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It's time to get ready to go back to school! To help students and families prepare, Vancouver Public Schools is hosting its third annual back-to-school event.
Go Ready! Back-to-School-Readiness Festival
Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hudson's Bay High School, 1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
This event is free and open to all VPS students and their families.
The festival will feature food; entertainment; family-friendly activities; and information about early learning, counseling, health care, housing and other resources. It also will provide free immunizations, haircuts and gently used clothing. Approximately 60 district partners from the community will be in attendance to provide services and information.
Go Ready is organized by the district's network of Family-Community Resource Centers, which provides support for families all school year long. The event is designed to serve the district's students and families who need assistance with preparing for the first day of school, especially families who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Eligibility for subsidized meals is one indicator of poverty, which can affect readiness to learn.
Learn more about the festival at http://vansd.org/events/goready .
Go Ready is a 2015 first-place winner of the National School Boards Association's Magna Award.
The State of Washington Department of Commerce awarded a $500,000 Homeless Student Stability Program (HSSP) grant to three Clark County school districts and Council for the Homeless. Battle Ground, Evergreen and Vancouver public school systems and Council for the Homeless submitted a collaborative proposal. Overall, the Department of Commerce awarded $1 million in HSSP grants in the state. The grants are the outcome of HB-1682, the Homeless Student Stability and Opportunity Gap Act, which was supported by several legislators including Representative Sharon Wylie from Clark County's 49th legislative district.
HSSP will fund one full-time staff person each in the Vancouver and Evergreen districts and one half-time staff person for the Battle Ground district. The goal of the new "housing navigators" will be to help stabilize homeless students and their families allowing students to participate fully in school and achieve their highest potential. Grant funds also will provide financial resources to help families find safe, decent and affordable housing. The project begins Sept. 1, 2016, and ends June 30, 2017.
Evergreen Public Schools will act as project lead and will manage the required financial and program reports. Council for the Homeless will administer funding for staffing, training and operations, as well as rental assistance for families and flexible funding to address other barriers to securing and retaining housing such as application fees and court and legal fees.
In Vancouver Public Schools, the new housing navigator will serve families at Washington Elementary School, Discovery Middle School and Hudson's Bay High School. The housing navigator will work closely with Family-Community Resource Center coordinators and with the VPS Project HOPE liaison. In the past year, the number of homeless children attending school in Vancouver has increased 26 percent.
"Safe, stable housing is a basic need and a critical foundation for learning," said Tamara Shoup, VPS director of family engagement and FCRCs. "By partnering with school districts across the county and Council for the Homeless, we will create a strong network of support for our highly mobile children and families."
Parents of kids who will be entering kindergarten this year are strongly encouraged to sign up their children for Kindergarten Jump Start, a free program that takes place a few weeks before school begins.
Jump Start participants engage in a variety of math, literacy and hands-on learning activities. They learn basic school routines and become familiar with school surroundings. Students also receive a free, nutritious snack daily.
Jump Start will be offered at the following elementary schools in 2016:
Anderson, Fruit Valley, Harney, Hazel Dell, King, Lincoln, Marshall, Minnehaha, Ogden, Roosevelt, Walnut Grove and Washington
Chinook, Eisenhower, Felida, Franklin, Hough, Lake Shore, Sacajawea, Salmon Creek and Truman
The program runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at all schools. Full participation is encouraged, but not required. Transportation is not provided.
At Jump Start, parents will be asked to register their children for school if they have not already done so.
For more information, visit http://vansd.org/kindergarten/jump-start.