Quality Coach Program

Winchester, VA

Program Summary

Implementing a Quality Coach Pilot Program with Winchester-based Early Childhood Coalition

  • Work within the formal early childcare system to improve educator and student outcomes of targeted programs channeling students into Winchester Public Schools (WPS)
  • Early Childhood Coalition will be anchored by WPS Virginia Pre-K Initiative (VPI) and Head Start classrooms; however, additional subsidized private sector Coalition partners will be brought into the program over time
  • Quality Coach will mirror current VPI Quality Coaches in developing Coalition teacher action plans and usage of the CLASS evaluation tool
  • Theory of change: Quality Coach will improve early childhood educator skills, confidence, and capabilities which will then result in higher-quality academic/social-emotional learning environments for students, ultimately improving student performance and getting more students on level upon entering public school kindergarten
  • Will provide 3-years of funding to cover the cost of a Quality Coach employed by WPS
John & Janice Wyatt Foundation
John & Janice Wyatt Foundation
John & Janice Wyatt Foundation


“We need you for years to come!”

“Our Coach is an essential part of the teacher’s learning experience. She has become a valuable part of the day. She provides a new perspective to teacher’s lessons, classroom organization, and allows the teacher to learn new ‘teachable tools’ to offer the students.”

“I have seen an improvement in the teacher’s ability to cope with disciplinary challenges. Our Coach has helped with implementing ‘Conscious Discipline’ in our rooms. She has become a great role model for the teachers and I look forward to having her coach the teachers in the future!”

“All the directors we have talked to who work with the J2W Quality Coach have expressed both the need and the positive effect of her coaching in their centers.  Directors have found her coaching method to be effective with their teachers by providing ways to improve quality in instruction, planning and being an advocate for their teachers. Directors have stated that her presence is making positive changes in their centers.”

Measures of Performance

For more information, please see Data Analysis section at the bottom of the page

Measures of Performance

For more information, please see Data Analysis section at the bottom of the page

End of Program Data Analysis

1. Goal: To improve the quality of early learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged children.

2. The Quality Coach program was mirrored off the Virginia Pre-Kindergarten Initiative (VPI) Instructional Coach model, whereby a Winchester Public School instructional coach worked directly with the VPI classroom teachers to improve teacher skills and classroom organization, ultimately with the goal to provide an improved classroom environment where children can thrive.

3. The Quality Coach worked almost exclusively within the formal early childcare center-based programs that pipeline students into the public school system.

4. We measured teacher performance by using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS Observation). As a Preschool Development Grant (PDG) or Mixed Delivery Grant (MDG) recipient, these center-based programs are required to conduct CLASS Observations on the teachers. The CLASS tool assesses 3 areas: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. CLASS Observers will score teachers 2/year.

5. By the beginning of the 3rd year, we developed our own scaled-down internal literacy assessment, based on the PALS model, that can be used by all of the private centers in our community in order to create a uniform assessment tool across centers. We were able to launch this tool in the fall of 2023 across most of the participating programs.

6. Initial results:

  1. In the first year, we launched the program with a total of 3 programs and 5 classrooms (one VPI expansion class at WPS, 2 Head Start classrooms, and 2 Childhaven classrooms), totaling 63 students. By year two at the end of 2022, we had 5 programs, with 8 classrooms, totaling 85 students. Completing our third and final year, the program had 5 programs, but grew to 13 classrooms with 164 students. The Coach directly and positively impacted 20 teachers over 3 years. These results reflect the growth of the program and the trust of the community in this strategy, earning a “green” health score.
  2. Our teacher CLASS Observation scores were generally positive over the course of the program, showing growth over time in all 3 fields at various points. That said, the last year did see some score reductions in two fields and some unexpected improvement in one field. We scored Emotional Support Growth as a “yellow” (goal was 6.28, while receiving a 5.3 which decreased from 5.62 in the fall). We scored Classroom Organization as “yellow” (goal was 5.48, while receiving a 4.8 which decreased from 4.96 in the fall). Lastly, we scored Instructional Support as a “green” (goal was 2.5, while receiving a score of 2.5 which was an increase from 1.96 in the fall). Fidelity in CLASS scores over the 3 years has some question, so these scores are not necessarily reflective of the success and value of the program. Reasons included changing of programs over time (losing WPS VPI PreK4 and, at times, Head Start classrooms caused significant fluctuations in the overall aggregated scores) and teacher turnover. Over 40% of all teachers were replaced at some point within the 3-year program. Sometimes, high quality teachers (high CLASS scores) were replaced by new teachers that needed significant assistance (which, while reducing numerical scores, was also a big value proposition for the program in being able to train those most in need).
  3. We did complete one full year of our initial PALS-modified literacy assessment across several of these programs in the spring of 2024. Our goal was to have 50% of the students participating meeting benchmarks by the end of year assessment. Our baseline assessment of meeting benchmarks was 21% and we ended the year with 44% meeting benchmarks. Thus, while we saw strong growth in literacy achievement over the year, we still scored this metric as “yellow.” One significant noted challenge: Many of our teachers were not experienced in handling the increased negative behaviors of students, as well as increased developmental delays (reasons for these increases were not explored). Systemically, the only material behavior support tool available is virtual through the University of Virginia. We believe many teachers felt overwhelmed at times and in survival mode. Providing coaching on literacy goals or CLASS action planning was, at times, not their first priority. Sometimes it was just surviving the day.
  4. We also launched a program satisfaction survey at the end of our 2024, 3-year grant:
    • 100% of teachers believed the Quality Coach model positively impacted their professional development and growth, earning a “green” score (goal was 95%).
    • 81% of teachers being coached believed the program better prepared students for the next academic year. 19% remained neutral and 0% said the program negatively impacted students. With a goal of 95%, we scored the impact of the program on student performance as “yellow.” We might note the teachers’ beliefs correlated positively with the inability of the classrooms to meet the literacy goal mentioned in line c above (not achieving 50% benchmarks on the literacy assessment).

7. The Quality Coach program did not fully meet its program sustainability goals. WPS determined it did not have the public funds to continue the program in its current form. The program design and results were provided to the WPS School Board and all seemed to recognize its overall value to the community. That said, it was not funded for school year 2024-2025. It must also be mentioned WPS did not provide further funding for its other VPI Quality Coach, which has been in place and demonstrating strong results for over 8 years.

8. That said, the Quality Coach program had several unforeseen value-adds:

  1. The Coach was hired in the summer of 2024 to oversee all CLASS evaluations in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, thus increasing reach across the region and providing a high-level of quality assessment to teachers in multiple jurisdictions. This position will still have strong impact on teachers and classroom improvement at no cost to J2W or our local community.
  2. The Coach was also selected to participate on the Ready Region Blue Ridge (RRBR) Steering Committee and act as the lead agent for the RRBR sub-regional leadership team. RRBR oversees and coordinates early childhood strategy across the region. This will provide a stronger voice, a more efficient means of communication within the early childhood sector, and likely more funding and resources to be injected into our local community.