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MEDIA ADVISORY

June 18, 2007

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Sets Minimum Kindergarten Readiness Rate for VPK Providers

MIAMI – The State Board of Education today established the 2005-06 Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Provider Kindergarten minimum readiness rate. All VPK providers that earned a readiness rate of greater than 200 (201 or higher) out of 300 possible points are considered satisfactory providers of the VPK program. Of the 3,772 VPK providers, 3,216 providers scored above the minimum rate. This is the first time the State Board has set a VPK minimum readiness rate.

“The establishment of the minimum readiness rates by the State Board of Education allows parents to assess a provider’s performance based on results,” said Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg. “VPK is a powerful tool that provides children with a firm foundation for increased success through their academic career."

Low-performing providers are required to submit an improvement plan to their early learning coalition or school district by August 21, 2007. Support will be available to low-performing providers through the Early Learning Coalitions, Department of Education, Agency for Workforce Innovation, Department of Children and Families, community colleges and private provider networks. Providers identified as low performing for three consecutive years will no longer be eligible to provide the VPK program. This year, 556 providers scored below the minimum rate.

Final 2005-06 VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates were announced last week following a two-week period for providers to submit disputes to the Department of Education. Parents and other interested persons can check a searchable, online database with readiness rate reports for individual VPK providers at https://vpk.fldoe.org/.

VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates include only the results of children who participated in VPK during 2005-06. The rate is based on the scores of children who attended VPK and who participated in the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) – a screening instrument given to children within the first 30 days of kindergarten. The FLKRS is administered by district public schools to all public school kindergarten children. Children who participated in VPK and attended a non-public school for kindergarten were also provided the opportunity to participate in the screening.

The FLKRS includes selected measures from the Early Childhood Observation System™ (ECHOS™) and the first two measures of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills™ (DIBELS™) – those measuring Letter Naming Fluency and Initial Sound Fluency. The readiness rates are based on children’s performance on these three measures.

To calculate the rate, each part of the screening tool is assigned a percentage based on the number of children ready. For example, if eight out of 10 children are ready for kindergarten on the ECHOS™, the VPK provider would receive 80 percent. The sum of all three screening results is totaled to establish the readiness rate of the VPK provider. The highest rate a provider could receive is 300 (100 percent for each of the three screening tools).

Not all providers received readiness rates. Readiness rates were only calculated for providers with a minimum of four children who were enrolled in the VPK program for 85 percent or more of the total instructional hours and participated in each of the three kindergarten screening measures.

Final readiness rates indicate that children who participated in the state’s Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education program performed better on the FLKRS than children who did not participate in the program. Further, children who attended the VPK program less than 85 percent of the time still scored higher on the FLKRS screening measures than children who had no exposure to the program.

Florida’s VPK program is jointly administered by the Department of Education, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, and the Department of Children and Families. The Department of Education oversees standards, curricula and professional development; the Agency for Workforce Innovation administers the day-to-day operations of the program including policy development, financial management and oversight of the 31 Early Learning Coalitions; and the Department of Children and Families provides oversight of child care licensing, regulation, Florida’s Gold Seal Quality Care program and issues credentials for child care personnel.

For more information on VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates, visit https://vpk.fldoe.org/.