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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following contains a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

    1. What is the purpose of the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate Web site?

      The VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate website provides information about Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program to VPK providers, parents and other interested parties. The website enables users to review all VPK Providers Kindergarten Readiness Rates. Prior to the Readiness Rate being posted providers:

      • Review the list of children served in their program and submit corrected information if there are changes to the name, gender, date of birth or the number of hours each child attended. If a child has not been matched to their kindergarten screening results, providers may also submit information concerning the child’s kindergarten attendance to assist the Department in the matching process.
      • Coalitions review the information submitted and accept or decline any changes to the attendance data.
      • Providers may also file a Dispute if they believe there are inaccuracies in:

      • The number of Children Served
      • The number of Children Meeting Substantial Completion
      • The number of Children Screened on Any Measure
      • The number of Children in the Readiness Rate Calculation
      • Change of Ownership during the program period

      Once all changes have been made the State Board of Education (SBOE) sets the minimum readiness rate. VPK providers who do not meet the minimum rate are designated Provider on Probation (POP) and must acknowledge their status and develop and submit an improvement plan.



  • Provider Verification of Children Served
    1. What happens after a provider logs on to the Provider Home Page?

      The system will prompt you in a series of 4 steps to verify the list of children served in your VPK program (school year or summer). Step 4 will allow you to submit the list of children with or without changes.
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    3. Why am I being asked to verify the children who were in my VPK program?

      This is the information that will be used to calculate the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate for your program. The Provider Verification grid displays each child’s name, gender and date of birth, Hours Attended, Percent Completion*, Substantial Completion (Yes/No) ECHOS™ Participant (Yes/No), FAIR Participant (Yes/No) and In Readiness Rate (Yes/No).

      *To be included in your readiness rate, a child must have attended 378 hours (70%) of the school year program or 210 hours (70%) of the summer program and be matched to their kindergarten screening results on both ECHOS™ and FAIR. To receive a readiness rate your program must have at least 4 children who attended the required hours to qualify as substantially completing your program and who are also matched to both screening measures.
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    5. What do I do if everything is correct?

      If all the data is correct, you must click on the [Submit] button in Step 4 to indicate that you have reviewed the list and do not have any changes.
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    7. What if I change a child's hours to be either less or more than reported?

      You may change the hours attended only if they result in the child’s substantial completion status being changed. Any changes to the attendance data must be approved by your early learning coalition.
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    9. How long do I have to review and submit the data?

      The Provider Verification Process is open for approximately 30 calendar days.
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    10. What if a child is not matched to a screening result and I have information about the child’s FLKRS screening?

      If you know where a child who attended your VPK program is attending kindergarten you may submit that information to VPKQuestions@oel.myflorida.com and we will try to locate their screening results.
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  • VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate

    1. What is the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate?

      The Florida Department of Education/State Board of Education is required by law (Section 1002.69(5), Florida Statutes (F.S.)) to calculate a kindergarten readiness rate every year for each private or public school VPK Provider of either the School-Year (540-hour) or Summer (300-hour) program.

      The VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate measures how well a VPK provider prepares four-year-olds to be ready for kindergarten based upon the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year Olds (2011). The VPK Standards describe what four-year-old children should know and be able to do by the end of their prekindergarten year.
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    3. What information is used to calculate the readiness rate?

      The VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate is based on the screening results of children who attended and completed VPK. The screening is administered by public and non-public schools.
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  • Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS)
    1. What screener is administered?

      For the 2013-14 kindergarten screening, the FLKRS included a subset of the Early Childhood Observation System (ECHOS™) and, two measures from the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR), Letter Naming and Phonemic Awareness that provide a probability of reading success score.
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    3. How is a child's readiness for kindergarten determined by the two FLKRS measures?

      Readiness for Kindergarten has been determined to be the following:

      • ECHOS™ scores: Consistently Demonstrating or Emerging/Progressing
      • FAIR score: Probability of reading success score at or above 67 percent.
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    5. How will these scores be used to calculate the VPK Providers Kindergarten Readiness Rate?

      The percent of children ready for kindergarten on both measures is calculated by dividing the number of children substantially completing the program who score ready on both measures by the number of children substantially completing the program and screened on both measures.

      For example, if, out of a total of 22 children served by a VPK provider, 20 children attended at least 70% of the program and are screened on ECHOS™ and FAIR and 15 are ready, 15 divided by 20 equals 75 percent.

      The sum of the percent of children ready for kindergarten is the Readiness Rate. In the example above, the percent of children ready equals a readiness rate of 75.

      The maximum rate is 100.
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  • Provider on Probation
    1. How is the minimum readiness rate determined?

      After the readiness rate has been calculated for all providers, the State Board of Education will set the minimum readiness rate. (see Section 1002.69(6), F.S.).
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    3. What is a Provider on Probation?

      A Provider on Probation is a VPK provider whose readiness rate is at or below the minimum set by the State Board of Education.
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    5. How will a Provider on Probation be notified?

      Providers on Probation will be notified by mail and will be required to acknowledge their status and their intent to apply for a Good Cause Exemption online.

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    7. Are all VPK Providers included in the readiness rate?

      No, only providers who served at least four children who substantially completed either the School-Year or Summer program and are matched to their kindergarten screening results are included in the readiness rate calculation. 
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    9. What about the VPK Providers who aren't included in the VPK Readiness Rate?

      All 2012-13 VPK Providers will be listed when the final VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rates are released. If a provider did not receive a readiness rate, the reason will be displayed on the website.
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  • Improvement Process

    1. Who is required to submit and implement an improvement plan?

      Providers on Probation are required to submit and implement an improvement plan. The early learning coalition or school district, as applicable, shall require the provider or school to submit an improvement plan for approval by the coalition or school district and to implement the plan (See Section 1002.67(3)(c), F.S.).

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    3. How is an improvement plan created?

      After the provider acknowledges the designation as a Provider on Probation, an improvement plan template may be accessed online, which will be pre-populated with individual provider information. The first year a provider is designated a Provider on Probation they must complete a "Provider Needs Assessment" to identify targeted areas for improvement.

      The plan includes a list of targeted areas for improvement based upon a provider's needs assessment of its VPK program; a list of specific actions already taken, or proposed to be taken, for improvement in one or more of the targeted areas; and a timeline to implement the proposed actions. Providers who have been designated Provider on Probation must choose one of the Department’s 14 approved curricula or submit a staff development plan to strengthen instruction in language development and phonological awareness for the Department’s approval as a target area.(See Section 1002.67(3)(c), F.S.).


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    5. Can a Provider on Probation continue to provide VPK if an Improvement Plan is not submitted and approved?

      No. A Provider on Probation cannot begin instruction for a new VPK class or program and will not receive funding for VPK until an Improvement Plan has been submitted and approved.
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    7. If a VPK Provider school site is a Provider on Probation but will no longer offer VPK at the same site or for the same program type for which it was designated as a Provider on Probation, does the provider have to complete and submit an Improvement Plan?

      No. But if in the future the VPK provider decides to offer VPK at that site or for the same program type for which it was designated as a Provider on Probation, an Improvement Plan must be submitted and implemented prior to the start of that VPK program. Please note that all Providers on Probation must complete the provider acknowledgment.
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    9. When must a Summer or School-Year Provider on Probation purchase a DOE-approved curriculum or submit a staff development plan?

      A summer provider who has been designated a Provider on Probation must show proof of purchase of a Department of Education approved curricula or submit a staff development plan to the early learning coalition prior to starting their subsequent summer program.

      A school-year provider who has been designated a Provider on Probation must show proof of purchase of a Department of Education approved curricula or submit a staff development plan before executing a new Provider Agreement, or before beginning instruction in the next school year.
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    10. What is the timeline for the submission of an Improvement Plan?

      An Improvement Plan must be submitted within 30 days of the online submission of the Provider Acknowledgment.
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    12. Will a provider be notified once the plan is approved?

      Yes. To find out if a plan has been approved a provider should log on to the readiness rate Web site to view their status (pending, approved or disapproved) by clicking on the link for the Improvement Process home page. [Click on image to view its larger/smaller version]Image for help topic
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    14. What happens if a provider's plan is disapproved?

      A coalition or school district has 14 calendar days from the date the plan is submitted to approve or disapprove. If a plan is not approved, the provider's status will be displayed as "disapproved" until the provider revises the plan as instructed by the coalition or school district. An amended plan must be submitted within 30 calendar days from the date of disapproval.
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  • Needs Assessment
    1. What is a needs assessment?

      A needs assessment includes the process of collecting and examining information about early childhood program strengths and weaknesses, and utilizing the data to determine priority goals, develop a plan, and allocate funds and resources. An example of a needs assessment is an environmental assessment.
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    3. If a provider has not had a needs assessment done in the last year, how much time do they have between the acknowledgement of being a low-performing provider and the time to complete an improvement plan if they need to have this done?

      If a provider has not already completed a needs assessment, it should become a part of the improvement plan.
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  • Environmental Assessment
    1. What is an environmental assessment?

      An environmental assessment includes the process of measuring, collecting and interpreting information about an early childhood program. An environmental assessment considers elements such as space arrangement, furnishings, health, safety, adult-child interaction, materials, activities, supervision, and program structure.
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  • Target Areas for Improvement
    1. How does a provider decide which target areas to choose for improvement?

      Target areas are based on the results of a needs assessment. If you have not completed a needs assessment yet, look at the target areas and choose actions that you know you have not implemented in your VPK program. Also, if you answered "No" to questions on the provider acknowledgement, those subject areas can be added here as targeted areas for improvement.
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    3. What is a developmental assessment?

      A developmental assessment can be both an informal or a structured evaluation of a child's development - physical, language, intellectual, social, and emotional - by a developmental assessment specialist, or a team of professionals that can include a pediatrician, language specialist, audiologist, occupational therapist, child psychologist, and child psychiatrist, among others.

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    5. What are examples of administrative and management practices?

      Program Management includes effective implementation of policies, procedures and systems that support strong program management including stable personnel, fiscal soundness, program accountability, record keeping, professional development and continuous program improvement.

      Examples of actions that can be taken to improve this area are:

      • Policy and procedures manuals
      • Staff orientation and regularly scheduled staff meetings
      • Professional development plans for all staff
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    7. What are developmentally appropriate curricula?

      The curriculum used in a VPK classroom should include active learning experiences that are child-initiated, as well as those planned and initiated by the teacher. The program should implement a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promote learning and development in each of the developmental domains addressed in the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year Olds (2011) adopted by the State Board of Education.

      Examples of actions that can be taken to improve this area are:

      • Professional development opportunities for staff regarding curriculum
      • Participation in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Standards training
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    9. What is the classroom learning environment?

      The program should provide a safe and healthy environment that provides appropriate, well-maintained, organized, and accessible indoor and outdoor physical environments. The learning environment includes facilities, equipment and materials to facilitate children's and staff's learning and development.

      Examples of actions that can be taken to improve this area are:

      • Health and Safety checklists
      • Effective room arrangement strategies
      • Developmentally appropriate materials and equipment
      • Organized and accessible materials
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    11. What are classroom instructional practices?

      Instructional practices include the use of developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child's learning and development in the context of the program's curriculum goals. Teaching practices should include a variety of approaches that range from structured to unstructured activities and from adult-directed to child-directed.

      Examples of actions that can be taken to improve this area are:

      • Staff orientation program
      • Staff to staff mentoring
      • Professional development opportunities for all staff
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    13. What are examples of social-emotional interactions?

      Positive relationships are essential for the development of personal responsibility, self-regulation, interactions with others and for fostering learning and development. Interactions among instructors and children are warm, sensitive, respectful and responsive to the needs of each individual child.

      Examples of actions that can be taken to improve this area are:

      • Professional development opportunities for all staff
      • Staff to staff mentoring
      • Staff orientation
      • On-going observation and feedback
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    15. What are examples of family involvement?

      Family involvement includes establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with each child's family to foster children's development in all settings. The relationships are sensitive to the family composition, language and culture. Programs should recognize the importance of family involvement and that the parent is the child's first teacher.

      Examples of actions that can be taken to improve this area are:

      • Professional development opportunities for all staff
      • Opportunities for parents to participate in the program
      • Sharing of information with parents through parent conferences, newsletters, daily notes, or parent meetings
      • Take home activities or parent lending libraries
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  • Readiness Rate Dispute Process
    1. What is the Readiness Rate Dispute Process?

      • If a provider disputes the accuracy of their Preliminary VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate, the provider must complete and submit an on-line dispute form [click here for a sample] and send supporting documentation, to the DOE for review.
        The documentation must be postmarked within 14 days after publication of the preliminary readiness rate.

      • Disputes may address issues in one or more of the following calculations or areas as displayed on the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate Report:
        • The number of Children Served
        • The number of Children Meeting Substantial Completion
        • The number of Children Screened on Any Measure
        • The number of Children in Readiness Rate Calculation
        • Change of Ownership

      • Supporting documentation accompanying the VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate Dispute Form may be sent by mail to the address below:
        • Florida Department of Education
          Florida Office of Early Learning
          ATTN: VPK Provider Disputes
          250 Marriott Drive
          Tallahassee, FL 32399

      • The form must be submitted electronically and signed by the child care center director, private school principal, or public school principal and the district school superintendent (or designee).

      • DOE will review the documentation and either accept or reject the information within 28 days after the publication of the preliminary readiness rate.

      • You may check the status of your Dispute by logging on to your provider secure home page.

      • If you would like to submit an online VPK Provider Kindergarten Readiness Rate Dispute Form, please click the button below.


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Florida Office of Early Learning
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