LOW MOOR, Va. (VR)- Alleghany Highlands Public Schools will hold a parent information session about its Virginia Preschool Initiative (prekindergarten) program on Tuesday, May 9. The session will be held at Jeter-Watson Elementary School in Covington from 5:30-7 p.m.
Each AHPS elementary school will be represented at the meeting. Jeter-Watson Elementary, Callaghan Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Sharon Elementary will have at least one VPI classroom on site for the 2023-2024 school year.
Starting with the 2023-2024 school year, Alleghany Highlands Public Schools will no longer offer a two-tiered junior kindergarten/kindergarten option for students who turn 5 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2023. Instead, the school division will offer preschool for 4-year-olds that fall under Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) criteria.
Parents of students who turn 4 prior to Sept. 30, 2023, may apply for the student to be entered into the VPI programs at each elementary school as a form of preschool/prekindergarten instruction.
Attending the parent information meeting on May 9 does not guarantee that a child will be accepted into the VPI program. Eligibility and acceptance are based on a variety of factors, including income/financial verification, family/situational factors and identified local criteria. Enrollments will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible students based on staffing availability.
The child is not required to be present at the parent information meeting. Parents who plan to enroll a child should bring the child’s birth certificate, a current immunization record, a copy of their most recent physical, the child’s Social Security number and income verification for the household. Income verification can be provided through a pay stub or a current W2 form. The parent must also provide proof of residency.
Potential VPI students will be scheduled by AHPS for an educational screening as part of the application process. More information will be provided to families if the application for enrollment is approved. Each child approved for enrollment will be required to have a preschool physical examination before entering school for the first time.
AHPS is making the transition to the PreK/VPI program to provide stability in licensed staffing and maintain an 18:1 teacher/student ratio with a paraprofessional also present in each classroom. Maintaining a low teacher/studio ratio will provide students with high-quality daily interactions with school staff in areas of activity.
AHPS instructors work to develop the whole child with art, music, physical education and social/emotional learning sessions through programs such as Character Counts. Covington City Public Schools was previously able to serve students in VPI programs housed in their schools. AHPS has chosen to move forward with this model so as to maximize its ability to provide enrichment resources to students.
“There is always a conversation about expanding preschool opportunities at the state and federal level, and AHPS is seeking to be proactive and provide opportunities for young children. We appreciate all of the work in our community surrounding preschool efforts by a variety of organizations,” said Sherman Callahan, director of elementary education for AHPS.
For more questions about enrolling students in the PreK/VPI program for 2023-2024, parents should contact the school their child would attend. In the context of the current redistricting conversation in AHPS, parents may also be interested in redistricting information available on the AHPS website. The school board may vote to determine school attendance areas, commonly referred to as “school zones,” on May 8.
School division news and events are regularly posted on Facebook at AHPublicSchools. The division website can be visited at ahps.k12.va.us.