First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam Addresses Inaugural Luncheon in Norfolk for WE3: Women Elevating Early Education

New Initiative Launched on May 1 with Goal of Cultivating, Igniting and Uniting Women Across Virginia as Advocates for Early Education


Norfolk, Va. May 3, 2018 – E3: Elevate Early Education launched WE3: Women Elevating Early Education at an inaugural luncheon in Norfolk on Tuesday that was attended by First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam and other distinguished women. The goal of WE3 is to cultivate, ignite and unite women as advocates for high-quality early education.

Building on the success of E3, an issue advocacy organization, WE3 aims to bring its vision across Virginia, creating a statewide women’s initiative that encourages women to promote and invest in proven early education models.

“We want to continue to raise the awareness and the great work already being done by folks here and elsewhere throughout the state,” said Northam.

During her remarks, Northam said that while studies show that early childhood development has proven to be a smart investment, society has generally failed to recognize that.

“We put the least amount in the front end of our education where we get the biggest bang for our buck,” Northam said, noting that a child’s brain is 90 percent developed by the time her or she reaches kindergarten. “If we can put that money up front in those early critical years, then we’re making a super investment that will pay off so much more in the future.”

The New E3 School is a state-of-the-art school that serves families from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. It focuses on the most important elements of high-quality programs that improve child outcomes.

The school, which opened in 2015, employs STREAM – a science, technology, reading engineering, arts and math-oriented curriculum championed by E3 and other early education proponents. The curricula package was developed by U.Va.’s Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at the Curry School of Education.

WE3 is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to advocate and elevate early education.

“The success is really something,” philanthropist Jane Batten said of The New E3 School, which currently enrolls more than 90 students. “We hope that as a laboratory school, we’re gathering the data, and we can go to the legislature and say ‘this works, you need to do this throughout the state of Virginia.’”

“We really strived to create a model that would be cost-sustainable, and replicable,” said Lisa Howard, President and CEO of The New E3 School, acknowledging that not every locality would have the advantage of a state-of-the-art building. “What we wanted to do was to be able to create something where you could take everything happening inside, and it could happen anywhere.”

Beyond the STREAM-focused curriculum, Howard said that professional development and coaching are also key elements of the program, which is also highly data-driven and results-oriented.

“We’ve developed a first-in-the-state kindergarten assessment, and we’re delighted to report that with this U.Va. curricula package, our children are entering kindergarten meeting or exceeding entry benchmarks,” said Howard, adding that socioeconomic diversity is critically important and accounted for in the school’s operating model.

“We have low-income children, we have middle-income children, and then we have high-income children,” Howard said.

“Our hope for this, and the big promise of this school, is that everything that is happening inside will actually be rolled out statewide and piloted in other programs, impacting even more children,” concluded Howard.

For more information on E3: Elevate Early Education and the new WE3: Women Elevating Early Education initiative, visit To learn more about The New E3 School, visit


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