PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In a school district where most children have economic challenges, a game plan is in place to position an estimated 1,000 kindergarteners for academic excellence.

An estimated 60% percent of kindergartners in Portsmouth have some pre-school experience. Tuesday afternoon, Kickoff 2 Kindergarten will take place at The Emily Spong Center. Loretha Stills is the school system’s Parent and Family Engagement Specialist.

“You have supplies here to help them get started; these are just a few of the supplies,” said Loretha Stills, the school division’s parent and family engagement specialist as she proudly displayed the school supplies being donated to kindergartners. “When they come in they will be able to grab a book bag, walk thru the line and pick up the supplies they would need.”

If your little one is a little fearful of the big yellow bus, help is around the corner.

“We’ll have a bus here that they can tour … so if they are a little afraid for the first day they can go ahead and break their fears and get on that bus and see what it’s like,” Stills said.

The game plan is critical. According to a recent national report, Virginia children last year ranked sixth-worst overall for reading and seventh worst for math.

Here’s what Kickoff 2 Kindergarten parents can do now to prepare for the school year.

“The week or two weeks (before school starts), that’s a great time for parents to start getting on that routine,” Stills said. “It’s time to get up early get dressed and get out to school.”

Kickoff 2 Kindergarten families can sign up for school physicals, vaccinations, free school supplies, and academic resources to give their kindergartners a running start. Stills said K-4 are the most critical years for elementary school students.

“Knowing how important school is those first few years … it is important for parents to get involved and be engaged in what’s going on in the schools,” Stills said.

Kickoff 2 Kindergarten at Emily Spong Center begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. You can bring the entire family and dinner will be served. The center is located at 2200 Piedmont Ave.

Back to school preparation guide provided by Portsmouth Public Schools

All seventh-grade students are required to have a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot prior to the beginning of the school year. In addition, students must have two doses of the Meningococcal Conjugate vaccine (the first dose should be administered prior to entering seventh grade. The final dose must be administered prior to entering 12th grade). The Health Department is hosting a couple of upcoming immunization clinics. I’ve attached their flyer here. 

Kindergarten Prep
The Portsmouth Public Schools Title I Kickoff 2 Kindergarten Event  is hosted to prepare families of rising kindergartners for school. This year’s event will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Emily Spong Center at 2200 Piedmont Ave. There will be a number of academic resources on site, as well as free school supplies, raffles and more. 

Before and Afterschool Care
Registration is also open now for AlphaBest for before and after school care for the school year. Families register online by visiting the AlphaBest website.  

Families can download the Edulog Parent Portal app now. This app helps keep families informed on their child’s bus location, including giving planned bus stop times, live GPS location of their child’s bus as well as push notifications for when the bus is nearing their child’s stop. The Edulog Parent Portal app is free of charge and can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices (using the Apple AppStore or Google Play Store).