Our Work

E3: Elevate Early Education (E3) is a statewide bipartisan issue-advocacy organization. In 2012, E3 was created by business, civic and philanthropic leaders to raise awareness and advocate for strategic data-driven investment in early education.

Our Strategy

In 2011, we commissioned a study conducted by a government relations firm to tell us where the issue of early education stood in our state among legislators and stakeholders. The study informed the development of E3’s three-pronged legislative strategy:

  1. Define the problem by creating a statewide comprehensive kindergarten assessment in partnership with UVA CASTL (Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning).
  2. Advocate for a one-year Joint legislative Audit Review Commission (JLARC) study to analyze and articulate funding expenditures, outcomes of state funded programs for children prenatal to age five and identify best practices.
  3. Prove to legislators that investment in early education leads to improved academic outcomes in the K-3 system by creating The New E3 School.

Our Work

Virginia’s Kindergarten Readiness Program

E3, in partnership with the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (UVA CASTL) and the Virginia Department of Education, launched a four-phased approach to creating a statewide, comprehensive kindergarten assessment with the following goals:

  • Research and select an assessment tool that can be used statewide to accurately assess readiness skills across a range of domains upon kindergarten entry.
  • Pilot an assessment, utilizing a $250,000 state appropriation matched 2:1 with $500,000 in private funds, to create a snapshot of Virginia’s kindergartners and clearly define the readiness gap.
  • Implement a voluntary statewide comprehensive readiness assessment that includes the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS), Virginia’s current literary screening tool, and use the data to inform public policy.

Validity Study- Phase I, Fall 2013

  • E3 commissioned a study led by researchers at UVA CASTL to test the validity of a widely used commercial assessment, TS Gold. Researchers recommended that a comprehensive readiness assessment that complements PALS be developed. UVA CASTL developed a comprehensive readiness assessment that includes the PALS. 

The Readiness Gap- Phase II, Fall 2014

  • 34% of children arrive at kindergarten unprepared in at least one critical learning domain (literacy, math, self-regulation and social skills).[i]
  • Over 2,000 kindergarten students drawn from 100 classrooms and 41 schools within 16 districts across the eight superintendents’ regions of Virginia were assessed using the UVA CASTL readiness assessment. 

Statewide Implementation- Phase III, Fall 2015

  • 36% of students in participating school divisions entered kindergarten lacking readiness skills in at least one of the learning domains of literacy, math, self-regulation or social skills.[ii]
  • 21 diverse school divisions, 533 kindergarten teachers and 9,809 kindergarten students.
  • $1m state appropriation allocated to UVA CASTL for voluntary statewide implementation of assessment tool.

Statewide Implementation- Phase IV, Fall 2016

  • 40% of students in participating school divisions entered kindergarten unprepared in at least one learning domain.[ii]
  • 45 diverse school systems, 661 teachers and 11,899 kindergarten students participated.

Statewide Implementation – Phase V, Fall 2017

  • 40% of students in participating school divisions entered kindergarten unprepared in at least one learning domain.
  • 63 school divisions, 1,091 teachers and 20,039 kindergarten students participated.
  • $900,000 state appropriation allocated in the first year (Governor’s FY 2017-18 reductions) to UVA CASTL to continue the statewide implementation of VKRP.Statewide Implementation – 

Statewide Implementation – Phase VI, Fall 2018

  • 42% of students in participating school divisions entered kindergarten unprepared in at least one learning domain.
  • 31,091 children from 89 school divisions participated with the remainder to begin in 2019.
  • Preschool version of VKRP will be piloted in 50 private and faith-based classrooms.

JLARC Study on Early Education

The JLARC report entitled, Improving Virginia’s Early Childhood Development Programs was released in December 2017. Based upon the 2017 JLARC report, the Commonwealth of Virginia has an opportunity to ensure that high quality early childhood development programs are effective in program design, implementation and outcome measures.

The New E3 School

E3, in partnership with the University of Virginia Center for Advanced Study for Teaching and Learning (UVA CASTL) and philanthropists created a privately funded demonstration model school located in Norfolk focused on the most important elements of high quality programs that improve child outcomes. The New E3 School will advance early education in our region and across Virginia. The innovative curriculum model designed by UVA CASTL includes:

  •  STREAMin3 Early Education Curriculum
  • Professional Development for teachers
  • Coaching to implement model with fidelity
  • Assessments of children and classroom quality

Children at The New E3 School met or exceeded the benchmarks for math, literacy and self-regulation skills. Some 4-year-old children did not meet the benchmark for social skills (e.g., sharing, expressing their needs and wants positively, taking turns, complying with adult directions).[iii]

The UVA CASTL STREAMin3 Curriculum Pilot

The STREAM: Integrated, Intentional, Interactions curriculum (STREAMin3) model was developed at UVA’s CASTL with funding from E3 and implemented in The New E3 School. It focuses on five core skills that form the building blocks for later learning and six STREAM skills (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math) to prepare children for kindergarten. The curriculum model will be piloted in 50 faith-based and private classrooms in the next two years. Over 225 volunteered to participate.The Obici Healthcare Foundation leveraged $1 million in private funding to expand the pilot in Western Tidewater to 50 additional classrooms in VPI, Head Start, private and faith-based programs.

E3 is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, charitable organization that raises funds from the public to help accomplish its mission.  Interested in investing? Contact Devan Maloney.

 

 


[i] University of Virginia Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Project Statewide Representative Sample, 2014.

[ii] University of Virginia Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program, 2015-2016.

[iii] University of Virginia Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning, K-Eligible_Report_2018_Final

 

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