Press Releases

Smart Beginnings Receives Grant from VDSS

February 20 2010

(February 2010) –Smart Beginnings of Greater Roanoke recently received a $57,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services. These funds will be used for the local implementation of the Virginia Star Quality Initiative during 2009-2011. The Virginia Star Quality Initiative provides a consistent way to distinguish the level of quality in early education programs, allowing parents to make more informed choices about where they
send their children.

Smart Beginnings is a collaborative of community leaders from business, school systems, nonprofits and private individuals working together to ensure that every child in the Roanoke region enters kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. It operates through the support of various local funders like United Way who believe in the value of investing in the community’s youngest citizens.Four childcare centers in the Roanoke Valley became among the first in Virginia to receive their STARs through this rating system in May this year. Early learning providers who participate in this voluntary program are provided with a guide to continually improve the quality of their services. The Virginia Star Quality Initiative awards early childhood programs one of five star levels of increasing quality. Participation and the award of a one-star or higher rating reflects a program’s choice to raise the bar in commitment to quality beyond expectation or requirement. However, the rating is only the first step of the process. After receiving a rating, programs can improve their quality through mentoring and other assistance. All these sites earned a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

The initiative is administered in partnership by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Office of Early Childhood Development.

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"The impact of our community's collective efforts around school readiness through Smart Beginnings has captured the attention of many people around the world. It demonstrates that positive changes can happen when we are focused, and collect quality data for the same outcomes in a coordinated and collaborative manner."

 Frank Rogan, United Way of Roanoke Valley president & CEO

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The United Way of Roanoke Valley serves as the fiscal agent for Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke.

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