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 (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 year 1 of the AEII initiative, classroom observations of teacher-child interactions were conducted in almost 550 VPI classrooms across 50 early adopter 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 1,000 teachers and education leaders with the supports, tools, and resources needed to identify tailored professional development options. AEII also supported 50 school divisions via ongoing regional, local, and individual meetings, trainings, and webinars.

 

Happening Now

The AEII initiative is completing observational assessments of the quality of interactions and instruction in VPI classrooms. By the end of the 2019-20 school year, all 1,300 VPI classrooms will have been observed over the past two years. AEII consultants are also gathering and reviewing professional development plans for all 122 school divisions. Together, classroom observation data and division-level PD data will inform AEII’s consultation to support education leaders in making effective decisions around curriculum and professional development needs.

 

Looking Ahead

By Fall of 2020, AEII aims to help all VPI classrooms across the state provide Virginia’s children with higher quality early learning experiences. AEII will ensure all classrooms continue to monitor the quality of teacher-child interactions through biannual, independent CLASS® observations. In addition, all VPI 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.