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Vermont Universal PreK Research Partnership


In 2014, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 166, providing state-funded, universal access to prekindergarten (preK) for 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and preK 5-year-olds through a mixed-delivery system of public and private providers at no cost to families. The Vermont Universal PreK Research Partnership formed to address research questions that will assist the state in successfully implementing the new universal preK model. The Partnership commenced in the first year (2016/17) of full implementation of universal preK in Vermont (Act 166) and is informing the state’s ongoing policy and practice decisions for the program.


  • Support the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) and Agency of Human Services (AHS) by conducting research studies and providing research technical support to address questions related to the implementation of universal preK in Vermont.
  • Use research and evidence to inform refinement to regulations of Act 166.
  • Investigate enrollment patterns in state preK and examine the characteristics of approved preK programs.


Clare IrwinClare Irwin
Senior Research Associate
REL Northeast & Islands


Research Study: Unpacking Universal PreK in Vermont: Patterns of Program Enrollment
This study is using data from the first year (2016/17) of implementation of Vermont’s universal preK initiative to understand the characteristics of children enrolled in different preK programs (type and quality rating), the geographic characteristics of the preK programs, and the factors related to enrollment in particular program options (both type and quality rating). Since families may enroll their children in any qualified preK program of their choice, this analysis of enrollment patterns will provide important information about how universal preK is being implemented in Vermont and will inform future changes and implementation. Learn more.

Webinar: The Path Forward for the Early Education Workforce: National Policies and Examples from Vermont (October 19, 2017)
Hosted in collaboration with the Early Childhood Workforce Development Research Alliance, this webinar introduces participants to The Early Childhood Workforce Index, a 2016 report that provides the first comprehensive look at early childhood workforce issues and policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Co-author Dr. Caitlin McLean presented specific findings and implications raised by the report. Following this presentation, Vermont early childhood leaders Melissa Riegel-Garrett and Tierney O’Meara discussed their state’s universal prekindergarten initiative and its implications for the state’s early childhood workforce. View event details.


Name Title Organization
Heather Bouchey Deputy Secretary Vermont Agency of Education (AOE)
Wendy Geller Director of Analysis and Data Management AOE
Kate Rogers Early Learning Programs Manager AOE
Laura Greenwood Universal Prekindergarten Program Manager AOE
Caroline Martin AOE Support Data Analyst; University of Vermont Fellow AOE
Reeva Murphy Deputy Commissioner, Child Development Division, Department for Children and Families (DCF) Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS)
Melissa Riegel-Garrett Policy Director, Child Development Division, DCF AHS