For many school districts in Northern Virginia, today is the first day of the school year, and in Fairfax County this will be the first year of full-day kindergarten at many elementary schools.
Fairfax parent Shaista Keating helped lead the charge for district-wide, full-day kindergarten last year. 100 elementary schools already had it, but 36 did not, and Keating wanted to make sure that her daughter Sophia, who'll be attending Silverbrook Elementary, got the same opportunities as other kindergarteners in the county.
Some studies indicate that the reading levels of children attending half-day kindergarten don't catch up to those of their full-day kindergarten counterparts for a couple of years.
"So it is really, really great that now these kids will start off, altogether, all in the same county on the same footing," says Keating.
Keating says Sophia is excited to go to school all day, because it's what her older sister already does.
Sophia says it'll give her more time to do what she likes best: "drawing, and playing on the playground."
In addition to full-day kindergarten, this school year also brings the first teacher pay raise Fairfax County has had in two years, as well as a revised student discipline policy.