Education Celebrations: VISD gears up for start of school
By Diane Boyett
July 20, 2014 at 2:20 a.m.
We have little more than a month to go until the first bell rings for the start of the 2014-15 school year.
Some people will bemoan that fact while others are celebrating.
Regardless of which side of the summer break you find yourself, it is time to prepare for the school start date of Aug. 25.
One of the ongoing tasks of summer in a school district revolves around planning for staffing and classroom needs. The greatest challenge in that part of the process is in knowing how many students to actually expect on that first day.
While our schools have conducted preregistration drives, we know that many parents have not participated because they were uncertain where they might be living at the start of the school year. Others simply misplaced the paperwork.
We are asking that any parent who did not complete the preregistration process and parents whose children are new to VISD contact their neighborhood school to make arrangements to start the process. It is critical to know how many children to expect, especially at the elementary level, where we operate under state-mandated student to teacher ratios.
The grade levels of greatest uncertainty are in our pre-kindergarten and kindergarten areas. These are students who are new to our school district.
Pre-kindergarten is offered as a full-day program in Victoria ISD for students who qualify. There are six ways a child who will be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 can qualify:
Qualifies to participate in the National Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program (proof of household income is required);
Is unable to speak or comprehend the English language;
Is the child of an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces;
Is the child of a member of the U.S. armed forces who was injured or killed while serving on active duty;
Is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Michelle Yates, VISD Early Childhood coordinator, said research clearly indicates that children who attend pre-kindergarten, compared to their counterparts who do not attend, are more prepared for kindergarten, have improved reading and writing skills, are more successful in school, have better social skills, behavior and conduct and go on to greater success in life.
"It's incredible to see how much our pre-kindergarten students learn and grow throughout the course of a school year as a result of their daily participation in school," she said.
Kindergarten is open to all students who will be 5 years of age by Sept. 1.
We also seek to locate and evaluate children ages 3 to 21 with disabilities and their possible need for special education and related services. Child Find is a free referral and information service. If you know a child who shows signs of developmental delay, ongoing learning problems or behavioral or medical problems that interfere with learning, call the Special Education Department at 361-788-9242.
Information on registration for the coming school year is available by calling your neighborhood school or the Student Services Office at 361-788-9250.
Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.