FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL VIRGINIA TO ANNOUNCE SUBSTANTIAL GRANT FROM W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION AWARDED TO SMART BEGINNINGS CENTRAL VIRGINIA

 

Lynchburg, VA / October 17, 2018: United Way of Central Virginia (UWCV) is pleased to announce to the community the substantial grant that has been awarded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to Smart Beginnings Central Virginia Program (SBCV) for $526,857 in support of the Early Education System Alignment Project (EESAP). This grant is a multi-year award (September 2018-August 2020) and will help facilitate SBCV’s mission of helping children be kindergarten ready and laying building blocks for third grade reading proficiency. Currently in Central Virginia, 1 in 7 children are entering kindergarten “not ready” and approximately 1 in 3 students are not reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

 

Children participating in the EESAP initiative have shown significant differences in readiness assessment outcomes compared to the kindergarten population at large.

 

This grant will fund a collaborative approach to align preschool quality across multiple areas to ensure that children from all ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds have equal access to high quality education.

 

Specifically, the EESAP funding will provide/allow for:

 

  • classroom-based coach training to preschool teachers;
  • community outreach to reach underserved children in targeted neighborhoods;
  • kindergarten-transition research;
  • further expansion of the Excellence in Children’s Early Language and Literacy (ExCELL) program;
  • pilot activities that bring public and private early education programs together;
  • training and support to regional school divisions to adopt the Classroom Scoring System (CLASS) as a pre-kindergarten classroom evaluation tool;
  • monthly professional development for participating pre-k teachers
  • an annual professional development conference open to all early childhood educators .

 

With the successful implementation of this innovative program, SBCV will increase the quality of pre-K programming and improve kindergarten readiness across multiple school divisions by August 2020.

 

“All children need high quality early learning experiences to prepare them for life-long success.  At the Kellogg Foundation, we’re proud to support grantees like the Smart Beginnings Network who address the inequities in early childhood education systems and structures in order to improve children’s learning across rural Virginia.”- Renee Blahuta, Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

 

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ABOUT UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL VIRGINIA

United Way of Central Virginia (UWCV) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to mobilize the compassionate power of our community to help improve the lives of Central Virginians. UWCV supports programs and services that focus on the areas of health, education, income and basic human needs. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycv.org.

 

ABOUT SMART BEGINNINGS CENTRAL VIRGINIA

Smart Beginnings Central Virginia (SBCV) is a program of United Way of Central Virginia. SBCV is a regional education initiative, working towards assisting children in Central Virginia to prepare them for kindergarten and lay the building blocks for third grade reading proficiency. SBCV serves the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell, Nelson and the city of Lynchburg. For more information, visit www.smartbeginningscv.org.

 

ABOUT THE W.K. KELLOGG FOUNDATION

WKKF was founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

 

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.