NVFS Head Start Program Receives Three-star Rating

(Oakton, Va. – December 10, 2014)  NVFS’ Head Start program at its Arlington Child Development Center recently underwent an assessment by Virginia Star Quality Initiative (VSQI), which rates early childhood programs throughout the Commonwealth, and came away with a rating of three stars. The Head Start program, which serves 240 students, is located at 1801 N. George Mason Drive in Arlington. The Arlington Child Development Center is part of NVFS’ early childhood development program, which offers center-based and home-based Head Start and Early Head Start, and the Healthy Families home visitation program to 1,200 children.

“This rating from the Virginia Star Quality Initiative is a win for the Arlington community,” said Mary Agee, NVFS president and CEO*. “It is state-wide recognition that when students enroll with NVFS Head Start, they are going to be ready for kindergarten.”

Each participating program is given a rating, from one to five stars. The star rating serves as an indicator of the quality of care provided at each center and of their commitment to go beyond basic expectations and licensing requirements.

To earn the three star rating, the Arlington Child Development Center went through a voluntary and extensive review process that includes documentation review and on-site classroom observations in four standard areas: teacher qualifications, interactions between teachers and students, learning environment, and instructional practices. Of the 16 other VSQI programs listed in Northern Virginia, it is one of two programs in Arlington to be rated. There are currently 80 total early childhood centers throughout the Commonwealth rated by VSQI. The Arlington Child Development Center joins NVFS’ Early Head Start Center at Georgetown South in Manassas, which earned Virginia’s only Five Star rating in 2013. For a complete list of VSQI rated centers, please visit: http://www.smartbeginnings.org/home/star-quality-initiative/find-a-star-rated-family-child-care-home.aspx.

“NVFS Head Start Child Development Center nurtures the cognitive and emotional development of children, and provides wide-open spaces to encourage their physical development, as well,” said Malinda Langford, senior vice president of programs for children, youth and families at NVFS. “Head Start staff embrace the notion that our parents are the ‘first teachers,’ and encourage parents to take an active role in their development.” She credited the parents of the Arlington Head Start facility and their engagement in their children’s learning and development for the program’s success.

The Virginia Star Quality Initiative was established in 2007 through a partnership between the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Office of Early Childhood Development to help families find high quality child care programs throughout Virginia. Participating centers receive feedback on their classroom interaction and access to mentorship on the principles of interacting with children in ways that support learning and development. Through the VSQI Star Grant, the Partnership provides support to programs to improve the qualifications of their teachers, including increased access and financial support for training, and professional development scholarships to teachers to continue their education about the latest research and techniques to help children prepare for Kindergarten. The program is part of a Northern Virginia group serving Fairfax and Arlington.  http://www.smartbeginnings.org/home/local-smart-beginnings/smart-beginnings-locations.aspx)


*Mary Agee retired in 2015.