Press Releases

Governor Kaine to Highlight Early Childcare Improvement Pilot Program in Roanoke

June 25 2009

Building Children’s Futures of Greater Roanoke is hosting a roundtable discussion and site visit to highlight Virginia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.

(February 2008) – Building Children’s Futures (BCF) announced today that Governor Kaine, along with several constituents, will be participating in a tour and roundtable discussion at the Honey Tree Early Learning Center in Salem, VA. on Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 11:30 A.M. The purpose of the visit is to highlight Virginia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) as a way of highlighting the QRIS as facilitating public-private aspect of preschool. QRIS is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system that utilizes state licensing as a foundation and establishes a continuum of clearly defined Star levels of increasing quality. Virginia’s Star Quality initiative provides early learning sites with a roadmap for continuous quality improvement, while participation also gives programs the positive community recognition they deserve for their continued dedication to achieving higher standards and improving quality.

The five standards in the QRIS—education, qualifications and training; interactions; staff to child ratio and group size; learning environment and instructional practices; and partnering with families and communities—have indicators that must be achieved for each Star rating.

Roanoke is 1 of 10 localities across the state selected to pilot Virginia’s QRIS Through a grant from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and local community matching funds, Building Children’s Futures of the Roanoke Region has been able pilot the QRIS program in four local early learning centers across the Roanoke Region. The following early learning sites are currently participating in the QRIS:

  • Northwest Child Development Center (private, non-profit in City of Roanoke)
  • Raleigh Court United Methodist Child Care (private, faith-based in City of Roanoke)
  • Step, Inc. (a Headstart facility in Franklin County)
  • Honey Tree Early Learning Center – Salem (private, for-profit)

Building Children’s Futures, a Smart Beginnings Coalition, brings together United Way of Roanoke Valley, CHIP of Roanoke Valley, Council of Community Services, TAP Head Start, Roanoke City Public Schools, Blue Ridge PBS, Highland Park PYP, Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, Franklin County Public Schools, Virginia Western Community College, Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital, Roanoke City Child Protective Services, Pediatric Neurodevelopment Clinic, Roanoke County Schools, Greenvale School, Inc., Roanoke County Dept. of Social Services, Infant & Toddler Connection of the Roanoke Valley, and the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce. The grant will enable the coalition to strengthen early childhood education by implementing best practice programs:

  • Helpful Opportunities for Parents to Excel (HOPE) Home Visits
  • Reach Out and Read (ROR)
  • Parent Meetings and Workshops
  • Professional Development System at Pilot Sites
  • Mental and Behavioral Health Intervention and Support at Pilot Sites

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About the Building Children’s Futures of the Roanoke Valley: A coalition of non-profit organizations and educational institutions formed to improve the quality of early childhood programs and services in the Roanoke region by implementing a systemic and unified approach to early care and education ensuring that more children in the Roanoke region enter kindergarten emotionally, socially, academically, and physically ready to succeed in school and in life. The Roanoke region includes the Cities of Roanoke and Salem and Roanoke, Botetourt, Craig, and Franklin Counties. Offices are located at 210 S. Jefferson Street, Roanoke, VA 24011. (540)983-0700x225.

About the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation is a public-private partnership with a mission to provide collaborative leadership to foster Smart Beginnings for all young children in Virginia and through them a vital future for the Commonwealth. Our vision is that all of Virginia’s youngest citizens will enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed in life. The VECF is a 501C3 nonprofit organization located at 2201 W. Broad Street, Suite 109, Richmond, VA 23220. (804) 358-VECF(8323). For more information, visit Virginia Early Childhood Foundation

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“The Virginia Star Quality Initiative can raise the bar on early childhood education, but success will depend on consumers demanding it.  Help spread the word."

Elizabeth Strother, Editor Roanoke Times

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

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