By Callie Hietala
With the current school year nearing an end, it is time to begin thinking about the newest generation of young learners that will soon be entering the school system, either as kindergarten or preschool students.
“It hardly seems possible, but it’s time for kindergarten registration,” Dr. Tamra Vaughan, coordinator of academic interventions, Title III, foreign language, and mentoring, said at the regular meeting of the Martinsville School Board on Monday.
Martinsville schools will hold kindergarten registration Tuesday, April 26 through Thursday, April 28 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the central office, 746 Indian Trail, Martinsville.
Registration is open to children who will be 5-years-old on or before Sept. 30, 2022.
Vaughan said staff also will collect required documents at the site during registration.
According to a flyer advertising the registration days, required documents are an original birth certificate, two proofs of residence (examples include a utility bill or lease agreement), record of a current physical examination completed after Aug. 8, 2021, and an up-to-date immunization record.
Parents who register their child or children without the necessary documentation may still do so, but all documents must be submitted before the school year begins.
For those children who do not yet meet the 5-year benchmark, Clearview Early Learning Center (CELC) is currently taking applications for students who will be 3- or 4-years-old by Sept. 30.
Sheilah Williams, director of early childhood & school nutrition services at CELC, said over the last year, her instructors have worked diligently to ensure “we are going to have some strong, well-prepared kindergarten students.
“We are passionate about our students, we love our students, and we are there to grow that love for learning and develop that firm foundation and have these kids ready for kindergarten and success beyond kindergarten,” she added.
Ronnell Penn, pre-school teacher, introduced two Clearview students, Brooklyn Mack and Gavyn Young, who demonstrated some of what they had learned this year.
“We differentiate our groups,” Penn said, “and some students are actually ready to read. We’ve been going over sight words. They’re going to read their book that they picked out for you.”
Mack read “Places We Go,” while Young selected “What Is It?”
When the new readers finished their stories, the room filled with applause.
As young children contemplate entering the school system, high school seniors are preparing to leave it.
Martinsville High School principal Aji Dixon urged parents to keep scholarship application deadlines in mind. He said a list of some of the available scholarships can be found by clicking the student tab on the division’s website, Martinsville.k12.va.us.
In other matters, the board:
*Approved a motion to allow board member Tony Jones to attend the meeting via phone. Board member Jay Dickens was absent.
*Heard a presentation by Janet Boucher, children’s librarian at the Blue Ridge Regional Library, about the various offerings of the library, particularly for students. Boucher said the library offers recreation for the whole family, including 1-day passes to the local YMCA and the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She said a library card also grants holders access to a number of streaming and online services, encompassing everything from books and magazines to movies and television.
Boucher said this year’s summer reading program, tentatively scheduled to begin June 6, helps children avoid the summer slide in reading skills.
*Recognized three instructors from Patrick Henry Elementary who received awards from the Southside Virginia Regional Technology Consortium – 1st grade teacher Rebecca Vernon received the Technology Teacher award, STEM teacher Elizabeth Lynch received Instructional Support, and instructional technology resource teacher Monica Mitchell received Technology Support.
*Recognized students who competed in the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) state conference. This year, 16 Martinsville students attended the competition. Andre Harrison placed fifth in prepared speaking; Harrison, Onyi Ugbomah-Otunuya, and Alfonso Lara Alvardo placed third in creative problem solving; and Paris Fulp, Anessia Reynolds, and Tyasia Wright placed second in creative problem solving. Several of the students are moving on to HOSA’s international conference in Nashville.
On May 1, a Vera Bradley bingo event will be held at Lancer Hall in Laurel Park to help raise funds for the trip.
*Recognized the students who placed in the U.S. Cellular Black History Art contest. Judith Tuttle placed first, Layce Everhart second, and Zy’Jerryah Martin placed third.
*Recognized student athlete Sierra Valentine, who made all-region and all-district in girls’ basketball.
*Recognized the division’s assistant principals in honor of Assistant Principal Appreciation Week.
*Heard an update from Martinsville Middle School staff, who discussed the 2022-23 program of studies, including elective courses, languages, and the newly-implemented GO TECH program, which is offered in grades 6-8 and helps students with career readiness. Units covered in the program are mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, welding, precision machining, health sciences, IT coding and networking, metrology, and manufacturing engineering.
*Recognized Albert Harris Elementary student Aria Lewis, who was the first-place overall winner in the Dan River Basin Association’s (DRBA) Inspire Clean Water Art Contest, sponsored by the Martinsville Uptown Rotary Club. The contest focused on the theme of protecting our rivers and streams and the wildlife that lives in them. Lewis’ submission was selected from over 100 submissions. She will paint her work on a storm drain in Martinsville near the farmers’ market. Lewis said this was the first art contest she had placed in, and credited her mother for helping with the project.
*Heard from Dixon, who provided an update on events at the high school and reminded parents that due dates are upcoming for many scholarship applications.
*Approved the minutes of the March 14 regular meeting, and the financial report ending March 31.
*Approved the memorandum of understanding regarding the division’s continued participation in Governor’s School. According to Coordinator of Humanities and Advanced Programs Cary Wright, the city is allocated 25 spots for students to attend Governor’s School, all of which are filled. “It’s very competitive,” he said, adding the division often has to turn some applicants away.
*Unanimously approved updated policies from the Virginia School Board Association, many of which were minor language changes to existing policies.
*Heard a report from Schools Superintendent Dr. Zebedee Talley.
*April 11-18: spring break
*April 19: joint meeting with city council at the central office
*April 21: spring band concert at Martinsville High School
*April 22: Boys & Girls Club Banquet at the TAD Space
*April 23: prom
*April 26: signing day at Patrick & Henry Community College
*April 27: City Council budget work session
*April 25-29: SOL testing
*May 6: special education field day
*May 7: SATs at Martinsville High School
*May 9: next regular board meeting