educators. “These master teachers already have the children doing such terrific learning in only the first few days of school.”
A former educator herself, Mrs. Northam has advocated for school readiness, emphasizing the need to provide toddlers with quality care and education in the years before they start kindergarten. Over the summer, Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Directive Four, establishing the Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness that is responsible for developing a plan to ensure that all at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds in Virginia have access to a quality, subsidized early education option by 2025. Executive Directive Four also instructs state agencies to develop a uniform measurement and improvement system and make recommendations for streamlining early childhood governance at the state level.
This year, all kindergarten teachers in Virginia public schools are using the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) to evaluate and better support each child entering kindergarten. Through VKRP, families and educators work together to build children’s literacy, math and socio-emotional skills so they start school fully prepared to succeed during the kindergarten year and into the future.