Washington column for May 23

Virginia’s First Lady visits CCLC

First Lady Pamela Northam paid a visit to the Child Care and Learning Center earlier this month to meet childcare staff taking part in the state’s Pre-School Development Grant (PDG).

In addition to Mrs. Northam, the Rappahannock County visit included Republican Delegate Michael Webert, Rappahannock School Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley, Rappahannock County Administrator Garrey Curry, and CCLC board members Barney O’Meara and Eve Brooks.

Jordan Atkins, Infant Room Teacher, First Lady Pamela Northam, and Shannon Grimsley, Rappahannock County School Superintendent. Photo by Lisa Pendleton

In January 2019, Mrs. Northam announced the award of $9.9 million in federal funds to strengthen early childhood education in the state. The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, was awarded to the Virginia Department of Education. The grant is being administered in partnership with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the University of Virginia.

Rappahannock County and 10 other Virginia counties were selected to take part in activities designed to improve quality and access to childcare and preschool programs. CCLC, in collaboration with Baby Bear Day Care, Belle Meade Montessori School, Hearthstone School and Rappahannock County Public Schools, are working to implement a system of training, classroom observation and feedback, and data collection that will inform state Department of Education policy and funding decisions for pre-school in future years.

Annual Garden Party

The Child Care & Learning Center will hold its 6th Annual Garden Party at Mount Prospect in Little Washington on Saturday, June 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. and the public is invited!

Enjoy a Secret Garden themed social event with delicious food and drinks, live and silent auctions and community fellowship in support of Rappahannock County’s youngest citizens. Tickets are $100 per person and limited. Please call 540-675-3237 or email rappcclc@gmail.com to reserve your tickets.

It has been a busy year for CCLC, which partnered with Rappahannock County Public Schools to create the First Step Collaboration, a pre-K alternative for children denied a Head Start experience when the county’s program was unexpectedly cancelled.

CCLC took in 24 new children with the support and commitment of the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors, Headwaters and other donors. CCLC hired a Family and Child Service Coordinator with the help of a grant from a local family foundation to ensure that children receive the same, or superior, case management services, including health screenings, social screenings, home visits and family support. The award of the Mixed-Delivery Preschool Grant by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation ensures that CCLC can continue to serve the First Step Collaboration 4-year old children over the next two and a half years.

However, the grant provides no funding for the former Head Start enrolled 3-year old children creating the need for CCLC and its partners to seek private funds to continue to make quality pre-school education in the 2019/2020 school year available to all Rappahannock children.

A day to remember

Memorial Day is observed on Monday, May 27. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. Many of us visit the cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

As summer approaches, Memorial Day often provides a day off where families can get together for a picnic. But this day has been set aside for a very special reason. It is to honor those who have given their lives for this country or who are now serving to protect our freedoms.

It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Let’s take time on May 27 and raise the flag high and pause in prayer to say “Thank you!” for the free life we’re living. We should feel proud every day for our beautiful flag and for the great fortune we have to be Americans. I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend!

Speaking of safe . . .

The Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office will be out in full force this week ticketing all motorists that are violating traffic laws in Virginia. Make sure when you get in your vehicle, buckle up before driving off and watch the speed limit. The happy outcome will be we won’t have to pay up.

The “Click It or Ticket” program will be strictly enforced.

Be safe and have a peaceful Memorial Day.

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