Superintendent’s Memo #151-15

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

June 19, 2015

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program Pilot

On February 26, 2015, the General Assembly amended the 2014-2016 biennial budget to include funding for the implementation of the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP).  The 2015 Appropriation Act includes the following language in Item 128.J:

Out of this appropriation, $1,000,000 the second year from the general fund is provided through the Department of Education to the University of Virginia (UVA) to begin statewide implementation of the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program.

The VKRP will focus on assessing kindergartners in the fall to determine their mathematics, social skills, and self-regulation, in addition to the literacy skills which are currently assessed using the existing Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) tests.

This fall, UVA will work with a limited number of school divisions to implement the VKRP assessments. The purpose of this graduated roll-out is to allow for continued input from stakeholders to enhance feasibility and usefulness of the assessment system for teachers, schools, divisions, and the Commonwealth.  School divisions that are selected to be part of this year’s implementation will be provided with the mathematics, social skills, and self-regulation assessment tools.

As part of this project, UVA staff will come to divisions to provide training to teachers and ongoing implementation support.  The data gathered from these assessments will be shared with teachers, principals, and divisions in an integrated readiness report that they can use to guide instruction.  The UVA will seek feedback from stakeholders to further enhance the process and assessment.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is working with UVA to make sure that this expanded kindergarten assessment is feasible for teachers and that the additional readiness data are useful.  We invite you to become an early adopter of the expanded kindergarten readiness assessment with UVA to be on the leading edge of this effort.

Interested divisions should complete the VKRP Participation Contact Form and UVA will contact you to provide more information about your participation.  For additional information, please contact Amanda P. Williford, research assistant professor, University of Virginia, by e-mail at williford@virginia.edu  or by telephone at (434) 243-9553; or Dr. Billy Haun, chief academic officer/assistant superintendent for instruction, by e-mail at Billy.Haun@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2034.

SRS/CAH/vdg