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Scott County Head Start receives highest-level accreditation in Virginia

Staff Report • Feb 22, 2019 at 9:30 PM

GATE CITY — Scott County Head Start’s Shoemaker Center 4 has achieved Level 5 accreditation, which is the highest rating a center can receive through Virginia Quality, the state’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system.

The achievement was announced Friday by the United Way of Southwest Virginia. By reaching this standard, early learning programs show their staff, families and community that they are committed to high-quality early learning.

“We are so proud that Shoemaker No. 4 is one of only three Level-5 rated centers in our region,” said Cindy Raymond, child development services coordinator for Scott County Head Start. “This shows the quality of services that the children and families are receiving in Scott County and the dedication and desire for the staff to provide the highest level of services, which is always our goal.”

The Virginia Quality Levels (1-5) provide a framework for program improvement. Each level builds on the one before it and prepares programs for the level that comes next.

A Level 5 center like Shoemaker Center 4 provides children with meaningful learning and play through a variety of materials and activities. At the center, there are daily, supportive interactions between teachers and children that build social and cognitive learning.

Quality rating and improvement systems exist in most states and are a proven strategy to systematically improve the quality of child care and early learning programs, according to a press release. Participating in Virginia Quality assures families that the program is committed to offering the best available care and education according to Virginia’s standards.

In Southwest Virginia, approximately 130 child care providers participate in Virginia Quality, which is administered in the region through the United Way of Southwest Virginia.

Members of the United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Childhood Success Team provide technical assistance to center staff to prepare them for a Virginia Quality rating, which includes on-site classroom assessments, observations of teacher interactions with children and recommendations for improving the environment for the students.

“I congratulate Scott County Head Start for this achievement, which is a reflection of the hard work they do every day to help children be prepared to succeed in school and life,” said Travis Staton, president and CEO of the United Way of Southwest Virginia. “I believe the continuous support of our Childhood Success Team has helped an already exemplary program achieve this milestone.”