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YoungStar

Program Website

Wisconsin's YoungStar is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2010. It is composed of five levels that are arranged in a block rating structure. Regulated (licensed, certified, license-exempt) center-based, school-age, day camp, and family child care programs can apply and are rated on 1) Education and Training Qualifications, 2) Learning Environment and Curriculum, 3) Business and Professional Practices, 4) Health and Well-Being Practices and 5) High-Quality Practices

Learn & Grow

Program Website

On July 2016 Alaska launched Phase I of Learn & Grow, which included Block Levels 1 & 2 of 5 levels of quality and is available statewide to all licensed child care programs. On April, 2021 Phase II of Learn & Grow announced the hybrid framework Level 1- Level 5 and menu of points for programs to choose from. Currently there are 49%, not including stand-alone before and after school licensed programs, 3 Pre-elementary programs and one Head Start program participating. Learn & Grow is built on the foundation of licensing standards and has quality standards in the following four domains: 1) Administration & Leadership, 2) ECE Qualifications & Professional Development, 3) Learning Environment, Adult-Child Interactions, & Child Outcomes, and 4) Family & Community Engagement. There is a strong focus on continuous quality improvement and many standards are more about process than product. Learn & Grow is located and managed by Alaska’s CCR&R network, called "thread." Learn & Grow leverages resources from thread and Alaska SEED (System for Education Early Development, also located and managed by thread) such as technical assistance and coaching (Relationship Based Professional Development), training, funding, assessment, professional development registry/career ladder, training approval system and soon a coaching (RBPD) approval system.

Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS)

Program Website

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) developed the Massachusetts QRIS in 2011 to improve the quality of early education and care programs across the Commonwealth. The MA QRIS supports programs in providing high-quality early education and care that supports positive outcomes for children. The system includes four levels and uses a block rating structure. The MA QRIS serves the entire mixed-delivery system, which includes center-based, public preschool, and license-exempt early education programs, family child care, and afterschool/out-of-school time programs. Programs are rated on five categories: 1) Curriculum and Learning, 2) Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments, 3) Workforce Qualifications and Professional Development, 4) Family and Community Engagement, and 5) Leadership, Administration, and Management. Given the crisis of COVID-19, EEC has paused its current QRIS in order to allow programs to focus on meeting minimum health and safety requirements necessary for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation. At the same time, EEC is engaging with stakeholders to determine a new program quality support system in MA; the new system will move from a focus on benchmarks and compliance to a focus on supports and continuous quality improvement. Currently, EEC is developing a strategy and implementation plan for the new quality support system that begins with a focus on interactions but also includes curriculum and assessment, physical environment, family engagement, leadership and professional learning, and business practices. This quality support system is expected to begin in 2022 and scale up through 2024.

Paths to Quality

Program Website

Paths to Quality is the voluntary and statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System in Indiana. Eligible programs include licensed center-based and family child care programs as well as Registered Ministries that have achieved Voluntary Certification Program (VCP) and legally license-exempt public and non-public schools. It is composed of four levels and uses a block rating structure. Ratings are based on four categories: 1) Professional Development and Education, 2) Program Administration, 3) Environment and Instruction, and 4) Accreditation.

Reaching for the Stars

Program Website

Oklahoma's Reaching for the Stars is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 1998. The QRIS has four levels and is organized into a block rating structure. Eligible programs are rated based on six categories: 1) Administrative, 2) Professional Development/Qualifications, 3) Learning Environment, 4) Family Engagement, 5) Program Evaluation, and 6) Accreditation.

Star Rated License System

Program Website

The Star Rated License System is North Carolina's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 1999. The Star Rated License System awards one to five stars based on state-defined standards related to staff education and program quality. Licensed center-based and family child care home programs can earn up to seven points in each of these two areas and have the option to earn one quality point by meeting an additional educational or programmatic standard.

Utah's Child Care Quality System (CCQS)

Program Website

Utah's Child Care Quality System is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System. The system is mandatory for licensed child care programs that receive federal child care subsidy and is voluntary for licensed child care programs that do not receive federal child care subsidy. A program that receives subsidy and has a license in good standing will be assigned a Default Foundation of Quality rating unless they submit an application for a certified quality rating. The system uses a hybrid block and point rating structure that allows programs to receive one of four certified quality ratings. Programs are rated on five domains of quality: 1) Health and Safety, 2) Learning Environments, 3) Leadership and Professional Development, 4) Management and Administration, and 5) National Accreditation.

Early Achievers

Program Website

Early Achievers is Washington's statewide Quality Recognition and Improvement System. It began in 2012 and has five levels that are arranged in a hybrid rating structure. Eligible programs include licensed or certified center-based and family child care facilities, as well as Head Start and Washington's state Pre-K programs. Once enrolled, programs are rated on six categories: 1) Learning Environment, 2) Child Outcomes, 3) Interactions and Curriculum, 4) Family Engagement and Partnership, 5) Professional Development and Training, and 6) Accreditation

Steps to Quality

Program Website

Steps to Quality is Idaho's voluntary statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System, composed of six steps in a building block model. All licensed early childcare programs and Head Starts are eligible to participate. If a program's structure is eligible for subsidy, they must also be a certified subsidy provider to enroll. A Step 1 rating is completed in the IdahoSTARS online database. Steps 2-5 require an annual ERS and Step Verification with a verifier. Step 6 is a fast track rating for accredited and Head Start programs. The seven quality domains used in a Step Verification are 1) Health, Safety, and Wellness, 2) Business Practices, 3) Child Development, 4) Curriculum and Instruction, 5) Environments, 6) Inclusion and Diversity, and 7) Partnerships with Families and Communities. Step Verifications are valid for one year. All ratings receive a certificate and are promoted on the IdahoSTARS website and in parent referrals. Step 3-6 are also eligible for monetary recognition. All Steps to Quality programs, prior to rating and throughout their annual rating cycles, are supported by a multidisciplinary team of coaches, including Resource Specialists, Health Consultants and Quality Consultants. Coaching is available on-site and virtually and includes joint planning, focused observation, and reflection and feedback.

Virginia Quality

Program Website

Virginia Quality is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2007 and was revised in 2014-2015. Eligible programs progress through a block rating structure based on their ability to meet criteria and complete improvement activities in four standards of quality: 1) Education & Qualifications, 2) Curriculum & Assessment, 3) Environment, and 4) Interactions.

ABC Quality

Program Website

South Carolina's formal QRIS, known as ABC Quality, began in 2007. All legally operating child care programs statewide are eligible to participate. There are five levels that are arranged in a hybrid rating structure. Ratings are based on three components: 1) Eligibility Requirements to Participate evaluated annually, 2) Process Quality Elements determined by annual scores of the selected classrooms observed and 3) Structural Quality Elements relating to the administrative and policy aspects of early care and education including group size, teacher-to-children ratio, staff qualifications and professional development, and policies to support areas such as family engagement, risk management, and health and safety.

FOCUS ~ FOCUS on Young Children's Learning

Program Website

FOCUS On Young Children’s Learning, New Mexico’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS), provides early childhood program personnel with the criteria, tools, and resources they need to improve the quality of their programs. These quality improvements focus on children’s growth, development, and learning, so that each child has an equitable opportunity to be successful when entering school. The FOCUS program is implemented in Child Care Centers, Family Child Care Homes, Out of School Time Programs, and Tribal programs throughout the state.

QUALITYstarsNY

Program Website

QUALITYstarsNY is New York State's voluntary 5-Star Quality Rating and Improvement System for early childhood programs. Since its inception, QUALITYstarsNY has focused its evidence-based practices to ensure that young children in participating programs have access to excellence and their families can trust the level of quality in the programs they choose.

Spark

Program Website

Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System (Spark) started in 2013. Spark is composed of five levels, with the first level being licensure. Licensed center-based and family child care programs are eligible to participate and are rated based on a block system in five categories: 1) Children's Learning and Development, 2) Health and Safety, 3) Personnel Qualifications, 4) Family Partnerships, and 5) Administrative and Business Practices.

Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS)

Program Website

Vermont's statewide Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) began in 2004 and is composed of five levels. All regulated programs participate in STARS at least at the 1-STAR level. Programs who choose to progress do so by accumulating points in the rating structure based on their ability to meet indicators within four categories: 1) Staff Qualifications, 2) Program Practices, 3) Families and Community, and 4) Administration.

Best Beginnings STARS to Quality

Program Website

Best Beginnings STARS to Quality is Montana's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2010. Licensed center-based, family and group child care, and Head Start programs can apply. The system is composed of five levels that are arranged in a block rating structure. Programs are rated based on the following five categories: 1) Education, 2) Qualifications and Training, 3) Staff/ Caregiver-to-Child Ratio & Group Size, 4) Family/ Community Partnership, and 5) Leadership & Program Management.

ExceleRate Illinois

Program Website

ExceleRate Illinois is a statewide system that began in 2013. It uses a block rating structure and is composed of four levels (Licensed, Bronze, Silver, and Gold). Licensed center-based programs and family child care homes are automatically enrolled once licensed. Participation at higher levels is voluntary. Programs are rated based on four domains: 1) Teaching and Learning, 2) Family and Community Engagement, 3) Leadership and Management, and 4) Qualifications and Continuing Education.

Great Start to Quality

Program Website

Great Start to Quality is Michigan's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that became operational in 2011. Licensed center-based and family child care programs are eligible to participate. The system is composed of five levels that are organized in a points rating structure. Program ratings are based on five categories: 1) Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, 2) Family and Community Partnerships, 3) Administration and Management, 4) Environment, and 5) Curriculum and Instruction.

Quality Counts California (QCC)

Program Website

Collaborative state and local efforts to improve the quality of early learning and care programs for California’s children have been underway for more than a decade. This began in 2011 with the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant, which provided states with funding to develop a statewide, locally-driven quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). When this funding expired in 2015, leaders from across the state agreed to consolidate these efforts into Quality Counts California, with funding from the California Department of Education, California Department of Social Services, and First 5 California. Collectively, investments from these agencies provide the opportunity to serve a full spectrum of program types, expand the reach of QIS, and effectively increase quality throughout the state.

Quality Rated

Program Website

Georgia's Quality Rated is a statewide system that began in 2012. The QRIS is composed of three possible rating levels and uses a points-based structure, ratings earned are valid for 3 years. Eligible programs include licensed center-based, family child care, and stand-alone school-age programs; Head Start/EHS, and other ECE programs such as Department of Defense (DOD) programs and University and College lab schools. All participating programs are rated based on evidence submitted in an electronic portfolio in five structural quality categories or standards, and upon observation of classroom practices where they demonstrate their process quality. The 5 categories or standards in the structural quality component are: 1) Director and Teacher Qualifications and Georgia Professional Development System (GaPDS) Verification, 2) Child Health, Nutrition, and Physical Activity, 3) Family Engagement, 4) Intentional Teaching Practices, and 5) Teacher-to-Student Ratios. The process quality score is determined using the family of Environment Rating Scales (ERS). The structural quality and process quality scores, along with any bonus points awarded by completion of approved national accreditations, are used to determine a program's overall star rating. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in early 2020, DECAL created new Temporary Alternate Rating Options (TARO) enabling programs to continue their quality improvement journey. TARO provides the mechanism for programs to achieve a temporary rating through a new virtual process that serves as a substitute for the process quality points typically earned during the live ERS observation. TARO allows for providers to choose the best option for rating during the pandemic with 3 different rating options that can be selected. Option A - Portfolio Only, allows programs who maximize their Structural Quality points to earn a temporary 1-Star rating that is valid for one year only. Option B - Quality Rated Virtual Process (QRVP), allows programs the opportunity to earn a temporary rating of up to 2-Stars which are valid for two years. Programs engage in a collaborative process with Quality Rated staff and their Technical Assistance consultant whereby they complete assignments in 4 Topics that allow them to demonstrate their classroom practices virtually, the topics are grounded in concepts from the ERS: 1) Schedules and Transitions, 2) Nurturing Relationships, 3) Impactful Interactions, and 4) Intentional Teaching. Each topic contains learning activities and 4 tasks or assignments that must be completed and submitted for scoring to earn the QRVP process quality points. The activities include a continuous quality improvement (CQI) report; webinar training with a quiz; and 2 demonstrated practices activities evidenced by the submission of required video clips, photos, and a targeted deep dive activity. Programs can also earn bonus points by completing optional assignments in each topic which is comprised of online training specific to the topic. Option C - Live Observation-Virtual Experience (LO-VE) is the third rating option only available to programs who are seeking a re-rating and had previously been rated with an observation. This option provides the ability to earn a temporary 3-Star rating that is valid for two years. Building upon completion of all 4 Topics in the QRVP, programs complete a 5th topic - Literacy in the Environment, and submit to a live observation that is conducted remotely utilizing robotic technology called Swivl and an iPad. The TARO rating system is a temporary solution to continue rating programs during the COVID pandemic, rating operations under the traditional method with on-site ERS observation will resume when it is safe to do so.

Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System

Program Website

Colorado Shines is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System. The Colorado Shines rating is attached to the state child care licensing rules and regulations making participation mandatory for licensed center-based and family child care programs. The system uses a hybrid block and point rating structure composed of five levels. While participation is mandatory at Level 1, higher levels 2 through 5 are voluntary. Programs are rated on five areas of quality: 1) Workforce Qualification and Professional Development, 2) Family Partnerships, 3) Leadership, Management and Administration, 4) Learning Environment, and 5) Child Health.

School Readiness Program Assessment (FL State)

Program Website

The School Readiness Program Assessment is statutorily mandated for providers serving children birth to kindergarten entry and wishing to enter into a contract to provide subsidized child care. Providers receive CLASS observations in 50% of their classrooms by care level: infant, toddler and preschool. The rooms are randomly selected by an algorithm. The dimensions of the CLASS tool (except Negative Climate) are averaged together to receive a composite score. At a minimum, providers must receive a composite of at least 3.5 to enter into a contract. Providers who receive scores in the 3.5 to 3.99 are required to participate in a 12-month Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). Intervention strategies may be locally designed or providers may be assigned up to two of the Division of Early Learning (DEL) approved strategies: CLASS Group Coaching (formerly MMCI), 20 hours of Coaching, 20 hours of IACET training, or Professional Development. Providers who receive scores at the Quality Threshold of 4.0 or better receive differentials of 4% (4.0 - 4.99), 7% (5.00 - 5.99) or 10% (6-7). In addition, providers may elect to conduct child assessments for a 5% differential on top of their base reimbursement rate. Providers with a composite score of 5.0 or higher are allowed to have program assessments conducted biennially.

Step Up to Quality

Program Website

The Nebraska QRIS launched on July 1, 2014. It is a statewide system, with some providers being targeted based on the amount of their child care subsidy reimbursement. Licensed providers that receive $500,000 or more were required to participate before the end of 2014; those that received $250,000 or more were required to participate by year-end 2015 (Year 2). Moving forward, any program receiving $250,000 in subsidy the prior year must participate by year-end or the following year. All other licensed programs, Head Start, Public School early childhood programs, and nationally accredited programs may also voluntarily participate. Licensing is Step 1. Step 2 encompasses all the required child care licensing training, an additional Go NAP SACC (Nutrition & physical activity for child care) Orientation training, and completion of the pre-self assessment tool. Steps 3 through 5 will allow choices in five standard areas to make progress and will earn points for completing defined indicators. Participants must earn 1 point in each standard area before they can move up a step level.

Capital Quality

Program Website

Capital Quality is the quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) in licensed child development facilities in the District of Columbia. Capital Quality measures the quality of early care and education programs in licensed child development facilities and supports providers to continuously improve quality. Information about the quality of each early care and education program is also shared with families of young children in Washington, DC. It allows families to review and compare the quality of programs throughout the District and make informed decisions about where to enroll their child. Capital Quality measures programs in areas that are known to make a difference in early learning quality, including the environment, program structure and teacher-child interactions. Programs are assessed using the evidence-based Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale, Third Edition (ITERS-3), Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale, Third Edition (FCCERS-3) and/or Classroom Assessment Scoring System Pre-K (CLASS Pre-K).

Maryland EXCELS (Excellence Counts in Early Learning and School-age Child Care)

Program Website

Maryland EXCELS is a statewide Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System that opened for statewide participation on July 1, 2013 after a pilot and field test. It is composed of five levels (1 - 5) and organized in a block rating structure. Participating programs are rated in five content areas: 1) Licensing and Compliance, 2) Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, 3) Accreditation and Rating Scales, 4) Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice, and 5) Administrative Policies and Practices.

Keystone STARS

Program Website

Pennsylvania's Keystone STARS is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2002. Both Department of Human Services certified child care providers with a regular certificate of compliance and private academic preschool programs, licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in good standing are awarded a STAR 1 to indicate foundational achievement in meeting health and safety standards. Programs may choose to participate in ongoing quality improvement activities to move up to a STAR 2, 3 or 4. Keystone STARS is composed of four levels and organized in a hybrid points and block rating structure. Program ratings are based on four performance standards categories: 1) Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, 2) Early Childhood Education Program, 3) Partnerships with Family and Community, and 4) Leadership and Management. In order to be designated as a STAR 2, programs must meet all required quality indicators at this STAR level. At STAR 3 and 4, programs must, in addition to meeting all STAR 2 required indicators, meet an additional 2 required quality indicators and then earn sufficient points from the optional points-based quality indicators. In order to be a STAR 3, programs must earn at least 70% of available points in each of the 4 Performance Standards categories. In order to be a STAR 4, programs must earn at least 85% of available points in each of the 4 Performance Standard categories.

Strong Minds (Palm Beach County)

Program Website

Strong Minds is a voluntary quality rating improvement system that promotes high quality in early care and education programs. The goal of Strong Minds is to ensure all children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn. Strong Minds focuses on 1) Improving children’s learning and development, 2) improving adult-child interactions, and 3) increasing family engagement in children’s learning and development. Strong Minds recognizes program directors and family child care home operators as the leaders and change agents for their programs. Strong Minds is designed to support higher quality programs in their continuous quality improvement efforts by making a variety of supports available to them.

Better Beginnings

Program Website

Better Beginnings is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System in Arkansas. It began in 2010 and is managed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. Licensed center-based and licensed family child care programs are eligible to participate. It is composed of three levels and uses a block rating structure. Programs are rated based on five categories: 1) Administration, 2) Administrator/Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, 3) Child Health and Development, 4) Environmental Assessment, and 5) Learning Environment.

Step Up To Quality

Program Website

Step Up To Quality is the statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System in Ohio that was developed in 2004. Eligible programs include licensed center-based and family child care programs. It is composed of five levels. Programs progress through this rating structure based on five categories: 1) Learning & Development, 2) Administrative & Leadership Practices, 3) Staff Qualifications & Professional Development, 4) Family & Community Partnerships, and 5) Staff/Child Ratio & Group Size & Accreditation.

Quality First

Program Website

Quality First is a statewide Quality Improvement and Rating System (QIRS) in Arizona. Arizona has intentionally focused on the improvement efforts of participants prior to establishing a rating. The system was developed in 2009 through a voter initiative and is funded by tobacco tax revenue. Quality First is a voluntary program and offers five quality levels of a star rating. Regulated center-based and family child care programs can apply and progress in the hybrid rating structure based on their ability to meet indicators within two standards: 1) Environments (ERS), and 2) Interactions (CLASS).

Grow NJ Kids

Program Website

Grow NJ Kids, New Jersey’s QRIS, was piloted starting in late summer of 2013, in four counties in the central and northern regions of the state. Fifty-seven diverse programs including Head Start, school-based pre-k, and licensed child care centers participated in the pilot. These programs completed a self-assessment and were provided with assistance to develop a quality improvement plan. The QRIS standards were revised based on the results of the pilot, and the numbers of standards and categories were reduced. In January 2014, New Jersey was awarded a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant; statewide roll-out of its QRIS began in the fall of that year.

Texas Rising Star

Program Website

Texas Rising Star is a hybrid statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that was most recently revised in 2021. Texas Rising Star certified providers offer quality care that exceed the state’s Child Care Regulation Minimum Standards in four categories: 1) Director and Staff Qualifications, 2) Teacher-Child Interactions, 3) Program Administration, and 4) Indoor/Outdoor Learning Environments. Texas Rising Star certified early learning programs may obtain a progressively higher level as follows: 2-Star, 3-Star, and 4-Star certification. More information about the Texas Rising Star program may be found by visiting the program’s website: https://texasrisingstar.org/

Thrive by 5 Early Learning Quality Improvement System (Miami-Dade County)

Program Website

Thrive by 5 QIS was redesigned to address disparities in our community and ensure that all children in our community have equitable access to high quality early learning experiences and that all children are prepared and ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. Programs earn a tier level according to a CLASS composite score and receive tiered payment differentials according to their tier. Differentials are paid on ALL children, not only subsidized children and are based on enrollment and maximum days paid per month. Additionally, mental health consultation, salary supplements, child assessment supports and subscriptions, a robust educator scholarship program and on-site coaching are available to programs. The QIS also incorporates a child scholarship component which offers scholarships to families that do not qualify for subsidized childcare but cannot afford the high cost of quality childcare. The scholarships must be used in Tier 4 & 5 programs.

Iowa's Quality Rating System

Program Website

Iowa's voluntary Quality Rating System began in 2006. It was recalibrated in 2010. We are in the final stages of re-designing the entire system and a new Quality Rating and Improvement System entitled IQ4K - Iowa Quality for Kids will roll out on April 1, 2022. Currently, there are five levels organized in a hybrid rating structure. Child development homes, licensed child care centers and preschools, and school-operated early childhood programs are eligible to apply. Programs are rated based on five categories: 1) Professional Development, 2) Health and Safety, 3) Environment, 4) Family and Community Partnerships, and 5) Leadership & Administration.

BrightStars

Program Website

BrightStars is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System operating in Rhode Island. It started in 2009 and is composed of five levels. Eligible programs include licensed center-based programs, preschools located in public schools, school-age programs, and family child care programs. Once enrolled, programs are rated on ten categories: 1) Learning Environment, 2) Minimum Staff-Child Ratio, 3) Maximum Group Size, 4) Teacher Qualifications, 5) Program Leadership, 6) Continuous Quality Improvement, 7) Curriculum, 8) Child Assessment, 9) Inclusive Classroom Practices, and 10) Family Communication and Involvement.

Bright & Early North Dakota

Program Website

Bright & Early ND is North Dakota's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that began in 2014. Bright & Early ND uses a block system approach which incorporates four standards, or steps, to quality. Each of the Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality focuses on one component of care and is composed of a consistent set of quality indicators that measure the program's practices. The Bright & Early ND Steps to Quality build upon each other to create a framework for continuous quality improvement. The outcome is a program that maximizes a child's readiness for school, work, and life.

Delaware Stars for Early Success

Program Website

Delaware Stars for Early Success is a statewide system that first became operational in 2008. Eligible programs progress through this five-leveled hybrid points/core standards system rating structure. Participating programs are rated on four categories: 1) Family and Community Partnerships, 2) Qualifications and Professional Development, 3) Management and Administration, and 4) Learning Environment and Curriculum. Verifications of ratings have been suspended since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guiding Stars of Duval (Duval County)

Program Website

Guiding Stars of Duval 4.0 (in its fourth iteration effective 7/1/2019) is a county-wide Quality Rating and Improvement System operating in Duval County, Florida. Guiding Stars has been implemented for over 10 years. The QRIS has five levels arranged in a hybrid level / points rating structure. Licensed and licensed-exempt programs can apply, and are rated on three categories: 1) Program Personnel - Staff Qualifications and Professional Development (20%), 2) Program Assessment - Teacher Child Interactions (60%), and 3) Program Content - Child Screening, Child Assessment, and Child Well-Being (20%).

Parent Aware

Program Website

Parent Aware is Minnesota's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2007. It is composed of four levels, and participation is voluntary. Eligible programs are rated on five categories: 1) Teaching and Relationships with Children, 2) Relationships with Families, 3) Assessment and Planning for Each Individual Child, 4) Professionalism, and 5) Health and Well-being.

Louisiana's Unified Statewide Early Childhood Quality Rating and Improvement System

Program Website

In June 2015, Louisiana established a unified statewide quality rating and improvement system for child care, Head Starts, and public and nonpublic schools serving children birth to five years of age. Through the unified rating and improvement system, each publicly-funded site and community in Louisiana receives a Performance Profile that includes a rating based on rigorous classroom observations using the CLASS system of measures. Performance Profiles also include information on best practices that measure important quality inputs, including use of ongoing assessment and a high-quality curriculum, the education and certifications of teachers, and teacher:child ratios. These profiles provide families with key information about all sites and community networks serving children through public funds.

Report Card and Rated Licensing System

Program Website

The Report Card and Rated Licensing System is Tennessee's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System. The system first became operational in 2001 and is composed of three levels that are arranged in a hybrid rating structure. All licensed center-based and family child care programs receive an annual Rated License and Report Card. Center-based programs are rated on eight categories: Director Qualifications, Professional Development, Developmental Learning, Parent/Family Involvement, Ratio and Group Size, Staff Compensation, Program Assessment, and Health and Wellbeing. Family child care programs are rated on five categories: Professional Development, Developmental Learning, Parent/Family Involvement, Business Management, and Program Assessment. Providers who wish to participate in the Star Rating program are eligible for a bonus, above the base reimbursement rate.

Quality for ME

Program Website

Maine's Quality for ME began in 2008, and is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System. It has four levels that are organized in a block rating structure. Eligible programs are rated based on eight categories: 1) Compliance history/Licensing status, 2) Learning environment/Developmentally appropriate practice, 3) Program evaluation, 4) Staffing and professional development, 5) Administrative policies and procedures, 6) Parent/Family involvement, 7) Family resources, and 8) Authentic assessment.

New Hampshire QRIS (last updated in 2019)

Program Website

New Hampshire's QRIS is a statewide system that began in 2005. It has three levels (licensed, Licensed Plus and nationally accredited) that are organized in a block rating structure. Licensed center-based programs, including school-age and licensed family child care, can participate. Licensed Plus programs are rated on the following eight categories: 1) Regulation, 2) Administration and Business Practices, 3) Learning Environment, 4) Parent/ Family Involvement, 5) Children with Special Needs, 6) Professional Development, 7) Staff Qualifications and Compensation, and 8) Program Evaluation. NH's system is currently under revision, to be known as the Quality Recognition and Improvement System. It is anticipated that the revised system will have four levels of quality above the Licensed level, potentially include two standards for quality and multiple "endorsements" for which programs may apply.

Kentucky All STARS

Program Website

Kentucky All STARS is Kentucky’s expanded five-star quality rating and improvement system serving all early care and education programs – including childcare centers, Head Start and public preschool – that receive public funding.

American Samoa’s QRIS is intended to be a 5-star system, with the 2-Star level indicating that programs are meeting licensing requirements. The QRIS is in the later stages of refinement, and as of June 2015 they were deciding whether to include an observational assessment of quality in the rating and, if so, which measure to use. The categories of rating indicators will be: 1) parent engagement, 2) administration, 3) professional development, and 4) health/safety. A pilot of these standards took place in October 2015. Quality improvement supports for programs will include coaching and training opportunities for providers.

The Alabama Quality STARS Program (QRIS) began full implementation in February 2016. Eligible programs now include licensed centers, family homes daycare centers, group home daycare centers as well as center programs that cannot be licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources, such as military, public school, college, university, and Tribal programs. The Department of Early Childhood Education is now the new vendor for the STARS program. Alabama Quality STARS has a new system in place for determining STAR level. The previous “building block” system has been changed. Alabama Quality STARS is now using a five-STAR “point” system. Programs must accumulate a certain number of points to achieve a STAR rating of 2 STAR or higher. All licensed centers are automatically a STAR 1 unless the provider decides to opt-out. The STARS Standards are based on two scoring guides: Best Practice Rubric Criteria Scoring Guide and CLASS Criteria and Scoring Guide. Full implementation of family and group childcare homes was completed in 2021. Alabama Quality STARS has been fully implemented overall.

Information about the Hillsborough QRIS is not currently available.

Information about the Sarasota Look for the Stars QRIS is not currently available.

In 2014, Guam began a pilot of its QRIS by rating 11 of its 42 licensed center-based programs. Pilot programs received improvement and rating supports from a facilitator who was assigned to work with them. There are four levels to Guam’s QRIS and its indicators of quality related to scores on the ECERS and ITERS, education and training, and health and safety. Guam’s professional development indicators build on their Early Childhood Care & Education’s plan for professional development which guides providers in planning to receive additional education and training to improve the quality of early care and education they provide. The 2014 pilot was not completed; however in 2018 Guam's contractor, Guam Community College (GCC) facilitated a new pilot with the same providers that initially volunteered in 2014. Ten centers were rated: seven were rated 3-star and three centers were rated 2-star. GCC is now coordinating a second round of evaluations with a new cohort of providers.

Hawai`i completed a pilot in 2014 to test the feasibility of scaling their quality improvement initiatives up to the statewide level. Following the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant in November 2014, they have chosen to focus on ensuring that they are meeting the health and safety, training, and monitoring requirements in the new law rather than formal QRIS development. Hawai`i continues to implement their on-going quality improvement initiatives, including the Learning to Grow program which provides resources in the area of child development to license-exempt providers and registered family child care providers; support to licensed and registered providers in meeting USDA food program requirements; free and low cost training for early care providers; scholarships for practitioners to complete a Child Development Associate credential or towards early childhood college credits; and training through the Healthy Child Care Hawai`i for pediatricians so that they can act as early childhood health consultants for licensed providers.

Quality Stars, Mississippi's QRIS, is no longer in effect. No other information about quality improvement efforts in the state is available at this time.

Missouri is currently piloting a an early learning Quality Assurance Report (QAR). The goal is to provide a continuous quality improvement process for early learning programs and to provide families with consumer education about the quality of early learning programs. Participation in the QAR is voluntary and spans all provider types.

Pasitos (little steps toward quality improvement of child care services) is Puerto Rico’s island-wide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2010. It has five levels that are arranged within a points rating structure. Eligible licensed programs are rated based on the following ten areas: 1) Positive relationships, 2) Daily activity planning to stimulate children’s development (curriculum), 3) Teaching Strategies, 4) Assessment of children’s progress, 5) Health and safety, 6) Teachers professional background, 7) Family involvement, 8) Community relationships, 9) Learning environment, and 10) Leadership and Management (policies and procedures). Pasitos evaluates the services offered by early childhood centers from the private and public sectors. It is a voluntary self-assessment process.

South Dakota is working to develop a system of recognition for early care and education providers that aligns with the licensing requirements in the Child Care Development Block Grant reauthorization of November 2014. They currently operate five Early Childhood Enrichment Sites throughout the state that act as a hub for training and technical assistance to ECE providers. They are also working towards providing credit to programs that go above and beyond licensing standards, although the form that this additional credit will take is currently unknown.

The Virgin Islands’ QRIS, Step up to Quality, is a five-level system that has been in a pilot phase since 2013. As of October 2015, there were 23 programs participating in the pilot. Four standards comprise the Step up to Quality system, including: 1) professional development and staff qualifications; 2) teaching and learning environments; 3) facilities, operations, policies, and leadership; and 4) family and community engagement. Programs start at the first level, which is equivalent to licensing, and progress through each additional level. In-person technical assistance, quality improvement grants, and training and scholarships for professional development are provided to programs to help them progress through the levels. Full implementation of Step up to Quality was planned to take place in late 2015 through 2016.

West Virginia has been working to develop a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early care and education programs for several years. In 2008, a tiered reimbursement system was put into place with three quality tier levels for licensed child care programs. In 2009, legislation was passed mandating implementation of a QRIS but without the funding to support it. The tiered reimbursement system encompasses some components of a QRIS, like the use of quality standards and paper documentation to verify compliance with standards, but it does not include the full range of incentives and supports for programs and practitioners that a complete QRIS would entail. The system is also lacking consumer education and awareness, such as a name for the QRIS and detailed information available to parents. New legislation has been proposed that would allow for easier updating of quality standards as best practices change, would be less restrictive and broader in scope, and would include all early childhood education sectors and settings. In consultation with the QRIS Advisory Council, the standards for the proposed QRIS have already been revised. The Council is aiming to develop a four-tier reimbursement system that includes technical assistance, on-site monitoring, multiple pathways to quality, and inclusion of all early childhood and school-age care programs, among other features.

Wyoming currently has no QRIS, but is working jointly with the Wyoming Early Childhood State Advisory Council on identifying technical assistance options to explore a system of ECE quality improvement. They are working to develop quality standards that will align with their Early Learning Guidelines and Early Learning Foundations. A career ladder for providers is also currently under development.

Nevada Silver State Stars QRIS

Program Website

Nevada Silver State Stars QRIS is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that started in 2013. It is composed of five levels and uses a hybrid rating structure. Licensed center-based programs can apply, and ratings are determined by a set of required criteria for each level as well as an in-person Environment Rating Scale assessment. Previously, ratings were also based on additional quality indicators, beyond the required criteria. This changed in 2021. The Family Child Care model launched in Southern Nevada in 2016 and statewide in 2017. The Family Child Care model is similar to the Center model with five levels, required criteria at each level, and an Environment Rating Scale assessment. The Local Education Agency (LEA or District) Model Pre-K model launched in 2016 for all schools that receive Pre-K Development Grant funding. The District model is also a five-level, hybrid model with required criteria and an Environment Rating Scale assessment. The LEA model was placed on hold for funding reasons June 2019-June 2020. The district model came back online in July of 2020. A Tribal child care model is currently in development.

Links to Quality (L2Q) is the developing QRIS system in Kansas. The system is being designed to recognize and develop quality in early childcare providers. The foundational links of L2Q will be 1. Program Administration, 2. Family Partnerships, 3. Learning and Development, and 4. Health and Safety. As L2Q progresses, additional links with be created to encourage the continuous quality improvement process. Each area of recognition contains benchmarks and standards participating providers must meet to achieve the corresponding Quality Recognition Link. These benchmarks will be documented through submitted portfolios in each area. A pilot of the L2Q program ran from April of 2018 through April of 2020. It included approximately 40 providers across 17 counties organized into five learning communities. Upon completion of the pilot, due to COVID-19, L2Q shifted its focus to a response phase. Plans are currently in development for a full statewide implementation of the L2Q program in Spring of 2023.

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood is creating a quality improvement system that bridges licensing standards to accreditation standards, for center and home based providers. In our system, we do not rate programs or classrooms, as many states do. Connecticut programs are licensed, accredited, or moving toward accreditation. The new system focuses on simplicity, accessibility and leveraging existing health, safety, and quality assurance. This offers a supportive structure for programs, increases transparency and clarity for families, and reduces state overhead expenses. Connecticut has historically been among the top three states in the percentage of NAEYC Accredited early care and education programs. This impressive ranking is due to state investments, visionary leadership, and ongoing accreditation support from within the agency for the field.