Past, Present, and Future

The AEII initiative was born out of a plan to ensure that all of Virginia’s state-funded (VPI) preschool classrooms provide a high-quality learning experience for young children.

Young child playing with drum sticks while teacher holds shaker.

How We Began

In response to a charge from the 2018 General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) created a plan to ensure that all of Virginia’s state-funded (Virginia Preschool Initiative, or VPI) preschool classrooms provide a high-quality learning experience for young children.

The plan called for quality improvements in three areas:

  • The use of an integrated, evidence-based curriculum.
  • Better assessment of teacher-child interactions in the classroom.
  • More effective professional development opportunities to support teachers’ practice.

 

A Call to Action

Out of this plan, the Advancing Effective Interactions and Instruction (AEII) initiative was born.

Implemented by the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), AEII was charged with two responsibilities: 1) To better understand the quality of interactions and instruction in VPI classrooms, and 2) To support the implementation of effective professional development that helps teachers consistently provide high-quality learning experiences for children.

 

AEII Highlights So Far

In years 1 and 2 of the AEII initiative, classroom observations of teacher-child interactions were conducted in 1282 VPI classrooms across 120 divisions using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System® (CLASS®). Early patterns indicated that, on average, VPI classrooms provided supportive levels of emotional support and classroom organization, with lower levels of instructional support.

Based on these observations, AEII provided over 2,500 teachers and education leaders with the supports, tools, and resources needed to identify tailored professional development options. AEII also supported 122 school divisions via ongoing regional, local, and individual meetings, trainings, and webinars.

In March 2020, the General Assembly expanded the charge to all publicly funded preschool classrooms, including VPI, Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), Title I, and 3-year-old classrooms.

 

Happening Now

The AEII initiative is completing observational assessments of the quality of interactions and instruction in publicly funded (VPI, ECSE, Title I) classrooms. By the end of the 2021-22 school year, all VPI, ECSE, Title I, and 3-year-old classrooms will be observed. 

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AEII will only observe classrooms with in-person instruction. The observation team is implementing various observation modalities to use in classrooms in coordination with each school division’s health and safety protocols.

Classroom observation data and division-level professional development (PD) data will inform AEII’s consultation to support education leaders in making effective decisions around curriculum and professional development needs.

This fall, we are rolling out new Social-Emotional and Equity resources for all early childhood programs to address increased needs related to COVID-19. Resources such as videos, webinars, and guides for leaders will support PD for teachers in professional learning communities (PLCs), trainings, coaching, and/or self-study sessions.

 

Looking Ahead

By Fall of 2022, AEII aims to help all publicly funded (VPI, ECSE, Title I) classrooms across the state to provide higher quality early learning experiences to Virginia’s children. AEII will ensure all classrooms continue to monitor the quality of teacher-child interactions through biannual, independent CLASS® observations. In addition, publicly funded classrooms will continue to work toward effectively implementing approved early childhood curricula, which foster children’s academic and social-emotional learning in developmentally appropriate ways. The AEII team will continue to support education leaders across the Commonwealth to engage in continuous quality improvement, using data to determine which professional development opportunities will be most valuable to teachers.

THE JLARC REPORT - VIRGINIA

Improving Early Childhood Development

In 2016 the General Assembly directed Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to identify and review state-supported early childhood development programs to determine the best strategy for future early childhood investments.

SUPPORTING VPI CLASSROOMS

Improving Virginia's Early Learning

In response to a charge from the 2018 General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) created a plan to ensure that all of Virginia’s state-funded (VPI) preschool classrooms provide a high-quality learning experience for young children.