Child day programs; staff training requirements, exemption for cooperative preschools. (HB2258)

Introduced By

Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg) with support from co-patrons Del. Karrie Delaney (D-Centreville), Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath), and Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Child day programs; staff training requirements; exemption for cooperative preschools. Exempts parents and other persons who participate in a cooperative preschool center on behalf of a child attending such cooperative preschool center, including such parents and persons who are counted for the purpose of determining staff-to-child ratios, from orientation and training requirements applicable to staff of child day programs. The bill provides that such exempt parents may be required to complete up to four hours of training per year. Amends § 63.2-1734, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Status

01/16/2019: Awaiting a Vote in the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee

History

DateAction
01/08/2019Committee
01/08/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19103912D
01/08/2019Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
01/16/2019Assigned HWI sub: Subcommittee #3

Comments

Andrew Pennock writes:

Cooperative preschools are wonderful, affordable, high quality options for Virginians. This bill is a common sense, non-partisan bill that keeps parental engagement viable for parents by keeping the training requirements where they have been for the last 14 years. Our co-op has been around for 45 years and I hope that we'll have many more decades of parents launching their children into a lifetime of learning!

Susan Lee writes:

My family belongs to Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church. I support HB 2258 because the recent increases in staff training passed by the Board of Social Services will be a burden on my family.

I have triplets enrolled at the school now. Because the parents serve as unpaid classroom aides, our cooperative program manages to keep tuition low. My family would not have been able to afford preschool otherwise.

The high degree of parental involvement that cooperative preschools require in early education is beneficial to families and children. I have learned so much as I watch the teachers interact with my children, magically calm tantrums, and grow their minds. I am grateful to Dulin and the cooperative preschool model.

Halee Robbins writes:

My family belongs to Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church. We support HB 2258 because the recent increases in staff training passed by the Board of Social Services will be a burden on our family. Cooperative preschools are an affordable and essential option for early education. We chose a cooperative preschool because it gives us a unique opportunity to observe and learn alongside our daughter. We have witnessed the way she interacts with her peers and her teachers. Through these observations, we have been able to see how she compares developmentally and address her needs with appropriate activities at home. We strongly believe that parental involvement in the classroom sets a positive tone for a lifetime of learning. Please support Virginia's cooperative preschools!

Jaime Iglehart writes:

My children have all attended Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church, VA. This is a wonderful first learning experience for our children that relies on parental help in the classroom. The new professional development hour requirements for cooping parents is unattainable for most and I fear will cause our preschool to have to close. The teachers in these classrooms are well equipped to lead the class and just have parents help with other tasks and maintaining the two-adult rule. Please keep the hourly requirements low and attainable so that we can keep educating our children in this play-based, cooperative environment.

Kristin Shapiro writes:

I strongly support this bill. My son attends a cooperative preschool, and the experience has been invaluable. Unlike traditional preschools, cooperative preschools are built around parental participation in the classroom, which a wealth of research tells us is wonderful for child development. Parental participation also keeps tuition low, making preschool accessible to Virginia families who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

The new DSS regulations will likely cause many cooperative preschools in Virginia to close, and for no good reason. According to the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget’s analysis of DSS's proposed increased training requirements earlier this year, the “proposed changes are not driven by identified deficiencies that might affect the health or safety of children in care” and “the costs of these changes likely far outweigh the convenience of having one standard for all licensees.” What is worse, by discouraging parental participation in the classroom, DSS's proposed rules could actually make preschools less safe -- because what could be better for children's safety than parents seeing firsthand what is happening in their child's classroom?

As a concerned mom, citizen, and voter, I will be tracking with great interest the legislators who do and do not support this bipartisan, common-sense bill.

Jackie writes:

My son has attended Annandale Cooperative Preschool for 3 years and I will have a second child entering next year. My husband and I support HB2258 because we have observed first-hand that the requirements we have had for parent training and education have been successful and do not need altering. In fact, we have loved being a part of a cooperative preschool for so many reasons. One of the main reasons that I wanted a cooperative preschool for my children is to be an active part of their learning. As a former Head Start and Kinderarten teacher, I value early childhood learning greatly. While coop-ing in the classroom, I have been able to use my teacher skills while learning from others. Being a part of a Coop preschool has made me a better mom at home and for that, I am forever grateful!

Amy writes:

My son attends Fort Hunt Cooperative Preschool in Alexandria and we are grateful to be part of the educational program every single day. My family supports HB2258 because we deeply believe in parental involvement in our child's education. I work a full-time job in the arts and go to great lengths to ensure that I take time off to parent help. I am committed to the cooperative model because of its benefits for my son who thrives in a small classroom where he feels safe, comfortable, and is engaged creatively and intellectually. Our cooperative preschool is also affordable while so many others in Northern Virginia are cost prohibitive. Fort Hunt's exceptional staff and parent helpers have a vested interest in each student and pay attention to the nuances of the children enrolled. I feel that my time in the classroom has empowered me with tools to parent better. I have learned so much ranging from seamless conflict management, redirection techniques, offering choices, AND have the opportunity to observe my son's developmental milestones and social interactions. I go to great lengths to ensure my son (and his 1 year old brother when old enough) thrives within the cooperative preschool model, but realize that additional regulations would likely threaten our ability to participate due to working full-time jobs. There should be a bipartisan effort to support HB2258.

Rebecca Gibson-Wilkins writes:

My daughter is in her second year at the Chancellor Street Preschool Cooperative in Charlottesville, Virginia and my husband and I support HB2258. We are fortunate to be a part of a preschool community where parent involvement is a key element of learning. In addition to 3 excellent teachers with many years of experience, my child has daily exposure to fellow parents who bring their own talents to the learning environment. It only makes sense to keep requirements as they have been for the last 14 years so parents may be involved in their child's preschool education. Increasing the training requirements will create a hardship on families who are already balancing busy lives. As a co-chair of our preschool's board of directors, I have seen first hand the dedication and time parents are already putting in to creating a loving, safe, and warm environment for our children. Parents should be rewarded for that commitment, not burdened with increased training requirements.

Elizabeth Halpern writes:

I support HB2258 because it would allow my son’s preschool to continue to provide high-quality, affordable education to children in our community. Our school, Dulin Cooperative Preschool, offers a warm and welcoming environment, where professional teachers and parents, who serve as classroom aides, work together to help our children learn and grow. As a parent, I benefit from seeing how my child is developing alongside his classmates, learning new techniques to help my child grow, and having the assurance that all of the parents are committed to the children’s success in preschool.

The recent changes in regulations would make this model of early childhood education much more difficult to provide. It would significantly increase burdens on parents to complete more hours of training, and it could require the school to increase tuition to hire more paid staff. The bill would allow us to continue to operate under the current training requirements, which are more than sufficient. I urge you to vote for the bill.

Marcie Foster writes:

I support HB2258 to preserve the model of cooperative education for the Commonwealth. I am a full-time working parent and would not have been able to choose a cooperative school for my son had these new licensing standards been in effect. The training we receive from the school is high quality and has fully prepared me to assist the school's highly credentialed and experienced lead teachers. Being a part of a cooperative preschool has made me a better parent -- an impact that will last far beyond the early childhood years.

Kristin Wajert writes:

Both of my children have attended Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church, one is currently enrolled. I support HB 2258 because it is a common sense, non-partisan bill that keeps parental engagement viable for parents by keeping the training requirements where they have been for the last 14 years. Cooperative preschools are wonderful, affordable, high quality options for Virginians. I chose a cooperative preschool because of the level of parental involvement and also the price. It has been a pleasure and joy to be a part of my child's preschool education and the learning I have received from seeing the teachers work with my children has been invaluable. Please help to keep parent training hours low to encourage involvement and keep this wonderful model around for years to come! I strongly believe that parental involvement in the classroom sets a positive tone for a lifetime of learning. Please support Virginia's cooperative preschools!

Suzanne Updike writes:

We need Virginia to continue to support cooperative preschools! It's a pretty simple situation -- the cooperative schools are just looking to keep parent training hours at the same level as they are today. 

Parent-run cooperative preschools have been in Virginia for over a half century. These schools require parent involvement. They are affordable, high quality and safe part-time programs. They are probably the best model for genuine parental involvement in children’s early education.

Support HB2258 and the long tradition of cooperative preschool education in Virginia.

Terri B writes:

My daughter has been attending Annandale Cooperative Preschool for three years, and my son is currently in his first year there.

I am a former classroom teacher who chose a cooperative preschool because it allowed me to be an active participant in my kids’ development. I have been able to use my teaching skills, while also learning tremendously from the very dedicated, competent and knowledgeable teachers/director at the school. Research has proven that parental involvement is critical in a child’s development and will impact them for a lifetime.

We support HB 2258 because this bill would maintain the same educational requirements for parents that have worked successfully for many years in cooperative preschools. Parents serve as non-paid aides, which keeps tuition affordable; otherwise, many families would not be able to send their children.

Cooperative preschools have been providing families with a quality early childhood experience for over a century. Let’s continue to offer parents this safe, effective, and affordable option for their children.

Fatma sahin writes:

I strongly support this bill. My son and daughter attends a cooperative preschool, and the experience has been invaluable. We have been through multiple other programs prior to cooperative preschool and there is not even a comparison. Unlike traditional preschools, cooperative preschools are built around parental participation in the classroom which makes it more affordable and allows us to have close community feeling of an environment and a wonderful place for our kids. If it wasn’t for cooperative preschool we wouldn’t be able to afford to send our daughter school as early as 2 yrs old because the costs of the other programs are ridiculously high to send both kids at the same time. We are in full support of this bill. Please sign this bill.

Heather Dorner writes:

I strongly support this bill. My daughter attends a cooperative preschool, and the experience has been invaluable. As a former pre-school teacher I knew exactly what I expected from a school and held my options to very high standards. I’ve already been through many hours of training and certifications to teach in the past. What I’ve observed in our preschool environment is outstanding opportunities for parents and teachers to educate their little ones in a safe and happy environment. Not all children are built the same and not all school should be required to be the same. If we don’t have the opportunity to allow parents to reasonably participate in their child’s education we will be throwing away a wealth of resources for our kids.

Parental participation also keeps tuition low, making preschool accessible to Virginia families who might otherwise not be able to afford it. If I only had the option to pay for a full time early childhood education for my child we wouldn’t be able to access any education for her at all. I personally do not want to spend the money on a full time program when I want to offer my help in the classroom which has the benefit of being more affordable. What will families who rely on this option do if you require a parent who spends a few hours a month in the classroom to have the same amount of training as a full time teacher? It makes no sense.

The new DSS regulations will likely cause many cooperative preschools in Virginia to close, and for no good reason. According to the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget’s analysis of DSS's proposed increased training requirements earlier this year, the “proposed changes are not driven by identified deficiencies that might affect the health or safety of children in care” and “the costs of these changes likely far outweigh the convenience of having one standard for all licensees.” What is worse, by discouraging parental participation in the classroom, DSS's proposed rules could actually make preschools less safe -- because what could be better for children's safety than parents seeing firsthand what is happening in their child's classroom?

As a concerned mom, citizen, and voter, I will be tracking with great interest the legislators who do and do not support this bipartisan, common-sense bill. I do not plan on voting for my representative if she doesn’t back this bill.

Mandy Lloyd writes:

I strongly support this bill. I specifically chose a cooperative preschool for my son so that I could be actively involved in his early education. If this bill does not pass, then many cooperative preschools will not be an option for many families because of the increase in training hours required. Give co-ops the exemption to ensure they remain a viable, quality child care option for families.

Dianne Rose writes:

This bill is essential to keeping cooperative preschools as a viable option for families in Virginia. Co-ops provide an affordable option for early childhood education, they also educate parents, they build stronger communities, and they show parents the value of being involved with their children's schools right from the start.

My children attended a co-op preschool. I chose to stay home with them when they were young, which was a financial challenge, but one that my husband and I agreed was important. Had it not been for the low-cost option of the cooperative, preschool would have been unaffordable for our family. Not only was the co-op affordable, but it was a great way for me to become involved my kids' education and in the community, and I continue to volunteer in schools and community organizations even now that my children are in college. What I learned from the teachers and from the other parents during preschool made me a better parent.

Co-ops are not for everyone, but to take away the choice by making the training requirements so onerous that parents can't possibly achieve them is unfair, and without this bill, that is just what will happen.

Jen Keefer writes:

I support this bill and encourage you to support it as well. My children both attended a small cooperative preschool in Falls Church, VA. It provided an excellent transition from home and into elementary school. The parental involvement at cooperative schools provided a smooth transition for students of all learning styles and allows the schools to function in conjunction with the child's known caregivers in addition to professional teachers. This cooperative model can be provided at a lower tuition rate than traditional preschool because of the parent involvement, therefore providing a high quality, affordable education option for families. The new regulation will require a much larger amount of orientation and annual training for parents and caregivers to be active in the cooperative preschools, and will prohibit many families from enrolling in and actively participating in their own child's education. This may result in higher tuition (to pay additional staff) and/or less educational options for Virginia's youngest children as many of the cooperative schools would be forced to close due to the burdensome regulation.

HB2258 will allow parents and caregivers to remain in the cooperative classrooms and schools by keeping the current requirements for orientation and annual training, which have been successful for many, many years. I urge you to support this bill to keep the cooperative learning model alive.

Pam Evans writes:

I am so thankful for the many legislators who have already signed onto this bipartisan, common sense bill. We all want affordable quality preschools. Parent involvement has the proven benefits of low serious safety violations (because parents are in the school regularly and want their child's school to be safe and educationally sound) and increasing parent involvement in local public schools. I also understand that DSS has a complicated job and although it would make things easier for inspectors if all schools and daycares had the exact same check lists, it's just impractical. Montessori schools are different and so are parent cooperatives. Please allow parental choice and involvement in quality preschools. As things stand parents already meet the requirements of professional teachers, which shows how much they value these schools. Let's keep the training hours as they stand now especially since parents are supervised by fully trained teachers in the classroom:)

Katharine Kraft writes:

I strongly support this bill. I have experienced a cooperative preschool with all three of my children. The cooperative preschool is an excellent opportunity for parents to be engaged with their child's first schooling experience. Cooperative preschools not only teach children, but they help parents build their parenting skills. They are a benefit to families and communities.

Please pass this bill in order to help cooperative preschools to continue to exist in Virginia.

Rebecca Radich writes:

I strongly support this bill. It allows parents to be engaged in the preschool education process and support their kids and school community.

Kate writes:

I support this bill as a family who participates in a preschool co-op which has been a wonderful educational experience that has also allowed for an affordable preschool option. It also allows for our family to participate in the education process which provides wonderful emotional support for children and helps establish a strong educational foundation. Our preschool (which has been around for over 50 years) is an outstanding program and has had zero violations in its last 6 inspections. HB2258 is a common sense bill that supports families and children. Please support Virignia's cooperative preschools.

Natalie Hall writes:

I urge you to vote for HB2258 to support cooperative preschools in Virginia.
As a parent, grandparent, school administrator, and board member I have been involved with cooperative preschools in Virginia and nationally for more than 40 years and have witnessed their great success. Virginia coops have an outstanding reputation for high quality and I want that to continue. We firmly believe, and research confirms, that parental involvement is vitally important in a child’s academic, social, physical, and emotional development.
The State requirement for the last 14 years that parents receive 4 hours of annual training has worked well. In the classroom the parents work with highly qualified teachers. The children are safe and comfortable. Parents have also benefitted from the low cost of coops. The reasonable training requirements allow them to work full or part time.
I’m sure any of Virginia’s coops would welcome your interest. I very much appreciate your support of HB2258.

Martha Galeano writes:

Having worked for the past 19 years in a co-op, I strongly support this bill. Parents work alongside teachers get so much out of it. Being able to learn about other children and be so committed to participate and spend time with your child is huge. Being part of a co-op helps reduce school cost. Daycare and pre-schools are sometimes out of reach for some parents. This was an option for my family, and my son benefitted from attending a great pre-school and having both his parents play alongside of him. There is no way that we could have afforded pre-school for him, and if they had had more hours required his father would not have been able to work into his full-time schedule. Please pass HB2258.

Jacolyn Bastasch writes:

If Virginia legislators want Virginia families to thrive, they need to preserve high-quality, affordable educational options for children like cooperative preschools. My 2-year-old child attends a cooperative preschool in Falls Church, VA. It has been an incredible option for working parents like my husband and me who rearrange our schedules and make sacrifices so we can prioritize hands-on involvement in our child's early education (the most important years for their social and emotional development) and still pay the bills. It's not easy, but it's worth it. That parental involvement is the linchpin to making the cooperative preschool work, and the recent doubling of the annual teaching requirement from 4 to 8 hours isn't necessary or beneficial. My son's school has had ZERO licensing violations at our last six inspections. Everyone works as a team to make sure the school is operating at its best because we have real skin in the game -- our kids. Asking parents to even further stretch their time will work against all the positives cooperatives provide, possibly hindering enrollment because of either increased time that a parent can't give or increasing tuition. Cooperative preschools provide a real school community that's lost on a lot of school experiences these days. We're really all in it together, and Virginia's public servants should be too. Please support HB2258 for Virginia families. Thank you.

Matt Hyland writes:

I strongly support this bill! My son attends a co-op preschool in Arlington, and my yet-to-be born (due this week) second child will attend as soon as he or she is able to do so. The existing continuing education requirements are absolutely sufficient for parents who volunteer as classroom aides. My family would not be able to afford quality preschool if co-op was not an option.

Kimberly Richards-Thomas writes:

I support HB2258 because sending my children to a cooperative preschool and volunteering in the classroom turned out to be one of the best choices our family has made. Children can learn with trusted adults by their side, and parents gain invaluable experience, tools and insights from watching the teachers interact with the students. I can’t say enough about how positive our co-op preschool experience was, and the training requirements should be kept as they are so that coooerative preschools remain a viable and affordable option in Virginia. Every family deserves to have this opportunity.

Angela Crandlemire writes:

My children have attended Sleepy Hollow Cooperative Preschool for 3 years. I support HB2258 because we have observed first-hand that the requirements we have had for parent training and education have been successful and do not need altering. We have loved being a part of a cooperative preschool for so many reasons. One of the main reasons that I wanted a cooperative preschool for my children is to be an active part of their learning. As a former teacher, I value early childhood learning greatly. I also love the community building that so naturally comes with being a part of a cooperative. Being a part of a Coop preschool has made me a better mom at home and for that, I am forever grateful!

Breona Vinson-Hosford writes:

My son has been attending the Williamsburg Parent Co-operative Preschool since September. He went from being a quiet shy little boy that didn't talk to anyone to being friendly and talkative in just a few short months. I have loved every minute of being a part of his education and would hate to see parents become unable to have the same opportunity due to a change in requirements. I support this bill because every parent should have the opportunity to be a part of their children's education, and Co-ops make that possible.

Rebecca Elliott writes:

As a parent whose children have attended FB Meekins Co-Operative preschool for the past several years, I strongly support HB2258. Without it, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives.

Marie Sloane writes:

I am writing in support of HB2258 because it is needed to preserve the high quality, affordable option of cooperative preschools for families in Virginia. Unnecessary and burdensome new training requirements for parents who participate in their children's education in cooperative classrooms have been approved by the State Board of Social Services. HB2258 will keep requirements at the current level, which have lead to program success for years. HB2258 has strong bipartisan support. I urge all committee members to move it forward and the wider legislature to approve it.

Guy P. writes:

I support HB2258. Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. Thank you!

Grace Carlson writes:

I am a parent at Overlee Cooeprative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. My children, my husband and I have all thrived at this cooperative. We feel so privileged to be able to participate in this community and be involved in our young children’s education and care. We love the cooperative model and as a family with two working parents, it’s so important to us to be in a program that allows full time working parents to still be present.

Elizabeth Sonnenberg writes:

I am a teacher at Overlee Preschool, a parent-run cooperative preschool. Since 1945, Overlee Preschool has given Arlington families a place for active participation in education by letting parents work in their children's classrooms. As an early childhood educator for more than 40 years and a teacher at Overlee Preschool since September 2001, I believe that cooperative preschools offer a learning opportunity supported by parents that produces the best outcomes for young children.

I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Joseph Norris writes:

Please support HB2258. This is the only way to keep the amazing co-op based pre-schools viable in the State of Virginia. My family absolutely loves the experience at our preschool. Better yet, the cost is more affordable since we participate in the classrooms and around the school. The community of parents at these schools does not exist in any full-cost school nor even the public schools for the big kids. It would be a shame to not pass this law and allow these schools to die.

Monique Choiniere writes:

I support HB2258 to preserve the model of cooperative education in Virginia. I am a full-time working parent and would not have been able to choose a cooperative school for my son had these new licensing standards been in effect. The cooperative education model creates a great community. It provided a supportive environment for the start of my son’s educational learning.

Karyn Bowen writes:

Dulin Cooperative Preschool has provided my family with an affordable, high quality early education experience. I support HB2258 because having parents in the classroom is not only beneficial for children's development, an amazing resource for parents to learn about their kids development, but also creates one of the only affordable preschool options in our community. The recent increases in staff training passed by the Board of Social Services will be a burden on my family, and would make the cooperative model nearly impossible to continue to exist.

Samantha Trice writes:

I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool in Arlington, VA. I fully support HB2258 as it allows cooperative preschools to continue to operate. A cooperative preschool is an important early childhood educational model as it supports and educates the entire family system.

Meredith J Sumpter writes:

I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. It is a wonderful thing for parents to be able to work alongside teachers in support of child development.

Susan Wegmueller writes:

I fully support this bill. My children graduated from a cooperative preschool almost 20 years age and it was the foundation for integrating into our community having just moved from overseas. I continue to recommended it to my neighbors and colleagues as the coop is a great way to keep parents involved in their children's early education, while offering a truly affordable pre-school experience.

Sally Granade writes:

Please pass HB2258. Cooperative preschools should be allowed to survive. Without this bill they will likely cease to exist. The majority of families at my daughter’s former school, Overlee Preschool, had twoworking parents. The burden of additional training, completely unnecessary as parents are always supervised by a professional teacher, will likely take cooperative preschool out of the running as a childcare / school option for many families. More regulation is an unnecessary burden that no one has asked for.

Mike Clayton writes:

I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Jennifer Mussett writes:

Please pass HB2258 and save precious cooperative preschools. I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Jennifer Clayton writes:

I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool, and fully support HB2258. Cooperative schools are a blessing for families, and we need to continue to ensure that co-ops are an option for Virginia families.

Jacquelyn Handly writes:

I highly support HB2258. My children went to a cooperative preschool and I worked as a parent in the preschool. We had four hours of training per year per parent and it was very successful. Parents working with the fully trained staff/teachers brought the community together and gave the children a strong, well-supported education.

Samantha Trainum writes:

I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Molly Gee writes:

I am an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Sasha Kasko writes:

My daughters currently attend FB Meekins Cooperative Preschool. We love this school and the opportunity to coop. I fully approve HB2258 and hope that the same wonderful learning opportunities my girls have received will be available to families in the future!

Kristen Cunningham writes:

Please pass this bill. Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives.

Erin Aji writes:

I am an parent of a preschooler at Providence Nursery School. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Anne Miller writes:

Please pass this non-partisan legislation and allow coop preschools — an important affordable, high-quality early education option for many families in Virginia — to continue to exist. My children, now ages 18 and 22, attended both Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool and Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church. Those early experiences of observing parents investing time and resources into their education provided powerful modeling for commitment to community that they still carry with them today. It is important to keep this option available in Virginia.

Kristi Irvin writes:

Cooperative preschool is a fantastic experience for families. My husband and I, both older parents, college graduates, learned even more than both of our children during our 6 years. Please pass this bill, so that parents can continue share the preschool experience and learn from the staff. Parent volunteers allow cooperative preschools to be within the reach of most families, my minimizing staff costs while keeping children safe.

Martina writes:

I support HB2258! My children have been attending a cooperative preschool in Williamsburg and we love it! I love being able to volunteer in my child's class to see what they are learning and how they interact with others. Parent involvement in children's education is important to my family and has been shown to be beneficial to a child's success in school. This bill will allow cooperative preschools to offer affordable classes without burdensome training for parents. Please pass this bill!

Lisa Smith writes:

I am writing in support of HB2258 in hopes that the cooperative preschool system in Virginia can be maintained. Our family has benefited significantly though participation in the co-op preschool system. It has provided us an unmatched, high-quality, affordable education option that allows us to be highly engaged in our children's early education. The current requirements for training are sufficient, and expanding them as proposed by the State Board of Social Services will create undue burdens for both parents and schools, likely crippling the entire cooperative pre-school system. I urge all committee members to support this important legislation to maintain Virginia's successful and valued cooperative preschools.

Kathleen Philpott Costa writes:

My three children, now teenagers, attended Sleepy Hollow Preschool (SHPS), and it was an invaluable experience for all of us. It was during my time at SHPS that the existing training exemption for cooperative preschool parents was established. I am concerned that this exemption has now been eliminated. Cooperative preschools have shown their model of parent involvement to be successful for over a half century. Please return the required training hours for cooperative preschool parents to the current level of 4 hours per year.

While cooperative preschools thrive on parent involvement, the parents are supervised by teachers and recognize that the teachers are the classroom experts. Parents spend a few hours a month helping in the classroom and learning from observing the teachers. Subjecting these parents to the same training requirements as the teaching staff would create a hardship on already-busy families and increase tuition costs. Ultimately, onerous training requirements on cooperative preschool parents would spell the end of the cooperative preschool.

I urge support for HB2258 and the long, successful tradition of cooperative preschool education in Virginia.

Toby Harnden writes:

My two children attended Overlee Cooperative Preschool and had a great experience there. I cannot overstate the value of the time they spent in the co-op environment - it was greatly enriching. I fully support HB2258, which is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be a realistic option for parents in Virginia - which won’t be the case if parents are required to undertake excessive amounts of training so they can be classroom aides.

Nayeem family writes:

As members of a cooperative preschool in Vienna, we support HB2258. Enacting legislation that would exempt cooperative parents—whose roles are important but distinct from those of full-time staff—from additional training requirements will allow the cooperative model to continue to flourish, as our school’s has for over five decades. Imposing onerous training requirements on co-oping parents almost certainly will reduce participation and interest in cooperative schools, depriving both children and their parents of an enriching and rewarding preschool experience.

Jenny Erwin writes:

I strongly support HB2258 and urge you to, as well. Cooperative preschool is a treasured education tradition in Virginia and one that has benefitted and will continue to benefit thousands of children and families. Contintuing to allow parents to complete a reasonable number of training hours will ensure the cooperative tradition continues and children and families will only be better for it. My family is immeasurably better due to our cooperative preschool experience - I treasured my time working with my child and her friends in the classroom. It was so meaningful to me to be an integral part of her earliest education. Thank you for considering our voices and an educational model we believe in!

Sarah Lichtel writes:

Our family has three daughters. The first two attended the Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool and we hope to send our third when she is old enough. There are not enough words to describe the ways Co-op has changed our family for the better. We strongly support the passing of HB2258 to allow families across Virginia access to this unique educational experience without time prohibitive training regulations.

Kelly St.Clair writes:

As a former Virginia public school teacher, I strongly support HB2258. I attended a cooperative preschool over 50 years ago and my grandchild will be attending Fort Hunt cooperative in the fall. The value of family involvement in a child's early education cannot be overstated, volunteer parents assisting in the classroom alongside full-time teachers is a beautiful thing. Volunteer training is an important element to the success of these programs but the new requirements will make it impossible for many families to participate and schools may close as a result. Please pass this bill to keep cooperative preschools a choice for Virginia families.
Thank-you

Alison Foley writes:

My two children attend co-operative preschool in Williamsburg, VA. My husband and I are grateful for the integral interaction between the teacher, fellow parents who volunteer in the classroom, and the children.
We strongly support the passing of HB2258, exempting coperative parents (whose roles are important but distinct from full-time staff) from additional training requirements, which will allow the co-operative model to continue to flourish, and support parent involvement in the classroom.
Imposing additional training requirements will almost certainly reduce future participation and interest in cooperative schools, depriving both children and their parents of an enriching and rewarding preschool experience.

Jennifer Hayden writes:

I support HB 2258. As a member of the Williamsburg Parent Co-op, my family has been positively impacted by the co-op model. The ability to be a part of our daughter’s education has been an incredible experience for our family. This introduction to education is critical to her later academic success. Please pass HB 2258 to ensure this model of education continues for families across Virginia.

Amy writes:

My children attended Overlee Preschool, which was an incredible experience in their development and for us as an entire family in that community. As my daughters are now well into elementary school, I continue to appreciate the formative experiences they had as part of the cooperative preschool - benefits that carry into who they are today. Furthermore, as a parent I still draw upon things I learned and how I contributed in the cooperative during those years we were a part of the Overlee Preschool cooperative. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. Please pass HB2258 so that cooperative preschools remain an educational option for Virginia families in the future.

Kelly St.Clair writes:

As a former Virginia public school teacher I strongly support HB2258. Over 55 years ago I attended Tauxemont cooperative preschool in Northern Virginia, my grandchild will attend Fort Hunt cooperative in the fall. Cooperative preschools have a long history in our state and have provided an affordable option for families to receive quality early education. Volunteer parents assisting alongside full-time teachers is a beautiful thing! I recognize that volunteer training is important to the success of these programs but the new training regulations will make it impossible for many families to participate and may result in schools closing. Please pass this bill to keep cooperative preschools a choice for Virginia families. Thank-you

Lauren Teucke Malone writes:

I support HB 2258. All three of our daughters have attended Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool and I can't imagine our life without it. WPCP is a community where children thrive and through the collaborative efforts of parents and teachers become well prepared for the lives ahead of them. Through volunteering in the classroom, I have learned how to be a better parents as well as created new friendships. I can't imagine just dropping off my child and not having a relationship with the teacher and the other parents. Co-ops do make a difference and need to continue.

Jennifer Long writes:

My 2 sons have attended Annandale Cooperative Preschool over the past 5 years with my youngest son entering his last year in the fall. My husband and I support HB2258 because we have observed first-hand that the requirements we have had for parent training and education have been successful and do not need altering.
We have loved being a part of a cooperative preschool for so many reasons. I wanted a cooperative preschool for my boys so that I could be an active part of their learning. I also wanted to know and interact with his teachers, friends and their families! While coop-ing in the classroom, I have been able learn from others how to better myself as a mom and work to improve our school. Being part of a coop has been an amazing and invaluable experience.

Marlene Armstrong writes:

Please support HB 2258 and allow Virginia Parent Cooperative Preschools to continue to operate with the participation of parent volunteers. Co-op Preschools already have professional caregivers in the classroom. Requiring parents to have similar training is redundant and unnecessary. Having parents in the preschool classroom provides so many benefits: a sense of safety for the child; an opportunity for parents to see how their child is progressing; an opportunity for parents to learn about age-appropriate developmental activities and behavioral guidance for their child; and the creation of a true sense of community amongst the parents and the children. For those families who are willing and able to make the commitment, Cooperative Preschools are an excellent option. Please help ensure their survival.

Lana S writes:

Both of my sons have attended a small cooperative preschool in Falls Church, VA (Dulin Cooperative) and this high quality but inexpensive education has made an enormous impact on their love of learning and cooperation. I strongly encourage you to support this bill. Requiring parents of young children to receive 8 hours of training in addition to all their other responsibilities will be a huge burden to the cooperative model (and the spirit of the school). Cooperative Preschools are an excellent option to ensure quality affordable pre-k education, please allow them to survive by supporting this bill.

Laura Stricker writes:

I urge you to support HB2258 regarding training hours for cooperative preschools. My three children attended a co-op preschool and I completed training to be able to participate in the school. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. I believe that cooperative preschools are a vital option for children's development and education. Please pass this legislation to support the continued vitality of these preschools.

Jane H writes:

I urge you to support HB2258. Both my children attended Meekins Cooperative Preschool in Vienna, VA. My kids flourished under the care and supervision of the staff at the school. I enjoyed working in my child's class and seeing first hand what a good, quality preschool education can provide to a child. The co-op preschool model, as it currently is in place, works and should not be changed.

Joe Cunningham writes:

I strongly urge you to support HB2258. My daughter attends the Williamsburg Parenting Co-op. It has been a wonderful way to introduce her to school and set her up for success moving forward. The model of this style of preschool is wonder for our family and others like us. The opportunity to get involved often and support not just my daughter, but other kids and families is wonderful.

Laurel Miller writes:

I support HB2258 as it is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. HB2258 reflects the current training requirement for co-op parents volunteering in their own child's class under the guidance and supervision of professional teachers. I went to a Valley Drive cooperative preschool in Alexandria and both of my children attended Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool for eight wonderful years. It is so important for parents to be involved in early childhood education.

Katherine Koman Evans writes:

As a former cooperative school president (Dulin), I strongly support this legislation. Cooperative pre-schools are a wonderful learning experience for parents and children alike. Parents who help in the classroom are closely supervised by the teacher. I believe that the training exemption is a good option for this community.

Laura writes:

Having parents in the classroom is an essential part of cooperative preschools. HB2258 asks that parents do 4 hours of annual training, which is what we currently do. Our preschool (which has been around for over 50 years) is a high quality and safe program, and parental involvement adds the component of family oriented community which cannot be replicated. 8 hours of training would definitely deter working parents from participating.

Heidi Brown writes:

I strongly urge you to vote for HB2258 to support cooperative preschools in Virginia. Both of my children currently attend FB Meekins Cooperative Preschool in Vienna. We have had wonderful experiences here and greatly value the ability to be so involved in our children’s early education experiences. Please help pass this bill so parents can continue to be an integral part of their children’s education at a reasonable cost.

Kate Soderman writes:

Please support HB2258! Cooperative preschools are a vital option for families! They provide a warm, nurturing environment for children, a low-cost option for families, and valuable education for parents. Both of my children attended cooperative preschools, and our entire family benefited from the experience.

Parents are required to do several hours of training throughout the year, which is understandable. But if the requirements increase too much, parents will no longer be able to participate, and these wonderful schools will close. This would be a great loss to our communities.

Emika Burke writes:

I support HB2258 as it encourages parent involvement in co-op preschools. Parents who work outside the home, such as my husband, and even parents of infant siblings, such as myself, would find the full orientation and training requirements for staff a barrier to participation. We currently co-op at Meekins Cooperative Preschool in Vienna, and have found the system as it is to work wonderfully. Co-oping parents who complete the current 4 hours of educational training (in addition to lots of other work for the school!) serve a different but crucial role that complements and supports the professional staff. Please support HB2258 and greater parent involvement in early childhood education.

Amanda Krems writes:

I strongly support HB2258 because it allows for effective parent involvement in a child's preschool experience. My older two children have attended Williamsburg cooperative preschool and I want my youngest to have the same amazing experience when he is old enough. As both a parent and an elementary school teacher, I know how invaluable it is to have families involved in the educational process. Engaging early educational experiences are enhanced when families are a part of them, it is as simple as that. Cooperative preschools are often more affordable because of the parent volunteers and this is another important reason to keep them open and thriving in our state. Please support HB2258 and keep our cooperative preschools viable!

Carolyn Wingrove writes:

Cooperative preschools are a wonderful educational opportunity, for both parent and child. My four children and I participated in one of the best --Dulin Cooperative Preschool! Co-ops are a cost-effective academic option which allow parents, preschool children and their teachers to all to be involved in the learning experience. Please support HB2258!

Asmaa Rosenberg writes:

I urge you to support HB2258. My two girls went to cooperative preschool in Arlington. They are still remembering the fun, playful learning environments of their first years in their lives. As a parent and also a preschool teacher in cooperative preschool, the 15 years I have spent in this environment taught me the value of the involvement of parents in cooperative preschool. It was an incredible learning opportunity not only for me but I believe for all the parents that have been involved during these years. All agreed that cooperative schools have provided a crucial learning time for them and for their children. We are all trying to make a difference in our lives by creating and supporting something unique that has made a big and marvelous impact in our lives. So please, I urge you to support HB2258 with me.
Thank you
Asmaa Rosenberg

Tracy McCarty writes:

I am in strong support of HB2258. As a former co-operative preschool parent, I fully understand the value the model brings to a child’s education and life. Though training requirements should exist, they should not be so onerous as to prevent parents from participating in their child’s education in a co-operative environment.

Pamela Holran writes:

The cooperative preschool model - where parents support paid and trained teachers for a few hours a month - is well established in Virginia. HB 2258 is essential to the on- going viability of cooperative preschools while still ensuring appropriate levels of parent training (4 hrs per year). Excessive training requirements will unnecessarily eliminate school choice for many VA families. I urge you to support HB 2258.

Paul Soroka writes:

As the primary caregiver in our family & a regular co-op parent of a Chancellor Street Preschool Cooperative student I support HB2258. Co-op preschool has been a magical experience for our son, the moment we walked in the door for our initial tour we knew we had found something special - an AFFORDABLE blend of traditional early education and parental engagement that has quickly evolved into new friendships for the entire family and wider engagement with our local community.

As parent assistants, we have been trained by and operate under the direct supervision & active direction of our wonderful, fully licensed teachers. I witness firsthand how proactive our professional staff is in ensuring parents follow all established procedures and protocols not just in our interactions with students but also in our operational & administrative tasks with the school itself. Between "on the job" training on co-op days, parent meetings and school workshop days, our continuing education as established under existing requirements are entirely sufficient. Our family is fortunate enough to be in a position where we could continue to co-op if the training requirements change, however MANY others could not. Making these changes would disproportionately impact families of working parents who do not have the job flexibility these changes would require.

Vicki Mansuy writes:

I am writing in support of HB2258. I have three children who all attended Annandale Co-operative Preschool. As a former elementary school teacher, I chose this model so that I could have the opportunity to play an active role in my children's first school experiences. The level of parent training already in place at co-operative preschools is working, and make this model of preschool accessible and affordable for many Virginia families. I found the co-op model so powerful that when a teaching opportunity became available at the school, I jumped at the chance to teach there, too. If HB2258 is not passed, the additional training requirements for parents will make it likely that this affordable and family-centered model of preschool will not be a viable option for many families who they currently serve.

Jessica S writes:

Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives.

As co-oping parent with a child attending Arlington Unitarian Co-operative Preschool, I strongly support HB2258!

Jesse W writes:

I am writing in support of HB2258. Both of my children attended Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool and it's availability was key in their education, growth and development. It made available to us an affordable, quality early education that might not have been an option otherwise. The teachers, environment and learning were top notch, while also providing for us a way to stay connected to the process, their education and our peers and community. Please pass this common sense bill to extend this opportunity and gift to current and future Virginia families as well.

Terry Ayotte writes:

Please support HB2258. As an early childhood educator, I cannot stress the importance enough of maintaining (or even increasing) the number of early childhood programs that are developmentally appropriate, affordable and allow parents to see first-hand how a developmentally appropriate preschool can support children's development in all areas. My own children attended FB Meekins Cooperative Preschool because it provided the developmentally appropriate program I was looking for at an affordable price. I ended up staying at Meekins as a teacher for many years because I believed strongly in the co-op model and its benefits for both children and families. After leaving Meekins and returning to public school teaching, I am even more strongly in support of co-op programs and the environment they provide for young children. Requiring co-op parents to meet more stringent requirements will only reduce the number of caring adults involved in such programs, without any significant benefit to children.

Katie Jensen writes:

I am writing in support of HB2258. My child currently attends a small cooperative preschool in Vienna, VA. It has worked well for us because it provides a higher quality education with parental involvement while being affordable. It has had added benefits of allowing parents to learn from the teachers and observing their children in the classroom. I personally have been able to observe my child, and work with him to transition and thrive at school.

The new Department of Social Services regulations that require volunteer parents (who only assist several hours a month) to obtain the same amount of orientation and training hours as paid teacher and staff would weaken the whole cooperative model. I believe that most of the parents would be not be able to fulfill these new training requirements and would simply leave the cooperative schools. Please support HB2258 to keep the current training and orientation requirements for parents and help keep great affordable school options available to Virginia families.

Kerry Peterson writes:

Please support Cooperative preschools and allow us to maintain the current 4 hours of required training. My children have attended Dulin Cooperative Preschool for 5 years and we value the strong community a Cooperative fosters. I love being involved in the classroom and running the school. The cooperative model keeps costs down and makes preschool possible for families who may not otherwise be able to participate. This legislation makes common sense, please support our schools!

Kellie Cornelison writes:

I support HB2258 because reflects the current training requirement for co-op parents volunteering in their own child's class under the guidance and supervision of professional teachers. It keeps the same rules as the last 14 years.
Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives.

Anna writes:

I am writing in support of HB2258. Our oldest child attends Annandale Cooperative Preschool (ACPS) and he has received a wonderful early childhood education. He is cared for by both extremely qualified teachers and parents in the classroom, who help him grow in his individual needs and support/educate us as parents. What I have learned in the classroom and ACPS community has helped me become a better parent, and that will benefit our family for years to come. It is an experience that should continue to be available for families.

The current training requirements of 4 hours a year prepare me for the classroom. To increase the amount of training would only place unneeded limitations (time and fiscal) on families who wish to have a similar education for their children.

Ellen writes:

I strongly support this bill. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives.

Timothy Burns writes:

I have owned and operated multiple licensed child care centers for over eight years, and every year the pressure ratchets in one direction towards more regulation and higher costs. This is my chosen line of work and it's part of the increasing cost of doing business. I also have had the immense pleasure of having two of my daughters go through a local cooperative preschool and this co-op was as well if not better organized and run as any professionally run child care center I have encountered. I support HB2258 and the preservation of the same levels for training currently in place. Hands off the co-op schools! They are extremely well-run, safe and responsive! New regulations for training would be a total headache and not needed, and they would only drive up costs and push good people out.

Sara Krumm writes:

I fully support HB2258 - we have two children in a coop preschool and it is a wonderful experience for all of us.

Sara Stovall writes:

Please vote YES on HB2258, which would exempt cooperative preschools from strict training regulations that would seriously impair our ability to operate. My children continue to excel thanks to their time at Chancellor Street Preschool Cooperative and my hope is that it will educate and inspire children and their families for years to come. Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives. Thank you for your consideration.

Sarah Parks writes:

I have been a Co-op Parent at Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool for 4 years, and a child welfare social worker for 12 years. While I can fully appreciate the need to ensure the safety of children while they are at school or daycare, I fully support HB2258. Having parents assisting in the classroom is a wonderful, safe, and financially appealing model for families. Background checks, orientation, and character references are absolutely appropriate for parent volunteers, but classifying parent volunteers as teachers or daycare workers would impose onerous, unnecessary costs and preclude some families from participating in co-ops. HB2258 protects children as well as the longevity of parent cooperative preschools in Virginia.

Michael Bastasch writes:

I support HB 2258 because the recent increases in staff training passed by the Board of Social Services will be a burden on my family, and will deter other families from joining the preschool. The preschool my son attends has been around for over 50 years is a high quality and safe program with zero licensing violations at our last six inspections.

Cooperative preschools have many benefits for children and families, including low tuition, precisely because parents serve as unpaid classroom aides. Meaningful parental involvement in children's early education is also a widely acknowledged as beneficial for children's development.

Robert Antoniuk writes:

I support this bill HB 2258. Cooperative preschools help support family's that believe our young children's education is important. It creates a community of family, friends and teachers to aide our young children grow into smart, caring and global citizens in which everyone benefits. Please pass this bill to support the communist that work hard to build this really for our young children.

Jessie A. writes:

I support HB2258 and urge you to vote YES to continue to allow parents to participate in their children's co-operative preschools as under the current successful exemption.

After six years as a parent volunteer in co-operative preschool classrooms followed by another six years as a teacher in a cooperative preschool, I can attest that this model works. While volunteering in the classroom, parents observe in detail the successful strategies that teachers with the children, while teachers also get to know their students' families. Changing the regulations to require parent volunteers in co-ops to meet the same requirements as paid staff would only deter families from participating in these valuable parent-school partnerships.

Christopher Johnston writes:

My family belongs to F.B. Merlin’s Cooperative Preschool in Vienna. We support HB 2258 because the recent increases in staff training passed by the Board of Social Services will be a burden on our family. Cooperative preschools are an affordable and essential option for early education. We chose a cooperative preschool because it gives us a unique opportunity to observe and learn alongside our son.

Jennifer Weidman writes:

I strongly support HB2258, and urge you to support it. Our family has sent our two children to cooperative preschools, with our youngest still attending a cooperative preschool in Arlington, VA. We love the community and educational experience of a cooperative preschool, and both of our children have benefitted and grown greatly from attending cooperative preschools. If HB2258 is not passed, our schools as we know it cannot exist because most volunteer parents are not able to fulfill the same training requirements as a full time teacher or assistant. Please pass this bill so we can continue to have this wonderful preschool option in Virginia!

Kadion DeZee writes:

HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. As a parent being involved in our children's early childhood education gives us the opportunity to learn along side them and also develop bonds with other families and their children creating a stronger community.

Akash Sehgal writes:

I urge a YES vote on this bill. The experience provided to families, children and parents alike, at Cooperative Preschools is unmatched by other preschool alternatives. The model provides engagement, community, responsibility to others, and personal accountability in a way that private preschools, or daycares, cannot provide. It does so in a way that is cost competitive and meets the needs of each family, and it does so in a way that encourages family participation. That is something to encourage, not discourage, and a vote FOR this bill will continue a fine tradition and standard of learning without imposing undue burdens on schools, families and communities.

Nicole Redway writes:

I am a parent at Overlee Cooeprative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years. Our family has two working parents and we cherish our ability to also spend some time with our child at preschool. Without HB2258, the requirements on parents with kids at cooperative schools will be too onerous and for most these requirements will remove such types of schools as an option. Enrollment at cooperative schools will plummet and some will be forced to close.

Susan Axtell writes:

The passing of HB2258 is crucial to the survival of Cooperative Preschools in Virginia. Parents already stand on their heads for the chance to be part of their children's early education in a co-op classroom. Moms and Dads share co-op duty, swap younger children, re-work shifts, take jobs with family leave, spend personal days--all to participate in a family experience they know requires commitment. From thirty-plus years of teaching, directing, and learning with these families, I can testify that co-op parents are dedicated, creative, and appreciative allies. Most are real partners in their school's philosophy. But the training now required for parents is enough. They expect to be partners, with a paid professional teacher in charge--who has met the State's training requirements). The school, its paid staff, and volunteer details, are subject to inspection from Virginia Social Services; compliance is posted for all to see.
Please vote yes on HB2258 and allow parents to choose, without undue constraint, this remarkable, continually flourishing, pre-school option.

Laurel Blymyer writes:

I currently am a co-op parent in Falls Church, Va and I fully support HB2258. Current requirements for co-op participation are absolutely sufficient, and each volunteer rotation in the classroom provides continued "on the job" learning and education. To Include co-op teaching models in the proposed increase in required educational hours is unnecessary and would result in undue burden to families and staff. Co-op teaching models have been thriving for decades and offer so many positives, including affordable preschool options for families, interactive learning for parents and caregivers as they volunteer alongside their children and their classmates, and fostering a sense of community for both parents and children during the early education years - the foundation of growth, learning and social development. Please support passing HB2258.

Karen Felker writes:

I strongly recommend passage of HB2258. My grandson is in his second year at Hunters Woods Cooperative Preschool (HWPS) in Reston, VA. To say he is thriving in this educational setting is an understatement. The other day when I asked him what his favorite part of his day was, his response was “having my Daddy there “. The Co-op teaching model offers a cost effective option for parents. The training currently in place for parents is more than sufficient to be contributing partners with the teacher. The combination of teachers and parents in a Co-op setting is the best scenario for learning at the preschool level.
Please support passing HB2258.

Stefan Roth writes:

I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops are able to thrive. It is an incredible and unique experience for parents and children. Our three children have addended Annandale Coop preschool for the last 8 years. My wife and I have been able to share the entire experience together with our kids. If we had been burdened with any more training than currently required it would have burdened us to a point where an alternative Preschool would have been needed. Please don't fix what's not broken. Thank you.

Allison Rankin writes:

Cooperative preschools provide an unparalleled preschool and family education experience. The parents that volunteer in their children's classrooms get hands-on training and experience simply by being in the classroom with the children and their well-qualified and trained teacher. My family's preschool experience was simply amazing. The proposed training requirements for parents would be burdensome when the parents are already being asked to spend a lot of time in the classrooms. This educational model has been around for a very long time and we hope will continue to help families grow and learn together. Please support HB2258 to help foster the cooperative preschool community.

Debbie A. writes:

My daughter attends a cooperative preschool. As a stay at home parent, coops provide an affordable option for my family. Our school has also been a great way for me to become involved my daughter’s education and in the community.
Coops are not for everyone, but to take away the choice by making the training requirements so onerous that parents can't possibly achieve them is unfair, and without this bill, that is just what will happen.

Lauren Dewhurst writes:

I am writing to strongly urge you to support HB2258. I am currently a parent at Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church, VA, and have been for the past 7 years. In fact, my husband also attended Dulin Cooperative Preschool 30 years ago! Cooperative preschools provide an incredible community for families who are looking for an affordable, high quality preschool education that allows them to be an active part of their young child's introduction to school. HB2258 reflects the current training requirement for co-op parents volunteering in their own child's class under the guidance and supervision of professional teachers. Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to a level that will decrease parent involvement, increase costs, and bar the meaningful parental involvement essential to maintaining parent cooperatives. Please support HB2258 and help save our cooperative preschools!

Chris Gareis writes:

As a former public school teacher and principal, I strongly support HB2258. All three of my children attended a cooperative preschool, and our cumulative 10+ years of experience at the school were extraordinarily positive for our entire family. Furthermore, as both a parent and a former school principal, I saw the positive outcomes other families and their children, too. As a professor of education, I can confirm that the evidence of the value of family involvement in a child's early education is incontrovertible. When parents are present and involved in their children's classrooms, assisting alongside (and under the close supervision of) full-time teachers, everyone benefits: children, families, schools, and communities. Please pass this bill to keep cooperative preschools a choice for Virginia families.

Patricia Schnell writes:

As an alumni parent of Overlee Cooperative Preschool, I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Families join cooperative preschools because they are looking to collaborate directly with teachers to provide early education for their children. My husband and I chose this model for our three children because we strongly believe that parental involvement in the classroom sets a positive tone for a lifetime of learning. Through the training provided and our regular volunteer shifts in the classroom, we learned skills we were able to use at home as well as at school, and the time we spent working in the classroom and on the preschool grounds with the teachers and other parents helped build a community that continues to this day to nurture our children's social and emotional growth.

Co-ops make a difference and need to continue. Please vote to pass HB2258.

Amy Harrigan writes:

I strongly support this bill. My oldest currently a cooperative that has been around for 45 years. We all love it there and want to be able to send our youngest there one day too. This bill will help ensure parents can participate in their child's education and keep cooperative preschools affordable.

Amanda Parks writes:

I strongly support HB2258. Co-operative preschools encourage parental involvement at an early age, which sets the tone for future learning (and future parental volunteers in our public school system). Children, teachers, parents, and even taxpayers benefit when parents are heavily invested in our schools and our community. Additionally, in a state without universal pre-school or Pre-K, we should be doing everything we can to ensure that lower and middle-income families can afford a high-quality preschool education. Cooperative preschools keep costs low so that families who could not otherwise afford increasingly expensive preschools can access quality early education programs. This bill is a win-win!

Lisa Bourven writes:

I am writing to express my strong support for HB2258. We are finishing our 5th and final year at Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church. Thanks to the cooperative preschool model, our family has been able to afford preschool and we have become better parents. HB2258 asks that parents do 4 hours of annual training, which is what we currently do. Our preschool (which has been around for over 50 years) is a high quality and safe program. We have had ZERO licensing violations at our last six inspections. I strongly urge you to pass this bill.

Emily Menard writes:

This bill is essential to keeping cooperative preschools as a viable option for families in Virginia. Co-ops provide an affordable option for early childhood education, they also educate parents, they build stronger communities, and they show parents the value of being involved with their children's schools right from the start.
My son attends a co-op preschool. I chose to stay home after having my third child, which is a financial challenge, but one that my husband and I agreed was important. Had it not been for the low-cost option of the cooperative preschool would have been unaffordable for our family. Not only was the co-op affordable, but it was a great way for me to become involved my kids' education. It also gave us an option for my son who has anxiety issues to be there with him help calm and fears. The school and the community has such a family feel it is amazing. He loves all the parents and we all watch out for each other. I plan to continue to volunteer in schools and community organizations as my children get older. What I am learning from the teachers and from the other parents during preschool makes me a better parent.
Co-ops are not for everyone, but to take away the choice by making the training requirements so onerous that parents can't possibly achieve them is unfair, and without this bill, that is just what will happen.

Michelle Ballin writes:

I strongly support HB2258. As a former elementary school teacher and current family of Williamsburg Parent Co-op Preschool, I can attest to the value of parental involvement in early childhood education. We have been a part of Co-op for 4.5 years and watched both of our children thrive in the hands-on, parent-teacher collaborative environment. There is much research to back up the importance of parental involvement in the success of children’s education, especially in the early years when foundations for a lifetime are formed. Background checks, orientation, parenting classes and supervision of a licensed professional (teachers) keep co-ops safe, while also allowing parents to participate and be involved in their child’s early education. Without this bill, regulations meant to help children would harm co-ops and ultimately break down the co-op model. Let’s keep parents involved in their children’s education!!

Molly Gareis writes:

As a teacher, and the Director of the Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool for the past 11 years, I strongly support HB2258. For 50 years, our Co-op has provided Williamsburg families with a safe and affordable preschool option that allows parents to be fully involved in their children's preschool education. Our 72 families work alongside professional teachers and are never left alone with the children. Our safety record is exemplary. Before I worked at Co-op, my own three children attended Co-op and I learned far more about preschool children from working alongside the amazing Co-op teachers than I ever learned from formal training. We continue that tradition today. Our families are required to attend parenting classes in addition to volunteering in the classroom. Co-op is a strong community of caring people working in service of preschool children. The new regulations passed by the DSS will make it much harder for parents to volunteer in Co-ops. We need HB2258 to pass so we can continue offering Virginia families such a unique and valuable preschool experience!

Nicole writes:

HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Amy Berquist writes:

I support HB2258 and its protection of the current model of Parent Cooperative Preschools in Virginia. Please pass this bill so parent volunteers in CoOp classrooms will be exempt from additional training hours required at child day programs. My family and extended family has been involved at a Virginia CoOp for nearly 15 years, and I’ve witnessed the strong foundation it builds, not just in the lives of children, but in the fabric of the community that surrounds them as they grow. Families who learn together and spend this sort of time in the early education classroom together form connections unique to any other early childhood education experience. This would be lost if training requirements change. As I see it, this bill is about more than just maintaining an incredible learning opportunity for our state’s youngest students; it’s about allowing the parents, teachers, and communities that surround them to continue nurturing, educating, and inspiring them to be curious and engaged as they make their first steps into the world outside their home.

Kacey writes:

I strongly support HB2258. Annandale Cooperative Preschool has provided an absolutely incredible learning environment and allowed me to take an even more active role in my child’s learning. The school provides such a safe environment and allows for not only more parental involvement, but also provides and requires parental training that aids and benefits the kids more than any other school. I will forever recommend this preschool (and the coop model) to any parent looking for an amazing atmosphere and safe learning environment for their child. Please don’t take this opportunity away for other children.

Sarah Glassco writes:

I support HB2258. The 20 hour training requirement would be nearly impossible for most parents to meet, and would place hardship on cooperative preschools and the volunteers, that would result in higher tuition costs and fewer opportunities for parental presence in the classrooms. I was a cooperative preschool parent and I learned so much from observing the teachers and the students. I also benefited from the parent education the school was able to provide. It was a joy to observe my children and their friends, and to get to meet other parents. I continued the involvement with my children's schools throughout their school years by serving on the PTA and making presentations in their classes.

I have since worked as a (non-coop)preschool teacher and trainer of teachers. The cooperative preschool model has much to offer, and has been working successfully under the old training requirements for many years.

Alison Marino writes:

I am in support of HB2258. I have had 3 children (2 of which are now in college) go through a co-op program in Arlington and have been teaching at the same school ever since they moved on to public school in 2003. I learned so much from being a co-oper in my children’s classrooms and continue to learn from having parents in the classrooms I now lead. Please pass this bill so to keep parents involved and in the classrooms of co-ops.

Joanna Edwards writes:

Please pass this non-partisan legislation and allow coop preschools — an important affordable, high-quality early education option for many families in Virginia — to continue to exist. My children, 6 and 8 recently graduated from Rock adoring Cooperative Preschool, are still very close to their preschool friends, I believe because in a cooperative school environment, strong relationships are formed not only amongst the students, but amongst the parents and those relationships build entire communities that people really depend upon. Also, those early experiences of observing parents investing time and resources into their education provided powerful modeling for commitment to community that they still carry with them today. It is important to keep this option available in Virginia.

M.S. writes:

I am a parent at a Cooeprative Preschool. I fully support HB2258. HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for Virginia's families, as they have for over 75 years.

Pete Berquist writes:

I support HB 2258. We have observed children flourish as they were nurtured, challenged, and supported at all levels of the Williamsburg Parent Cooperative Preschool. The training provided by the staff to parents is presented in ways that are relevant, meaningful, and highly effective: we have observed directly how this guidance enriches children. With parents so invested in their children’s experience, the co-op model is significantly different from other day programs. I am a professional educator and involved in educational research and am continually impressed with the caliber of the staff and their ability to so compassionately work with our children and parents. The supportive community that develops from cooperative preschools is profound and only strengthened by the experiences we share in the classroom. The parent cooperative preschool model is truly unique and impactful, yet could substantially be jeopardized by requiring training standards that apply to programs of significantly different design. Please pass this bill with the amended changes keeping required training for parents involved in cooperative preschools to a maximum of four hours.

Brandi Simone Hanley writes:

I strongly support HB2258. My son attends Spring-Mar Cooperative Preschool. As a stay at home parent, co-ops provide an affordable option for my family. We couldn't have asked for a better first school experience. We have seen such a change in all aspects of his life. This bill will ensure that we can keep him in the school that is truly helping him thrive.

Please vote to pass this bill.

Thank you

Meryl Corshen writes:

I strongly support this bill. Passing it will allow Coop Preschools to continue to function under the current exemption that they have been successfully function under for years. Coop preschool offer a unique, involved and dedicated community of educators, parents and children where through cooperation everyone benefits. Coop preschools are an afordable optiboil for preschool and with the current learning gaps we should do everything possible to offer as many preschool options as possible. Please approve this bill.

Amber Kaushik writes:

HB2258 is necessary to ensure that Coop preschools continue to be viable options for Virginia families. Without the passage of this bill, many families will be unable to commit to the burdensome new requirements that will be put in place. This could potentially cause some coop preschools to close, which would limit early education opportunities for Virginia families. As a parent at a coop preschool in Alexandria, I strongly urge you to support the passage of HB2258.

Dayna writes:

I strongly support HB2258. Co-op preschools are so important for parents who want to have active involvement in their children's preschool experience. My son has a very hard time with separation anxiety and so for him to have his parent at school with him part time has really helped him to have a smooth transition to a school environment and routine. Please vote to pass this bill. Thank you.

Casey Loftus writes:

My family belongs to Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church. We support HB 2258 because the recent increases in staff training passed by the Board of Social Services will be a burden on our family.

Cooperative preschools have long been a valued early education option in Virginia. The traditional cooperative preschool model has many benefits for children and families including low tuition (because the parents serve as unpaid classroom aides) and meaningful parental involvement in children's early education (widely acknowledged as beneficial for children's development).

The cooperative preschool model had allowed our children to thrive as they transition into a school environment; achieving success in previous areas of great difficulty.

Please support Virginia’s cooperative preschools. 

Courtney Newbold writes:

I support HB2258 wholeheartedly. Our son was in a cooperative preschool for three years before kindergarten, and our daughter is in the same cooperative preschool now. Parent volunteers are the lifeblood of the cooperative preschool model. It's a beautiful model, one that has allowed our children to grow in a play-based environment and which, we believe, will make every difference in their educations (and future lives). Both my husband and I work. Without this exemption, we would not have been able to manage and our children would have missed out on this wonderful opportunity. Please support this exemption. Coop preschools mean a great deal to those of us who choose to enroll our children in them.

Kimberly Waletich writes:

I strongly support this bill. We sould encourage community support in education at all levels, but especially for early childhood education. Co-operative preschools establish an educational bond early between the parents-school/teachers-and the student. This transparency creates understanding in the process and importance of education which carries though FAR beyond Preschool years. Talk to any teacher in the elementary anf beyond school system and they can tell you which parents came from Cooperative preschools. And this is a good thing. They are involved and engaged in the school system.

Heather M. writes:

I support HB2258 and urge you to support it as well. The cooperative preschool model was the best choice for our family and HB2258 is necessary to allow other families in Virginia to continue to have this option available to them. Our years at Dulin Cooperative Preschool in Falls Church provided an amazing community and an exceptional education experience. Without HB2258, new regulations will raise training requirements to the point where parents will be unable to be involved in the classroom and force tuition increases that will price out families who want to be involved in their child's preschool experience. Please save the cooperative preschool model and support HB2258.

Katherine E. writes:

My family is in full support of HB2258 and it’s continuance of this valuable system that has been in place for over 70 years. With our two children attending Annandale Cooperative preschool, we have been a part of an educational experience that is unmatchable. It is unessesary and potentially crippling to the cooperative model to change a system that is not broken nor in need of fixing. Moving to VA from out of state, this cooperative preschool has provided our family an affordable opportunity to enrichen our lives in a way that could not have been done outside of a parent cooperative. The connection and trust built with our children and their peers, fellow co-op parents, the teachers/ staff/ director and the amount of overall effort circulated through these schools are above and beyond what anyone could ask for. Having the proposed increased hours would have prevented us as well as many other families from attending these types of schools, resulting in their eventual closure. Support HB2258 because cooperative preschools succeed as is.

Kim Reiter writes:

I am writing to show my support of HB2258. There is definitely a common theme amongst cooperative preschool families. We all want to be involved in our chid’s education. There is documented evidence that cooperative preschools provide a safe environment for our children to learn and grown through play. Please pass HB2258 to continue to provide families with a front row seat to their child’s education. Passing this bill would allow cooperative preschools to continue to thrive in Virginia and provide families with an affordable option to be an integral part of their child’s preschool years.

Emily Bartolotta writes:

I cannot possibly express the positive impact a parent cooperative preschool has had on my family. The cooperative model provided a community for our entire family, including other parents and educators who accompanied us through the challenges and triumphs of parenting. As working parents, it was especially meaningful to have a participatory role in our children's early education, while learning alongside diverse families and under the phenomenal guidance of the preschool staff. We look forward to our additional parenting and other training each year, but feel it would prohibitively impact the ability of working parents like us to participate in Coop if additional hours were required. Although my older child has moved on to kindergarten, our relationship with the coop families and staff has continued, and have just enrolled our younger child to begin! Please don't pass legislation that would prevent our family, and others like ours, from benefitting from this highly effective model of early education!

Bahman Anvari writes:

I strongly support HB2258 because of being involved with my children education! HB2258 is necessary to ensure parent co-ops continue to be an option for the families! Passing it will allow Coop Preschools to continue to function under the current exemption that they have been successfully function for many years.

Lizzie writes:

My son attended Fort Hunt Cooperative Preschool in Alexandria, and is now a 1st grade student at Clermont elementary school in Alexandria. My daughter currently attends Fort Hunt Preschool and I have a third child enrolled for next year. We have been fully involved with the co-op model for almost 4 years now. My family supports HB2258 because we deeply believe in parental involvement in our child's education. When we discovered that my eldest son had autism, the dedicated teachers and community of the preschool worked closely with my family to ensure that he received a supportive, nurturing, play-based environment with high-parent involvement. The cooperative model was critical for my
son, and my neorotypical daughter as well, because of the small classroom setting where they felt safe, comfortable, and engaged creatively and cognitively with teachers with great understanding of child development. Fort Hunt's exceptional staff and parent helpers have a vested interest in each student and pay attention to the nuances of the each child’s particular needs. Furthermore, my time in the classroom has empowered me with tools to parent better and advocate for my son in other areas of his life. My son is thriving in the general education setting in Fairfax County public schools and i know it is thanks to his tremendous preschool foundation and my ability to be part of that process. Additional regulations would likely threaten our ability to participate fully without being encumbered by additional hours that would really not effectively train otherwise well-trainee parents. The current standard has been profoundly effective and additional training will turn parents away, force them to “check a box” rather than truly complete training hours in the impactful, effective way we currently do. There should be a bipartisan effort to support HB2258.
Posted

Elisabeth P. writes:

My husband and his sisters attended a coop preschool. My children now attend the same one. We value the coop model because it includes the parent at a fundamental level in their child's education. Participating in the classroom, parents get to see a different side of their child, get to know other children at the same developmental point, and learn from the teacher. My family supports HB2258 because in maintaining the current training standards, it ensures children have the same high quality lower cost opportunities. Drastically increasing the number of training hours would only serve to make coop preschool unattainable for some families, without increasing the quality of education the children receive.
In our fourth year as parents at a coop preschool, we have gotten to know a lot of children and other families. These connections have helped us become more effective parents. And the preschool experience really prepared my oldest daughter to be successful in public school, where she is now a thriving 1st grader. It helped foster a level of confidence and caring that I am impressed with daily.

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