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Duval County Students Start New School Year; Pre-K Students Start Very First Day Of School

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Duval County students returned Monday for the start of another school year.

The first day of school is a first-ever day for students entering voluntary pre-K.

Four-year-old Emma Medlin is at her first-ever public school orientation.

Emma's admiring the new playground outside her VPK on the University of North Florida campus.

Emma said, “I like to play with playground all days or the park.”

VPK is free for kids. The state gives schools a little over $2,000 for every child who goes three hours a day, five days a week. About 80 percent of Florida 4 year olds attend.

Emma's mom, Brittany Medlin, says she's hoping VPK is more than just daycare on the house.

“Right now she can identify letters,” Medlin said. “She can tell me the sounds of the letters. I would like for her to be able to, at the end of this, sort of be able to take individual letters that are in a word and sound-out a word.”

Assessments will help Emma’s teacher track her progress throughout the year and whether she’s ready for kindergarten next year.

Photo credit: "YMCA Pre-K" by Lochoaymca is used under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.