VPI Pre-Kindergarten Expansion Program
Funding an additional pre-kindergarten classroom through the Virginia Pre-K Initiative (VPI) in Winchester, VA
- Increasing access for an additional 18 low-income 4-year old students
- Classroom will be activated for the 2021-2022 school year
- 3-year MOU with Winchester Public Schools (WPS)
- Funding will cover a licensed teacher, aide, classroom, curricula, and materials•J2W will act as the local match in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia
- Goal will be to demonstrate measurable success and transition funding to WPS in Year-4
Measures of Performance
Program Now Closed
- Goal: To increase access to quality early learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged children.
- The Winchester Public School Virginia Pre-K Initiative (VPI) classroom program is an expansion of the existing VPI classrooms already operating within WPS. In 2016, WPS launched 8 VPI classrooms, totaling 144 low-income 4-year old students. The VPI grant is a matching local/state grant whereby WPS funds 43% of the total cost and the Commonwealth of Virginia funds the other 57%. J2W is providing the local match for the addition of a 9th VPI classroom, bringing the total number of students eligible for public pre-k to 162.
- Intent: We believe we can improve kindergarten readiness by increasing the number of public pre-k seats with an additional 18 students per year. We expect that overall kindergarten readiness scores, as measured by the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP), will demonstrate increased readiness over time.
- We will measure academic performance of the VPI students by using the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS). PALS will be tested twice the course of each year. We will also measure the Child Behavior Rating Scale (CBRS) annually, which will assess the students’ social-emotional development.
- We will measure teacher performance by using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS Observation). As a Preschool Development Grant (PDG) recipient, WPS is required to conduct CLASS Observations on the VPI classroom teacher. The CLASS tool assesses 3 areas: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. CLASS Observers will score the VPI teacher 2/year.
- After Year-2, we will measure kindergarten VKRP scores to see if the VKRP scores of students that attended the VPI program are demonstratively higher than children that entered kindergarten not attending the WPS VPI program.
- Our sustainability goal is this data will demonstrate that VPI does make a difference, as seen through improved readiness scores. With that data, we are hopeful WPS will see its value and advocate to the School Board for long-term funding of this classroom.
- Initial results:
a. We were able to initially enroll a full classroom of 18 students during the pilot year; however, over the course of the year, we did lose 3 students for various reasons and ended the year with 15 children. Overall, we were hoping to see more low-income 4-year old students in a program within the city (goal was 180 students), but our best guestimate was we had 157 students in a program, leaving an estimated shortfall of 73 students without quality programming.
b. We saw material improvement in both PALS scores and CBRS social-emotional scoring over the course of the year. While we did not hit our goals, the children made great strides. Our pre-COVID baseline for PALS (67% ready) dropped dramatically at the start of the year (23% ready), but climbed to 51% (still did not hit our internal goal of 67%). Our pre-COVID baseline score for CBRS (3.4) was surpassed by the end of the year (3.81) but did not hit our internal goal of 3.85. We believe the effects of COVID are still impacting these children. This specific Pre-K4 classroom closed out, but WPS still has 8 additional classrooms that we expect to see progress in these areas over the next few years.
c. Teacher improvement over the course of the year was tremendous, as reflected in their composite CLASS scores. Emotional Support and Class Organization scores were not able to get to pre-COVID baselines, but did exceed our internal goals. Instructional Support both exceeded internal goals and our pre-COVID baseline.
d. This project closed for two reasons:
i. Underenrollment, as a national issue in the public school sector, did not reflect the need for 9 classrooms. The school district, over the last 2.5 years, had been underenrolled by approx. 18-20 students, which can be filled by the existing 8 classrooms.
ii. We are taking the opportunity to pivot the funding for the 9th classroom into a pilot Pre-K3 classroom, where we will be able to now support (for the first time ever) 3 year old students in a public Pre-K program. Our theory of change that we will be testing to see if we can see greater kindergarten readiness from children having two years of pre-kindergarten vs one year or none (please see our Pre-K3 Winchester current programs page).