July 29, 2016

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program Pilot

The 2016-2018 biennial state budget included funding for the continued implementation of the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP).  In 2015, over 21 school divisions participated, and, this fall, the statewide rollout of VKRP will increase to 40 school divisions.

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

This graduated rollout allows for continued information from stakeholders to enhance feasibility and usefulness of the assessment system for teachers, schools, divisions, and the Commonwealth.  School divisions selected to be part of this year’s implementation will be provided with the mathematics, social, and self-regulation skills assessment tools.

As part of this project, University of Virginia (UVA) staff will provide training to teachers and implementation support.  The data gathered from these assessments will be shared with teachers, principals, and divisions in integrated readiness reports.  Resources to be provided to teachers can be used to guide instruction and are linked to individual student and classroom level data.  UVA will seek information 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.  UVA will contact you to provide more information about participation.  For additional information, please contact Ms. Wanda Weaver, VKRP Project Coordinator, by e-mail at vkrp@virginia.edu or by telephone at (866) 301-8278 ext. 1.

SRS/CAH/vdg