What We Do

LinkB5 is the data system for Virginia's unified measurement and improvement system, Virginia Quality Birth to Five (VQB5). LinkB5 collects information about early childhood care and education (ECE) to broaden and deepen understanding of Virginia’s unique needs and resources. It was created through a partnership between the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF).

Building a strong data system for ECE depends on accurate and comprehensive inputs. Before LinkB5, data collection was siloed and inconsistent, making it difficult to combine data from different provider types, sites, funding streams, and communities across the state. Since 2019, CASTL, VDOE, and VECF have partnered to develop, refine, and expand LinkB5 to include data on all publicly-funded ECE sites in the state, making it one of the most universal and dynamic ECE systems in the country. LinkB5 was developed to be the home for VQB5 data and provide leverage to develop policy, inform research, and build regional-level resources based on current information about the state’s ECE landscape. The system collects information about access to and quality of publicly-funded ECE sites. Starting in 2023, every publicly-funded birth-to-five site in Virginia enters data into LinkB5 as part of their participation in VQB5.

Building a Strong Data System for ECE Depends on Accurate and Comprehensive Inputs

LinkB5 collects data from all publicly-funded sites in Virginia that serve children birth-to-five, including state-funded preschool, Head Start, Early Childhood Special Education, Child Care Subsidy sites including Family Day Homes, Mixed Delivery sites, and Department of Defense childcare sites.

The system collects program-level information including open slots for enrollment, pay ranges for educators, information about the physical spaces where children play and learn, teacher-child interactions, and curricula use. The system also collects information about site administrators and educators, including years of experience, and educational background.

Building a strong data system depends on accurate and comprehensive inputs. LinkB5 provides technical support resources in the form of guides and videos, training sessions and office hours led by the VDOE, and operates a technical support hotline. The LinkB5 team also coordinates with Ready Regions to provide localized supports to reduce barriers to completing VQB5 requirements and improve understanding of the importance of the data collected through LinkB5.

Improving Quality and Generating Research-Based Insights

As LinkB5 gathers and analyzes information about the programs, classrooms, and educators across the state, patterns related to enrollment, the workforce, and quality of care become visible, and therefore, actionable.  The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) uses LinkB5 data to make policy recommendations and funding allocations, and to strengthen family choice.

Using data collected through LinkB5, researchers can study, at scale, powerful levers for impacting children’s learning and well-being, including access to ECE, the quality of children’s ECE experiences, and workforce turnover.

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Our People

Profile Photo of Renae Britton

Renae Britton

  • Early Childhood Business System Analyst

Kasey Dye

  • Data Management Specialist
Allison Gray

Allison Gray

  • Senior Data Analyst and Visualization Specialist
Moira Johnson headshot

Moira Johnson

  • Project Manager

Benjamin King

  • Data Management Specialist
Kathy Neesen

Kathy Neesen

  • Research Scientist
  • Instructional Technology Director
Becky Newell

Becky Newell

  • LinkB5 Education and Outreach Manager
Danielle Peacock

Danielle Peacock

  • Executive Director, Link B5
Miranda Schirch Goldberg

Miranda Schirch Goldberg

  • Early Childhood Customer Service Specialist
Matthew C. Semanik

Matthew C. Semanik

  • Multimedia and Web Developer

Lauren Simmons

  • Research Specialist
  • LinkB5 Outreach Specialist
Lori Stahl

Lori Stahl

  • Communication and Outreach Specialist

Alyssa Vukelich

  • Project Management Associate
Jessica E Whittaker

Jessica E. Whittaker

  • Research Associate Professor
  • Director of Birth to Eight Initiatives
Amanda P Williford

Amanda P. Williford

  • Batten Bicentennial Professor of Early Childhood Education Associate Director for Early Childhood Education
  • CASTL Clinical Psychologist

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