Late this summer, the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Early Learning released their Early Learning Annual Report. It outlines progress towards Creating a 20/20 Vision for West Virginia to become leaders of literacy. 

West Virginia’s longstanding commitment to early learning efforts is evident across early learning programs; specifically, the state is one of a very small handful of states in the nation with free, full-day, five-day kindergarten for all children AND voluntary universal pre-k to all four year old children (and three year old children with special needs).

West Virginia’s Universal Pre-K program serves as the original catalyst that led to the development of a statewide comprehensive approach to early learning.

Key Facts and Data about West Virginia Universal Pre-K:

  • West Virginia is one of six states in the nation to meet all 10 benchmarks for quality pre-k programming, as determined by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).
  • West Virginia is one of six states in the nation serving between 61%-80% of the state’s four-year-old population, serving 76% in 2016.
  • Legislation requires that a minimum of 50% of WV Universal Pre-K classrooms must be collaborative with community partners; in 2016, 81% of the WV Universal Pre-K classrooms were in partnerships with Head Start and/or childcare.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s 3rd Grade Literacy efforts serve as the newest catalyst for the development and subsequent growth of a comprehensive approach to early learning in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has been developed to assist all 55 West Virginia counties in closing the literacy achievement gap in West Virginia by the end of the third grade. These efforts are supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Board of Education, the West Virginia Legislature, as well as Governor Tomblin’s administrations.

This systemic process has been designed to ensure the success of all young children in West Virginia, and focuses on four major components:

  • School readiness
  • School attendance
  • Extended day and extended year learning
  • High-quality classroom instruction.

The long term goals of the WV Leaders of Literacy: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading are to improve student achievement and close the 3rd Grade Literacy achievement gap, ultimately ensuring all West Virginia students graduate high school with the skills and dispositions required for college and/or career readiness.

Read the West Virginia Early Learning Annual Report.

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