RICHMOND –Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia will receive $17.5 million through the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. These funds will allow the Commonwealth to continue to serve at-risk four-year-olds in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs across the state.
A total of over $247.4 million was awarded to 18 states across the country in this third round of Preschool Expansion Grant awards. The Commonwealth has been awarded an annual amount of $17.5 million since 2014, following a rigorous application process.
“Providing our children with high-quality preschool education is essential to giving every Virginia student the start he or she needs to succeed in school and prepare for a successful career in the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am proud of the work our administration has done to expand access to Pre-K for all students, so that a child’s zip code or his parent’s financial situation does not dictate his or her prospects for future success. These grants will further that mission and help Virginia remain a leader in early childhood education.”
These additional funds will continue to improve upon the already successful Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) and expand services to four-year olds and their families in high need communities. This combination of instruction, outreach and support is known as VPI+.
In the first year of the grant, a total of 2,804 children and their families were served in new or improved preschool classrooms. During the second year of the grant, Virginia’s school divisions set goals to serve over 3,300 at-risk students.
The school divisions receiving continued funding under this grant include:
“Virginia remains committed to expanding educational opportunities to underserved populations in every corner of the Commonwealth, and that includes increasing access to high-quality pre-kindergarten,” stated Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “This third round of grants will ensure that even more of our youngest students receive the education they need and the resources they deserve.”
“As a result of these grants, Virginia will have several years of data on how high-quality preschool, coupled with support for families and research-based professional development for teachers, can improve outcomes for young learners,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said.
The Virginia Department of Education will continue to lead the implementation of the Commonwealth's Preschool Expansion Grant, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Department of Health, UVA and VECF.