Voluntary Prekindergarten Prepares More Students For Success In Key Learning Areas (02/26/09)

For Immediate Release 
February 26, 2009   

Robby Cunningham, (850) 245-7130 
DOE Press Office, (850) 245-0413

~ Latest Readiness Rates show VPK students are better prepared for kindergarten ~

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith and Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation Interim Director Cynthia R. Lorenzo today jointly announced more than 140,000 kindergarteners are better prepared for success in the classroom as a result of Florida's Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program.  According to the 2007-08 VPK Readiness Rates released today, 54 percent of students who completed Florida’s VPK program last year demonstrated overall classroom readiness compared to 42 percent of students who did not attend VPK.

“These latest results reinforce that children who participate in Florida’s VPK program are better equipped to embrace a lifetime of learning,” said Interim Director Lorenzo.  “Quality early learning experiences provide the foundation that children need to be avid learners, caring citizens and ultimately conscientious contributors to our workforce and our future.”

“Children are born with an incredible capacity and desire to learn,” said Commissioner Smith. "The VPK results announced today show us that by tapping into this potential at the earliest of ages we are ensuring that our students are getting the head start they need to succeed in both school and life.”

VPK Readiness Rates measure how well a VPK provider prepares four-year-olds for kindergarten. Providers are rated on a scale of zero to 300 based on how well their students performed in the three key early learning areas of alphabet recognition, sound recognition and classroom readiness. Parents can find out more about the performance of a specific VPK provider by visiting https://vpk.fldoe.org/InfoPages/ReportCriteria.aspx.  

The VPK program is designed to prepare every four-year-old in Florida for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. The VPK program gives each child an opportunity to perform better in school and throughout life with quality programs that include high literacy standards, accountability, appropriate curricula and qualified instructors.

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 the issuing of credentials for child care personnel.

For more information, visit the VPK Readiness Rate Fact Sheet.

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