VPI+ Grant Enables FCPS to Launch Pilot Preschool Program Beginning in 2017-18

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2017
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 ext. 88235

The Virginia Department of Education has awarded Frederick County Public Schools a Virginia Preschool Initiative-Plus grant (VPI+) worth $280,825 that will fully fund the implementation of a pilot preschool program to serve at-risk four-year-olds during the 2017-18 school year. The grant, which requires no local funding match, will cover all of the cost associated with the preschool pilot program in 2017-18. The school division has also been notified that the grant will be extended for a second year which will enable students to be served in 2018-19 as well.

Schools Superintendent David Sovine says, “We are extremely excited to be able to pilot a preschool program next year for a limited number of at-risk students. There is a great deal of research showing the tremendous value a high-quality preschool program provides to students, particularly those considered at-risk. We have seen great gains in the achievement of our community’s youngest learners since implementing full-day kindergarten divisionwide three years ago, and believe offering a preschool program will yield similar results.”

The initiative will serve a total of 36 students residing in the Apple Pie Ridge, Redbud Run and Stonewall elementary school attendance zones. The students will be equally divided into two classrooms, one located at Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School and another at the Senseny Road School. The areas that will be served by the pilot program were selected based upon the number of at-risk students residing in them.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jim Angelo says, “Some of the details regarding the program are still being worked out as we only learned of the grant award recently. We anticipate being in a position to begin accepting applications from eligible students for the preschool program in the next few weeks. Only students whose families meet the guidelines for the VPI+ program will be eligible to apply for a spot. Eligibility is based primarily on the income guidelines set forth in the VPI+ grant. Those guidelines set the maximum family income for program participants at 200 percent of the federal poverty rate. If we receive more than 18 applications for each of the classes being offered, the 18 students who will benefit the most from participating in the program will be offered admittance with the other applicants being placed on a waiting list. While we would like the offer the program to as many students as possible, the grant is very prescriptive and the funds that have been provided will only support two classes of 18 students each at this time.”

Sovine says, “The VPI+ curriculum is based on Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year-Olds. The standards cover literacy, mathematics, science, history and social science, physical and motor development and personal and social development. In addition to providing high-quality preschool experiences and activities to students, the program offers focused outreach to families as well as individualized support for children with unique learning needs, including students with disabilities and English language learners. The VPI+ program has proven successful in a number of school divisions across Virginia, including Winchester, and we look forward to it making a positive impact on students and families in Frederick County.”