SPS Early Start pre-screening applications available

Published 7:08 pm Friday, May 14, 2021

Pre-screening applications for Suffolk Public Schools’ Early Start program for 4-year-olds are now available at the division’s elementary schools and on its website.

Early Start is a Virginia Preschool Initiative program serving at-risk children in Suffolk and gives them an extra year to prepare for success in kindergarten. The program has been developed to reduce disparities among young children and help eliminate risk factors that can lead to early academic failure.

The program is for children who will be 4-years-old by Sept. 30, 2021. It is housed in the city’s public elementary schools and has a 1:9 teacher-to-student ratio, with qualification for the program based on poverty levels and other risk factors that can affect student success, including family income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines – or below 350% for students with special needs or disabilities – as well as family homelessness, parents or guardians who do not have a high school diploma and/or language and development assessment of the child.


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Students who are accepted are not guaranteed placement in the home-zoned school. Because Early Start classes are not at each elementary school, school placement will be determined based on Early Start zoning, and transportation is provided to and from school. The school day will be from 9:25 a.m. until 3:50 p.m. and the program aligns with Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year-Olds, which provides a measurable range of skills and knowledge that will help 4-year-olds be successful in kindergarten.

Completed pre-screening applications should be returned or mailed to the Suffolk Public Schools Administrative Offices at 100 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434, attention Pam Connor. Applications can also be returned to your child’s elementary school.

Screenings for both the child and parent will take place by appointment only. Appointment information will be mailed to the home address.

Acceptance letters will be mailed in July. Parents will not be able to register their child for school until they receive notification that their child has been accepted into the Early Start program.

For questions regarding the program, contact Tomika Doleman at 757-925-6760. A link to the application and more information about the Early Start program can be found at spsk12.net/academics/early_start.