2021 General Assembly Session
- $85m for early learning previously unallocated from the 2020 budget is fully restored.
- Dedicated funding for over $20,000 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds to have access to quality early learning programs.
- $11.1m to increase the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) per pupil amount from $6,326 in FY 21 to $7,655 in FY22 to improve quality.
- $5m in FY22 to recruit and retain early educators (Early Educator Recruitment and Retention Incentives).
- $444k to increase access for 3-year-olds.
- $642k to allow flexibility for early learning programs (class sizes, ratios, and meeting the needs of working families).
- $205k for the Deputy Superintendent of Early Childhood position in the Department of Education (DOE) to oversee early learning and provide leadership.
- $300k to expand the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) to preschool classrooms.
- $300k to eliminate waitlists in VPI.
- $36m for the G3 program (part of the funds will support early educator workforce training).
- Language to increase access through partnerships between private programs and school divisions.
- Language to expand access for special education children in VPI.
2020 Special Session biennial budget includes:
- $37.3m restored for the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI), the state’s programs for at-risk four-year-olds (FY 22).
- $3.0m for the Early Educator Incentive Program to attract and retain teachers.
- $60m in federal funds directed to support early education programs during the health crisis.
COVID 19 Health Crisis:
- E3 leadership, The New E3 School and other early education stakeholders provide expertise in developing guidelines and protocols during the health crisis.
- E3: Elevate Early Education and Early Education Matters campaign supporters push for the Northam Administration to secure $10m in GEER funds to increase access and improve quality for children. Governor Northam is the only governor to allocate GEER funds to early education.
- The STREAMin3 pilot continues amid COVID for another year with private funding. 82 programs remain in the pilot.
2020 General Assembly Session:
The budget and legislative package including $85m for early education priorities and historic policy changes passed with bipartisan support. As part of the legislative package:
- An Early Childhood Advisory Committee will advise the Board of Education and focus on the quality rating system and transition of licensing and subsidies.
- The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) teams will collaborate to transition early education to VDOE by July 2021.
- Transitioning early education from the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
- Increasing access to quality for all children in publicly funded programs.
- Improving quality in the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) for at-risk children.
- Expanding VPI to three-year-olds through a mixed-delivery program.
- Increasing VPI per pupil amount.
- Aligning the health, safety (currently 727 regulations) and quality standards for licensed programs under VDOE.
- Providing support to attract and retain early childhood educators.
These funding priorities are critical pieces to making whole our efforts to improve access, quality, equity and a lasting impact for early education in Virginia.
Special note: We applaud the efforts of Governor Northam and the General Assembly for calling a budget timeout amid the COVID-19 health crisis to reassess the economic damage and outlook for future state revenues. Governor Northam acted on over 1,200 pieces of legislation including HB1012 and SB578. This legislation moves policy in the right direction to improve access, quality and equity for Virginia’s children and families. Sadly, the budget amendments proposed by the governor unallot the $85m to support the historic early education investments and all new funding given the economic uncertainty and the need for a revenue reforecast.
- E3 launches the Early Education Matters advocacy campaign and nonpartisan coalition to advance our legislative priorities. The campaign and growing coalition works to advance early education for all children in the areas of access, equity, quality and impact.
- VPI classrooms in 123 school divisions are observed using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observation tool that measures teacher-child interactions across learning domains. All classrooms will be using a vetted curriculum (from a state-determined list per JLARC) by 2021.
- All kindergarten classrooms across the state are mandated to participate in the pre-assessment (fall 2019) and post (2020).
- 44% of Virginia’s kindergarten students enter school not ready.
- 112 classrooms in private, faith-based, VPI & Head Start programs pilot the curriculum, professional development, coaching and assessment model developed by UVA in The New E3 School.
- 11 communities, over 1,500 infants, toddlers and preschoolers and 207 teachers impacted.
- Leveraged public-private funding from Obici Healthcare Foundation, The Alleghany Foundation and individual donors for the pilot.
- All children receiving scholarships meet or exceed the benchmarks in literacy, math, self- regulation and social skills.
- Every classroom meets or exceeds the benchmarks in each of the CLASS domains.
- All four-year-old children meet or exceed the benchmarks for literacy, math, self regulation and social skills regardless of socioeconomic background.
Legislative Results – $6m in Targeted Investments
In response to some of the JLARC findings, E3 develops a House-led 2018 budget package alongside policymakers designed to advance high quality early education and advocated for $6 million in targeted investments that include: VKRP – Mandate that the VKRP be implemented in all kindergarten classrooms in the fall and spring to show student growth and provide professional development for teachers and school divisions to help them use the data effectively to improve teaching and learning in the classroom.
- Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) – UVA CASTL observes teacher-child interactions and works with the Virginia Department of Education to develop a plan to ensure that children in VPI programs receive high quality early education experiences. Professional development is provided to improve classroom instruction.
- STREAMin3 Pilot – 112 faith-based and private classrooms pilot the UVA CASTL designed STREAMin3 curriculum, professional development and coaching model developed in The New E3 School. A preschool version of the VKRP assesses the readiness of children.
- Directs the VPI Joint Subcommittee to review JLARC’s recommendations related to Virginia’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS).
- E3 in partnership with UVA CASTL, philanthropists and legislators develop policy initiatives designed to advance high-quality early education.
- WE3: Women Elevating Early Education is launched. The goal is to cultivate, ignite and unite women as advocates for early education across the state. Over 70 women participate.
- Children in The New E3 School meet or exceed the benchmarks for math, literacy and self-regulation skills. Some four-year-olds do not meet the benchmarks for social skills.
- JLARC releases the report on early education entitled, “Improving Virginia’s Early Childhood Development Programs.” Recommendations from this study align with E3’s Policy Initiatives developed in partnership with UVA CASTL.
- $900,000 state appropriation is allocated to UVA CASTL to continue implementation of VKRP across the state.
- 63 school divisions participate in VKRP. 40% of students in participating divisions enter kindergarten unprepared in at least one learning domain.
- Four-year-old children at The New E3 School meet or exceed the benchmarks for math, literacy and self-regulation skills. Some four-year-old children do not meet the benchmark for social skills. An action plan is developed.
- 45 school systems participate in VKRP. 40% of students in participating divisions enter kindergarten unprepared in at least one learning domain.
- The House Rules Subcommittee (Patron: Delegate Chris Jones) and the Senate Rules Committee (Patron: Senator Tommy Norment) unanimously pass the JLARC study on early education and JLARC begins the one-year study.
- 21 school divisions participate in VKRP. 36% of students in participating divisions enter kindergarten lacking readiness skills in at least one of the learning domains of literacy, math, self-regulation or social skills.
- $1m state appropriation is allocated to UVA CASTL for voluntary statewide implementation of the assessment.
- E3 advocates for a JLARC study on early education to analyze the expenditures and outcomes of state-funded programs supporting children prenatal through age five.
- The New E3 School opens as a privately-funded, state-of-the-art, demonstration-model school focusing on the most important elements of high quality that improve outcomes for all children.
- The innovative STREAMin3 model developed by UVA CASTL includes:
- Early education curriculum
- Professional development for teachers
- Coaching to implement the model with fidelity
- Assessments of children, teacher child interactions and classroom quality
- E3 in partnership with UVA Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) pilots The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP), a comprehensive school readiness assessment. Results from a statewide representative sample define the readiness gap for the Virginia General Assembly:
- 34% of participating children arrive at kindergarten unprepared in at least one critical learning domain (literacy, math, self-regulation and social skills).
- Over 2,000 kindergarten students drawn from 100 classrooms and 41 schools within 16 districts across the eight superintendents’ regions of Virginia are assessed in the pilot
- E3 secures a $200,000 James M. Cox Foundation Challenge Grant for The New E3 School and outfits the building with furniture and materials. The grant is matched $1:$1.
- The Hampton Roads Community Foundation establishes a $6.5m Early Education Fund for The New E3 School.
- A regional board of trustees comprised of business, civic and philanthropic leaders is appointed. The official groundbreaking for The New E3 School in Park Place is attended by community leaders.
- E3, in partnership with UVA CASTL, policymakers and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), launches a multi-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 kindergarteners and clearly define the readiness gap.
- Implement a voluntary, statewide, comprehensive readiness assessment that includes the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS), Virginia’s current literacy screening tool, and use the data to inform public policy.
- E3, VDOE and policymakers commission a study led by researchers at UVA CASTL to test the validity of a widely-used commercial assessment, TS Gold. Recommendations from the validity study lead to the development of a comprehensive readiness assessment for Virginia kindergarteners that is integrated with PALS and includes pre- and post-tests that have the capacity to show student growth from the beginning of kindergarten through third grade.
- E3 raises $3.5m for the design and build of The New E3 School, a model early education program to be located in the Park Place neighborhood of Norfolk.
- UVA CASTL partners with E3 to develop an early childhood curriculum, professional development, and coaching model for the school that can be replicated by other programs statewide.
- E3: Elevate Early Education, a statewide bipartisan, issue-advocacy organization is created by business, civic and philanthropic leaders to make early education a priority in Virginia. A 2011 study informs the development of E3’s three-pronged legislative strategy:
- Define the problem by working in partnership with UVA Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) to create The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP), a statewide comprehensive kindergarten assessment.
- 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.
- Prove to legislators that investment in early education leads to improved academic outcomes by creating The New E3 School.
- The legislative strategy results in three initiatives:
- A statewide political strategy committee is formed with leaders from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, business and civic leaders throughout Virginia. The committee determines a study on the issue of early child education is needed.
- A government relations firm conducts a study to learn where early education stands as a priority among Virginia’s legislators and stakeholders. This leads to the creation of E3: Elevate Early Education.
- In 2005, The Hampton Roads Community Foundation, business, civic and philanthropic leaders created Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads (SBSHR), a regional early education initiative.
- SBSHR moved the meter from 1 in 5 kids not ready for kindergarten to 1 in 10 by raising awareness, advocating for public-private investment, building capacity and improving quality in the region.
- The regional organization was dissolved when the leadership of SBSHR and investors recognized that work was needed at the state level to move policy and investment in the right direction for children.