January 20, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Seeking to make the administration of early childhood education services more effective, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) is studying how states implement pre-K programs and other major initiatives for young children. West Virginia is one of four states selected to participate in the study.

NIEER seeks to learn how state offices responsible for early childhood learning operate and how their capacities, functions and staffing impact effectiveness. In addition to West Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama and Michigan are also included in the study. The Heising-Simons Foundation is providing financial support for the study.

“West Virginia was selected for the study because it meets high standards for quality early childhood programs, has evidence of effectiveness, and offers the opportunity to learn about how the West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Early and Elementary Learning works with stakeholders to meet goals for young children,” said Lori Connors-Tadros, senior research fellow at NIEER.

NIEER hopes to identify specific capacities and functions and leadership and staffing factors that contribute to office effectiveness while learning how offices execute their authority to implement programs.

“The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has worked diligently to integrate early learning programs and strategies into our practices and processes. This approach allows us to align a pre-K – 12 focus into everything that we do,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “We are honored that NIEER has selected the WVDE’s Office of Early and Elementary Learning as one of four state offices of early learning nationwide to participate in this important study.”

At the end of the study, NIEER will prepare a report sharing what it has learned about the competencies and capacities of effective state offices of early childhood learning, including strategies, policies, practices and resources needed to support programs at scale in a sustainable system.

The National Institute for Early Education Research, which is in the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy and practice through independent, objective research.