In recognition of the Commonwealth’s ten-year investment in Smart Beginnings (2006-2016), the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation is proud to present this edition of Virginia’s School Readiness Report Card through the lens of a decade’s trends in key indicators of school readiness. The trends in state averages over the ten-year term are positive on nearly all of the indicators tracked by VECF. In other words, a top-line view of the data provides the perspective that, in most aspects, children are faring better now than they were ten years ago in terms of readiness for school and school success.
But a closer look brings a more sobering view that is the reality for many of Virginia’s families. In one (and arguably the most influential) indicator – children birth to age 4 living in poverty – the trend line over the decade has grown worse. As the numbers and percentage of children living in poor families increases, we must anticipate that in coming years, the insidious impact of poverty will likely threaten the gains evidenced in other indicators over the past few years.
To ensure that all children in Virginia are healthy and well prepared to begin kindergarten and be successful in school and life, it is essential that we have data to guide our efforts. Virginia’s School Readiness Report Card 2016 and the companion mapping tool provide an opportunity to examine ten-year trend lines on key data indicators that help us understand strengths and gaps and inform targeted interventions.
To prepare well for a second decade of intentional school readiness strategies, VECF and our partners are committed to harnessing these data to spur and sharpen our efforts as we reaffirm the profound importance of supporting smart beginnings for all children, in all families and communities, across the Commonwealth.
PDF version of official report.