COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, YOUTH AND CULTURE

BILL NO.

29-0011

Twenty-Ninth Legislature of the Virgin Islands

February 8, 2011

An Act amending title 17 Virgin Islands Code by adding chapter 20 providing for a voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four year olds under the Department of Education

PROPOSED BY:

Senators Alvin L. Williams, Jr. and Samuel Sanes Co Sponsors: Alicia “Chucky” Hansen, Shawn Michael Malone, Patrick Simeon Sprauve and Janette Millin Young

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Be it enacted by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands: SECTION 1. Title 17 Virgin Islands Code is amended by adding chapter 20 that reads as follows: “CHAPTER 20 PRE-KINDERGARDEN PROGRAM §231 (a) The Department of Education “Department” shall establish a

Territorial-wide pre-kindergarten program for four-year olds. (b) The purpose of the preschool program is to provide an opportunity for all

young children in the Virgin Islands to enter school ready to learn by expanding access to quality preschool curricula for all children who are four years old.

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(c) 82 of this title.

The pre-kindergarten program is voluntary, and not compulsory under section

§232 (a)

The curriculum for the program must comprehensively address the

total developmental needs of the child, including physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs, must help children develop their interpersonal and socialization skills and must include aspects of health care, nutrition, safety, the needs of the family and multicultural sensitivity, in coordination with other resources for families. (b) The pre-kindergarten program mandated in section 231 program must have a

strong parental involvement component, a staff development component and a procedural process to enable the Department to monitor and evaluate the program. (c) The Department shall, in addition to the requirements, set forth in subsections

(a) and (b) provide for the following in establishing the program: (1) Screening for physical health problems that have the potential to

inhibit school success; (2) (3) Screening for learning disabilities; Screening for other family and other social environmental problems

that have the potential to inhibit school success; §233 (a) The Virgin Islands Board of Education, “Board” upon the

recommendation of the Commissioner of Education, shall adopt rules establishing the eligibility criteria, program standards and procedures for the administration of the program. (b) The rules must at a minimum prescribe: (1) (2) Maximum and minimum teacher-to-child ratios and class sizes; Applicable Territorial and federal program standards to be

incorporated into the program; (3) Criteria for selection of students;

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(4) (5) (6) operates; (7)

Student learning standards; Parental involvement in the program; The days of the week and hours of the day during which the program

The coordination of the program with existing medical, health and

social services, including a child development and health screening component; (8) (9) provisions for participants to receive breakfast or lunch; The coordination of program philosophy and activities with the

Territory’s elementary school program; (10) (11) The implementation of an evaluation component; The collaboration with participating families, early care providers,

community licensed child care centers, private pre-school programs and other agencies and community organizations that provide services to young children and their families; and (12) Such other criteria, standards and procedures as the Board considers

appropriate to carry out the purpose of this chapter. §234. The Department of Education shall track the progress of students served by each pre-kindergarten program in connection with the students' performance in elementary and secondary education.” SECTION 2. The pre-kindergarten program established in SECTION 1 shall commences at the beginning of the 2012/2013 school year. SECTION 3. The Commissioner of Education shall prepare a budget pursuant to 2 V.I.C. §23 for the implementation of the pre-kindergarten program established in SECTION 1. SECTION 4. The pre-Kindergarden program will be funded from the General Fund.

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BILL SUMMARY The bill amends title 17 Virgin Islands Code adding chapter 20 and requires the Department of Education to establish a pre-kindergarten program for children four years of age. The purpose of the program as provided in internal section 232 to provide an early opportunity to young children to develop interpersonal and socialization skills. Internal section 232 also requires the pre-kindergarten program to screen for physical health problems, learning disabilities and other family and social environmental problems that have the potential to inhibit school success. Internal section 233 mandates the Board of Education, upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Education, to adopt rules establishing the eligibility criteria, program standards and procedures for the administration of the program. Internal section 234 requires the Department of Education to monitor the progress of the children who participated in the pre-kindergarten program. Section 2 of the bill sets the time for the program to commence at the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year. Section 3 requires the Commissioner of Education to submit a budget for the pre-kindergarten program. The program is intended to be funded within the fiscal year executive budget process.

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