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Home REL Northeast & Islands About REL Northeast & Islands U.S. Virgin Islands Partnership to Strengthen the Early Childhood Workforce

U.S. Virgin Islands Partnership to Strengthen the Early Childhood Workforce

In 2019, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) legislature passed USVI Act 8270, which requires all prekindergarten (preK) through grade 3 teachers to have early childhood certification by October 1, 2023. Through establishing this act, the USVI legislature has signaled that it recognizes that setting the Islands’ young children on a path to school and lifelong success will require a highly qualified early childhood workforce. This sentiment is in line with growing evidence that suggests the qualifications of early childhood teachers impact the quality of early childhood education environments and of child outcomes.1 Addressing the education of the Islands’ youngest learners is important since recent data show that 57 percent of children in the USVI are below kindergarten age-level proficiency in language,2 and only 18 and 14 percent of students in grade 3 are proficient in ELA and in math, respectively.3

The U.S. Virgin Islands partnership aims to improve kindergarten readiness and elementary outcomes for all preK–3 students, particularly in literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning, by strengthening the early childhood educator workforce. REL Northeast & Islands will support the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) and partnership members with a multi-year training project to design three evidence-based modules that will allow USVI early childhood and elementary teachers to earn micro-credentials toward certification in early childhood and be eligible to teach in grades preK–3. The micro-credentials will serve as a pathway to certification for teachers who are already certified as elementary educators and who want to teach in early childhood grades. These activities will build on previous work with VIDE to identify pathways to early childhood certification. REL Northeast & Islands will also develop an infographic on the early childhood workforce, including certification pathways, which will be disseminated to current and prospective educators and policymakers.

Partner Organizations: Virgin Islands Department of Education, St. Croix School District, St. Thomas/St. John School District, University of the Virgin Islands

1 Manning, M., Wong, G. T., Fleming, C. M., & Garvis, S. (2019). Is teacher qualification associated with the quality of the early childhood education and care environment? A meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 89(3), 370–415. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3102/0034654319837540

2 The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (n.d.). Kids Count Data Center: Language in the Virgin Islands https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/10309-language?loc=54&loct=4#detailed/4/any/false/1755,1744,1651,1650,1499,1728,1481,1092,1091,1649/6376,6383,6384/19940

3 Virgin Islands Department of Education. (2020). VIDE 2019 Report Card. https://viconsortium.com/editor_new/source/2019%20School%20Report%20Card%20Release%201-21-2020%20-%20PDF.pdf

Current Projects

This project builds on a previous project that produced three micro-credential modules focused on playful learning. To help build knowledge of and support for the modules, REL Northeast & Islands will curate a packet of materials on joyful learning that can be shared with parents, administrators, and other USVI stakeholders. In addition, the project will develop supports for administrators who are interested in creating group learning opportunities in which teachers can complete the modules and discuss the content and implementation of the recommended practices in their classrooms, including a brief facilitators guide.

Completed Projects

REL Northeast & Islands collaborated with the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) to design three online, self-paced micro-credential modules focused on evidence-based practices for playful learning. These modules allow early childhood and elementary teachers in USVI to earn micro-credentials toward certification in early childhood so they will be eligible to teach in PreK– grade 3 classrooms. REL Northeast & Islands partnered with VIDE to gather input from educators and administrators to ensure that the modules are responsive to the local context and meet the needs of USVI early childhood educators.
Product Type: Blog | Publication Date: April 01, 2024
Bringing joy back to early childhood classrooms is a key priority for the U.S. Virgin Islands. This blog explores the value of joyful learning, what playful classrooms look like, and strategies to help educators bring joy to the classroom so children...
Partnership | Approved Date: March 14, 2024
This partnership aims to better understand the extent to which students from underrepresented groups have access to and are enrolling in New York’s early college programs, as well as the outcomes experienced by participating students.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership aims to identify and address opportunity gaps in access to and participation in career and technical education and work-based learning, particularly for students in underrepresented groups and those in rural locations.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership aims to improve kindergarten readiness and elementary outcomes for all PreK–3 students—particularly in literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning—by strengthening the early childhood educator workforce.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership aims to improve student outcomes by building educators’ capacity to design and implement clear, data-driven communication with families about students’ academic and behavioral progress.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership strengthened partners’ capacity to collect data on personalized learning programs to monitor progress and drive continuous improvement.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership aims to improve kindergarten readiness and early elementary outcomes for students by supporting the adoption, scale-up, and evaluation of play-based learning practices in kindergarten classrooms across the state.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
Through this partnership, district leaders are seeking ways to bolster students’ mathematics learning by providing intervention in addition to core instruction.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership will address the need to understand original and inventive approaches to persisting problems of practice to help ensure that all students have access to rich and rigorous learning opportunities to improve student absenteeism, engagement, and social-emotional learning.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership aims to reduce opportunity gaps among historically and currently underserved student groups in terms of the number of high schools offering early college opportunities and the percentage of students earning college credits and participating in early college opportunities.
Partnership | Approved Date: N/A
This partnership aims to build the capacity of Connecticut teachers to use research-based instructional strategies to facilitate mathematics learning for middle grade multilingual learners (MLLs), with the long-term goal of increasing middle grade MLLs’ mathematics achievement.

REL Northeast & Islands Logic Model (170 KB)

REL Northeast & Islands Logic Model