For Immediate Release – August 04, 2016
Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Virginia Department of Education
Contact: Charles B. Pyle
RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe announced today that the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF), in consultation with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), will award five grants to local communities that have proposed innovative approaches to ensure all children eligible for the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) are able to access programming.
VECF will award $250,000 each to United Way - Thomas Jefferson Area, James Madison University, United Way of Roanoke Valley, Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area, and Wythe County Public Schools for pilots that include a variety of community partners.
“Early childhood development is critical in ensuring our children have the best opportunities to succeed in K-12 and beyond,” Governor McAuliffe said. “I introduced funding for these pilots so as to encourage bold and collaborative new approaches to ensuring any child eligible for VPI is able to benefit from the program. In order to build the workforce of the future, we must ensure that we are preparing all of our students to succeed in the new Virginia economy, beginning with high quality early childhood education.”
The funding for the grants was included in the Governor’s introduced budget and was approved by the General Assembly. Additionally, the General Assembly passed House Bill 47 (Patron: Greason) outlining its intent for the use of the funding.
“These pilots propose exciting solutions to the barriers many communities face when trying to serve at-risk children,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Dietra Trent. “When we empower and support local communities in pursuing unique and collaborative solutions, we pave the way for long term success of students and programs alike.”
“The innovative solutions proposed by each of these communities thoughtfully address unique local challenges in serving these children,” VECF President, Kathy Glazer said. “In each of the recipient communities, young students and their parents will benefit from new programs, enhanced professional development of teachers, and community supports necessary for their success.”
The proposals receiving mixed delivery preschool grants are as follows:
- United Way - Thomas Jefferson Area: This pilot will increase the number of at-risk four-year olds served by partnering with community-based child care programs, while supporting program and teacher quality through intensive on-site coaching and professional development.
- James Madison University: This pilot will imbed consistent professional development supports for community-based preschool programs serving four-year-olds enrolled in VPI, including access to a credentialing pathway and training focused on supporting dual-language learners.
- United Way of Roanoke Valley: Partnership with a neighborhood-based private child care center will provide new access to preschool services for three- and four- year olds living in low-income housing communities, aligning with Roanoke City Public Schools for teacher training and consistent curriculum.
- Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area: Utilizing a locally-developed agreement structure for services in child care centers, this community-driven pilot purchases slots in participating private child care centers to serve at-risk four-year-olds, creating classrooms that serve children from diverse socio-economic households.
- Wythe County Public Schools: Leveraging a partnership with a private foundation, a coordinated system of professional development and quality enhancement will elevate a culture of quality for all preschool providers in the county, both private and school-based. Intensive support and training, including a certified teacher mentor, will be provided for the child care centers serving eligible students.
For more information about VECF and the pilots, please visit www.vecf.org.