Program Assessment and continuous quality improvement is a systemic process to determine strengths and areas for improvement for future planning. A continuous quality improvement process is necessary in order to ensure that programs not only meet the needs of children and families, but also maintains goals for best practices. Programs must analyze current practices to determine how to make adjustments to meet the needs of children and families as needs change over time. Program assessment and continuous quality improvement is essentially program research to determine and adjust goals and ensure appropriate program evolution. Chapter five includes key topics that are integral to program assessment and continuous quality improvement.
Collaborative contracts must include provisions for program oversight and protocols to address concerns or issues that arise among partners and within the team. Program oversight must be defined in the contracts between the community program and the county board of education. These include, but are not limited to, staff evaluation and discipline, health, and safety concerns, communication process, and impasse procedures. Protocols should be specified within collaborative agreements of each participating WV Pre-K program. Teams must consider the roles of each partner and classroom administrators when developing and implementing a program oversight protocol. Collaborative Head Start classrooms are monitored for compliance with the Head Start Performance Standards in partnership with local and federal Head Start personnel. Childcare centers must be licensed under W. Va.§78CSR1, WVDHHR Childcare Center Licensing. Child care centers are reviewed by child care licensing specialists as part of child care licensing regulations. Information provided by reviewing agencies should be made available to all partners in collaborative classrooms. Provisions for program oversight should include a process for reviewing of monitoring results from federal Head Start, and child care licensing, as applicable.
WVBE Policy 2525 requires county collaborative early childhood teams develop and maintain a continuous quality improvement process, which includes an annual plan for collecting and analyzing program assessment data to establish school readiness goals, assuring children have the best available resources prior to entering first grade. The continuous quality improvement process, or CQI, must include annual results from several sources to assist in programmatic decision-making. While the process is ongoing, three required data sources must be utilized annually:
- WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist (within the first forty-five days of the first day of school)
- county aggregated child outcome
- classroom observation data
The continuous quality improvement process utilizes a systemic course of collaborative planning, collecting, and analyzing data from a variety of sources to make informed decisions. Information and tools to support counties in implementing a CQI process is provided in the WV Universal Pre-K Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Guidance Manual.
West Virginia Universal Pre-K Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Guidance Manual
The West Virginia Pre-K Continuous Quality Improvement Guidance Manual is designed as a blueprint to support effective ongoing program analysis and quality improvement efforts. The WV Universal Pre-K CQI Guidance Manual includes an overview of the continuous quality improvement process through a three-step process of planning, collecting, and analyzing. The guidance manual houses two observation tools utilized in the CQI process. The first is West Virginia Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist, which must be completed in the first forty-five days of school. Further information on The WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist is provided in the next section. The West Virginia Universal Pre-K Observation Walkthrough is another observation tool provided in the guidance manual. This is an observation tool designed to assist classroom supervisors, coaches, specialists, and other county collaborative early childhood core team members in observing portions of a day in pre-k. The WV Universal Pre-K CQI Guidance Manual also includes the CQI Toolkit. The CQI Toolkit is provided as a resource, but is not required. The toolkit includes four tools to support each step of the CQI process.
WV Universal Pre-K Observation Walkthrough
The WV Universal Pre-K Observation Walkthrough is a tool designed to assist classroom supervisors, coaches, specialists, and other county collaborative early childhood core team members in observing portions of a day in pre-k. The Observation Walkthrough is divided into five sections. The Environmental Overview section is a quick policy, health, and safety checklist that may be completed alone or along with one of the other four sections. The other sections are Group Times, Child Choice, Outdoor/Indoor Gross Motor, and Meals/Snack. Each section can be completed through a fifteen to twenty minute observation during specific times of the day throughout the school year. The WV Universal Pre-K Observation Walkthrough can also be completed in its entirety during one longer observation. Information gathered during observations can be utilized as a data source in the county’s universal pre-k continuous quality improvement process. The WV Universal Pre-K Observation Walkthrough is housed in the WV Universal Pre-K Continuous Quality Improvement Guidance Manual.
Health and safety requirements in WV Universal Pre-K classrooms include several key areas to ensure that children are in environments that are optimal for learning and risks are minimized. Health and safety requirements include provisions for healthy and safe environments, healthy practices, health care procedures, and child abuse and neglect policies.
WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist
The WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist must be completed each year within forty-five calendar days of the first day of the school year. It was designed to assist county collaborative early childhood teams in ensuring healthy and safe environments in all universal pre-k classrooms. This checklist was developed through the work of a comprehensive stakeholders group, which was comprised of early childhood experts in universal pre-k programs from across the state to meet state and federal requirements. This process was developed to support healthy and safe environments in WV Universal Pre-K classrooms and to meet Head Start requirements. The WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist is aligned with the Head Start Health and Safety Screener to capture all federal regulations and state health and safety policies. The WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist can be completed in lieu of the Health and Safety Screener to minimize program redundancy. The Head Start Health & Safety Screener and WV Universal Pre-K Health & Safety Checklist Crosswalk illustrate how all content from the Head Start Health and Safety Screener are contained within the WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist for classrooms serving pre-school age children. The WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist is included in the appendices of the West Virginia Pre-K Continuous Quality Improvement Guidance Manual or linked at
- WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist
- Head Start Health & Safety Screener and WV Universal Pre-K Health & Safety Checklist Crosswalk
A downloadable copy of the WV Universal Pre-K Health and Safety Checklist and accompanying Head Start Health & Safety Screener and WV Universal Pre-K Health & Safety Checklist Crosswalk can be accessed at https://webtop.k12.wv.us/0/apps/elrs.
Healthy and Safe Environments
Provisions for healthy and safe environments are addressed in WV Universal Pre-K through requirements for indoor space, outdoor space, maximum class size, and adult supervision. The following are key requirements supporting healthy and safe environments:
- Classrooms must provide thirty-five square feet of usable space per child.
- Classrooms are limited to twenty children with no less than two adults.
- There must be two adults present with children at all times, one of whom is a teacher. This defines adequate supervision in WV Universal Pre-K.
- When children with disabilities are enrolled, ratios defined in WVBE Policy 2419, Section 4 must be met.
- Children must have adequate supervision at all times, including during gross motor and mealtimes.
- Transportation requirements must be met in order to ensure safety when children transition to and from school.
- Outdoor areas must provide seventy-five square feet of space per child.
- Outdoor play areas are enclosed on all sides by a natural barrier or secure fence.
- A natural barrier must have the strength and density to prevent humans and animals from entering or exiting the playground and with a bottom edge that is less than three and one-half inches from the bottom.
- A fence must be at least four feet high with a bottom edge that is less than three and one-half inches from the bottom and have no openings greater than three and one-half inches.
- Outdoor play areas must have two exits. Exits that do not lead to indoors must have closure mechanisms that prevent children from opening them, but can be accessed by adults.
- Outdoor play areas must have equipment that is appropriate, safe, and support the curriculum and children’s development.
Several health practices should be in place in WV Universal Pre-K that supports healthy habits, development of children, and minimize health risks through every day routines. Four key items addressed in WVBE Policy 2525 are such practices that must be included in the daily pre-k routines.
- Teeth brushing- All children enrolled in WV Universal Pre-k must have appropriate daily opportunities for supervised practice of brushing teeth. Daily teeth brushing should include oral health hygiene practices and include teaching technique and proper storage to prevent cross contamination. The areas where children brush teeth should be sanitized daily to further prevent cross contamination.
- Rest time- A regular rest period shall be scheduled and utilized in WV Universal Pre-K. Additionally, individual rest time should be provided when a child desires or exhibits the need to rest. Rest time does not require that all children nap each day. In fact, many children of preschool age do not nap daily. Those children who do not nap should have the opportunity to continue learning in a manner that is not disruptive to children who do need more rest. Rest times must include the following provisions to support individual needs of children:
- The rest area shall be set up to reduce distraction or disturbances from other activities.
- Other activities may be available for those children who need less rest time.
- Appropriate sleeping equipment shall be provided by the program. Children are not permitted to sleep on the floor, in a sleeping bag, or on linens without mats or cots.
- Each child’s bedding must not be shared or stored with others.
- Handwashing- Staff members and children shall follow best hand washing practices incorporated throughout the day, including washing with soap and warm, running water for at least 20 seconds. All WV Pre-K classrooms must incorporate best practices for hand washing and disease prevention measures, as specified in Policy 2423.
- Daily health observations- Children in WV Pre-K classrooms shall be observed by staff daily for changes that may indicate injury, infestation, fever, or illness. Staff should record any observed changes in the child’s file and notify the family.
- Health Care Procedures
Health care procedures address prevention of injury, illness, infestation, and cross-contamination. When health care procedures are implemented as an integral part of a program’s routine, prevention becomes the best process for ensuring that staff, children, and volunteers are safe and healthy. The following procedures and practices must be in place in all WV Universal Pre-K Programs:
- Areas where children play, eat, work, and sleep should be cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent the spread of germs that cause illnesses.
- Staff members shall utilize universal precautions when exposed to blood and body fluids that might contain blood, as specified in Policy 2423.
- Basic health care procedures, such as toileting, oral feeding, mobility etc. should be requested and noted by the parent. Specialized health care procedures shall be prescribed by a medical provider with parent/guardian permission to be performed under the delegation and management of the certified school nurse based on W. Va. 126CSR25A, WVBE Policy 2422.7, Standards for Basic and Specialized Health Care Procedures, and W. Va. 126CSR27, WVBE Policy 2422.8, Medication Administration. This information should be provided to the WV Pre-K classroom staff through the HealthCheck screening form or other school health care procedure forms and shared with the school nurse to ensure training, clarification of medical orders, individualized health care plan development, and coordination of health care in the WV Pre-K program.
Child Abuse and Neglect Policies
All WV pre-k programs must implement and maintain policies and procedures for the reporting of child abuse and neglect. Program Child Abuse and Neglect policies and procedures must address key requirements to support staff in appropriate identification and reporting.
- Definition of child abuse and neglect.
- Specific requirements for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. These requirements must include A report must be completed immediately, in accordance with W. Va. Code § 49-2-803 et seq., any suspected incident of child abuse and neglect to Child Protective Services, or when the staff member believes that the designated person-in-charge would not or has failed to report the suspected incident.
- Information on reporting suspected child abuse and neglect.
The WV Universal Pre-K Program Review is conducted with each county a minimum of once every three years. Pre-K Program Reviews include a desktop review, classroom visits, parent survey, and core team interview. A WV Universal Pre-K Program Review Process document, three-year WV Universal Pre-K Program Review Memo and Schedule, and annual WV Universal Pre-K Program Review Memo and Schedule are available to assist county collaborative early childhood teams with the review process. Additionally, the WV Universal Pre-K Steering Team conducts an annual Pre-K Program Review webinar to provide an overview the review process with counties scheduled for reviews during the current school year. County collaborative early childhood teams are encouraged to utilize results from the WV Universal Pre-K Program Review in the continuous quality improvement process.