Valdosta City School District

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Valdosta City Schools Celebrates Georgia PreK Week

Launched five years ago, Pre-K Week’s support from government, business and community leaders grows every year. This year, the Georgia School Boards Association joined as a Pre-K Week partner, and Georgia Power, Synovus Bank and Scholastic returned as corporate sponsors. Additional key supporters included Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal.

During the state’s official Pre-K Week Oct. 5-9, Mayor Gayle and Representative Sharper visited Pre-K centers in SL Mason Elementary and Pinevale Elementary to witness early learning in action and engaged children and educators. The statewide celebration, which included all 159 counties, draws attention to early learning, including Pre-K, a hallmark program that was pioneered in Georgia 22 years ago.

“We were excited to have the important officials visit our centers to show our children their community cares about their education,” said Dara Holt, director of PreK - 5th grade curriculum. “The enthusiasm and support we received from leaders across the state shows they understand the value of early learning to ensure school readiness, higher graduation rates and lifelong empowerment.”

While visiting the two elementary schools, Mayor Gayle and Rep. Sharper participated in a reading activity with the children, toured the facility, talked with the staff, and got an up-close look at the many ways that the center is supporting early learning.

“The support of such influential public and private organizations is a powerful statement about the value of children’s education and learning in the early years,” said Emily Pelton, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, the child advocacy organization that organizes Pre-K Week each year, along with its partners. “Investment in early childhood education creates the foundation necessary for a child to succeed in nearly every phase of life, from learning to read successfully by third grade to graduating high school and entering the workforce.”

Georgia Pre-K Week was developed with the support of Scholastic and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Joining Voices for Georgia’s Children as partners on Georgia Pre-K Week are Black Child Development Institute Atlanta, Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy, Georgia Child Care Association, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, Georgia Family Connection Partnership, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Vision Project, Multiple Junior League Chapters, Quality Care for Children, United Way of Greater Atlanta, and YMCA of Metro Atlanta.

All of the Pre-K classes in Valdosta City Schools will receive a field trip out to Raisin Cane to as a celebration of Pre-K Week.  Valdosta City Schools has Pre-K centers on the campuses of J.L. Lomax Elementary, Pinevale Elementary, S.L. Mason Elementary and W.G. Nunn Elementary.  As the week drew to a close, the district was notified that they had been awarded a class for Pre-K at Sallas Mahone Elementary.  Now each elementary school in the district can provide early learning opportunities for four year old students.  Enrollment will be prioritized for the new class will begin on November 2.  

About Voices for Georgia’s Children 

Established in 2003, Voices for Georgia’s Children ( is a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization that envisions a Georgia where children are safe, healthy, educated, employable, and connected to their family and community. Our mission is to be a powerful, unifying voice for a public agenda that ensures the well being of all Georgia’s children.

About Georgia Power: 

Georgia Power’s commitment to education spans its more than 100-year history and is emphasized companywide. Ongoing efforts include that company’s Learning Power program, which features Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) lessons highlighting energy basics such as simple circuits and energy efficiency, as well as activities to help students understand how energy is made and distributed from generation facilities to their homes. The Learning Power program has reached more than 250,000 students since its launch in 2011. For more information about how the company is working to advance education and build the highly skilled workforce of tomorrow, visit

About Synovus Bank:

Synovus Bank is a Georgia-chartered, FDIC-insured bank. Synovus Bank, together with its affiliates, provides commercial and retail banking, investment, mortgage services to customers through 28 locally-branded divisions, 258 branches, and 341 ATMs in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. Synovus Bank was named one of America’s Most Reputable Banks by American Banker and the Reputation Institute in 2015. See Synovus Bank on the web at, on Twitter @synovus, and on LinkedIn. Equal Housing Lender. 

About Georgia School Boards Association:

Since 1951, GSBA has served as a leader in Georgia’s public education system by advocating for local control of public education, and by offering programs and assistance to local boards of education and school systems. GSBA’s services have evolved from a professional development program and general “meeting ground” for school board members into a full service association. For more information, visit