In Year 1, R1CC worked with the Vermont Agency of Education (VAOE) to understand the current landscape of preK programs in the state, including the location, quality and access to various prekindergarten (preK) programs. R1CC supported VAOE in identifying and collecting preK program data to populate a geographic information system (GIS) map. The GIS map was then used to visualize regional preK information including program type (public school versus private program), quality rating score, Head Start locations, and program licensed capacity. This information allowed stakeholders to gain a better understanding of where programs with different characteristics are located. In addition, population characteristics and local education agency (LEA) boundaries were mapped, highlighting preK availability by LEA and by the characteristics (e.g., poverty level) of the population in a given area of the state. Finally, the maps provided an indicator of drive times to preK programs, highlighting areas of the state that do not have a program within a 10-, 20-, or 30-minute radius.
In Year 2, R1CC will continue to use the GIS map to understand the state’s cradle-to-career initiatives, including the impact of COVID-19 on the availability of preK programs and will share the map with the Vermont legislature as they revisit potential changes to Act 166, Vermont’s preK legislation. Year 2 efforts will expand the PreK GIS map developed in Year 1 to include post-COVID-19-pandemic PreK programming data and data related to social services and wrap-around supports. The R1CC team will also support state and local stakeholders to develop action plans that align with local priorities and leverage regional assets.
Learn more about this project in our blog: Mapping the Availability of Universal PreK in Vermont