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Grow NJ Kids
Program Website
Grow NJ Kids, New Jersey’s QRIS, was piloted starting in late summer of 2013. It was piloted 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 number of standards and categories were reduced. In January 2014, New Jersey was awarded a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant and began statewide roll-out of its QRIS in fall of that year.




In 2014, Guam’s completed 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 off of 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. A new QRIS contractor began administering the QRIS in the middle of 2014 and the timeline for their rolling out of rating of other programs is currently unknown.


Louisiana’s QRIS, Quality Start, is a 5-Star voluntary block system that has been in operation since 2007. Louisiana began piloting a new QRIS in 2013 that incorporates many of the components of the existing Quality Start QRIS like ratios, staff qualifications, and family engagement, as part of a comprehensive public profile that will be available for all participating programs. This new system will make final rating determinations based on an observational assessment score. It will have three levels (needs improvement, proficient, excellent) and participation will be mandatory for center-based, school-based, and Head Start programs. Continued pilot-testing of the revised system will take place through early 2016 with the expectation of a full launch in September 2016.


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 that new law rather than on formal QRIS development. Hawai`i continues to implement their on-going quality improvement initiatives, which include the Learning to Grow program which provides resources in the area of child development to license-exempt providers; support to licensed and registered providers in meeting USDA food program requirements; free and low cost training for early care providers; scholarships to 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.


The District of Columbia's Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS), Going for the Gold, began in 2000 and is a three-tier system of Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The Bronze level is equivalent to licensing and the Gold level to national accreditation. The District successfully launched its Enhanced QRIS pilot program in April 2016 to advance and align quality standards across DC’s three-sector system. The Enhanced QRIS pilot aims to align supports to research-based quality standards and target areas of improvement through collaborative partnership between child development providers, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and other agencies; and provide meaningful consumer information. The enhanced QRIS has three components: a rating, a continuous quality improvement (CQI) plan, and a public-facing profile. The enhanced QRIS will have four tiers of quality and use a combination of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), the Environmental Rating Scales (ERS), and in-seat attendance (for pre-K programs only) to rate programs. The CQI plan includes a set of quality standards that are common to all programs that serve children birth to age 5. These standards align with already existing standards for the three primary sectors currently operating early childhood education programs in the District: public charter schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, and community-based organizations (primarily licensed center-based early care and education). The quality indicators in the CQI plan include: mission statement, attendance policies, family engagement, child progress monitoring and assessment, use of curriculum, culturally and linguistically responsive practice, inclusion practices, and professional development. The public-facing profile will include the rating, elements of the CQI plan, and additional information that will be beneficial to families, such as hours of operation, group size and ratios, and results of licensing and monitoring visits.


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.


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 the full 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.


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: professional development and staff qualifications; teaching and learning environments; facilities, operations, policies, and leadership; and 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, training and scholarships for professional development are provided to programs to help them progress through the levels. Full implementation of Step up to Quality is planned to take place in late 2015 through 2016.


The Texas Rising Star (TRS) Provider Certification has been in existence since 1991. During the 2013 Texas legislative session, the legislature established the TRS workgroup to review the TRS guidelines and make recommendations for revisions to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The legislature requires TWC to propose rules based on the recommendations they receive from the workgroup. On July 3rd 2014, the TRS workgroup submitted the recommendations to TWC. In 2015, TWC approved revisions to the TRS child care certification program, including modifications to the standards required of child care providers. The modifications include a new rating and logo system that will make it easier for parents to choose a child care provider with advanced levels of certification. The new logos indicate which level of certification has been met by the child care providers participating in the TRS certification system. TRS certified providers offer quality care that exceed the State’s Minimum Child Care Licensing Standards in five categories: director and staff qualifications; caregiver-child interactions; curriculum; nutrition and indoor/outdoor activities; and parent education and involvement. TRS certified childcare providers exceed minimum licensing requirements to obtain a progressively higher level as follows: 2 star level (exceeds minimum licensing requirements in all five categories); 3 star level (meets high-quality standards in all five categories); and 4 star level (meets highest standards of quality in all five categories). The enhanced standards and new star ratings were effective Sept. 1, 2015. Additionally, for FY 2017, TWC will provide funding to support for the Texas Early Childhood Workforce Registry. The Texas Workforce Registry will be available to TRS providers- at no charge. The Registry is a web-based application for early childhood education (ECE) professionals to record their education and employment history, and training hours. Child care providers, parents and other individuals can learn more about the TRS program by visiting Texas Rising Star website at: https://texasrisingstar.org/wordpress/.


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.


Pasitos (Little Steps toward quality improvement of child care services) is Puerto Rico’s islandwide 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.


The Kansas QRIS is now Links to Quality. Kansas is working to develop and implement a system of recognition for early child care providers. The system will utilize a block system and is comprised of 5 levels. Child care programs will be recognized for their quality levels in the areas of 1) Program Leadership, 2) Family Partnerships, 3) Learning Environment and 4) Workforce Development. A field test is set to begin spring of 2017.


Connecticut is conducting focus groups throughout the Fall of 2016 to solicit input and create a QRIS draft model to be released in the Spring of 2017. Previous work completed in Connecticut is guiding this work. Five pillars have been identified as being the foundation of a QRIS. Those pillars are: 1) health & safety, 2) family engagement, 3) workforce education and professional development, 4) program environment, and 5) leadership.


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 parent engagement, administration, professional development, and health/safety. A pilot of these standards took place in October of 2015. Quality improvement supports for programs will include coaching and training opportunities for providers.


In July, 2016 Alaska launched Phase I of Learn & Grow. Phase I of Learn & Grow includes Block Level’s 1 & 2 of 5 levels of quality and is available statewide to all licensed child care programs. Learn & Grow and its early care and learning partners are working to align QRIS quality standards for pre-elementary programs (Head Start and state Pre-K), finalize block Level’s 3, 4 and 5, and continue collaboration with before and after school programs. Learn & Grow is located and managed by Alaska’s CCR&R network, called thread. Learn & Grow leverages thread and SEED (System for Education Early Development, also located and managed by thread) resources such as technical assistance, training, funding, assessment, professional development registry/ career ladder, and training approval system. Learn & Grow is actively engaging early care and learning programs throughout the state and successfully met its year one participation goal within the first two months of its launch.


The Alabama Quality STARS QRIS began full implementation in February 2016. Eligible programs include licensed centers and center programs that cannot be licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources such as military, public school, college and university, and Tribal programs. Alabama Quality STARS is a five STAR “building block“ system. Programs must meet all standards at a STAR level before moving to the next level. The STARS Standards are based on four components: 1) Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, 2) Management and Administrative Practices, 3) Learning Environment and Curriculum, and 4) Family Involvement and Community Partnerships. A pilot of Alabama Quality STARS for family child care programs is scheduled to start in 2017.
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 seven categories: Director Qualifications, Professional Development, Developmental Learning, Parent/Family Involvement, Ratio and Group Size, Staff Compensation, and Program Assessment. 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 increased bonus to the base reimbursement rate.


FOCUS
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.


Quality for ME
Program Website
Maine's Quality for ME is 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. In 2016 Quality for ME underwent a revision through a process of gathering feedback from a stakeholder group, focus groups held around the state; and practitioner implementation groups. The revision recommendations have been submitted to the Maine Office of Child and Family Services, DHHS. Currently, the timeline for implementation is unknown.


STARS for KIDS NOW
Program Website
STARS for KIDS NOW is Kentucky's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2001. Licensed center-based, licensed family child care, and school-aged programs are eligible to apply. The system is composed of four levels and uses a blocks rating structure. A program's rating is based on four categories: 1) Ratios, 2) Curriculum, 3) Training, and 4) Personnel. KAR 2:160 Child Care Assistance Program administrative regulations amendment adopted April 3, 2015 reinforces quality within CCAP by requiring licensed and certified child care providers’ participation in the STARS for KIDS NOW Program and has increased number of provider participation.


ABC Quality
Program Website
South Carolina's ABC Quality began in 2007. All legally operating child care programs in any area of the state are eligible to participate. There are five levels that are arranged in a hybrid rating structure. Ratings are based on meeting the following required components: 1) Regulatory Requirements, 2) Supervision of Children, 3) Administration, 4) Staff Qualifications and Development, 5) Health, Safety, and Well-Being, and 6) Family Involvement, as well as achieving a designated score on the selected classroom observation tool annually.


Parent Aware

Parent Aware is Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2007. It is composed of four levels and participation is voluntary. Parent Aware operates statewide. Eligible programs are rated on four categories: 1) Physical Health and Well-Being, 2) Teaching and Relationships, 3) Assessment of Child Progress, and 4) Teacher Training and Education.


Oregon QRIS
Program Website
Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System started in 2013. The QRIS 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 Up To Quality
Program Website
Step Up To Quality is the statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System in Ohio. The QRIS 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 hybrid rating structure based in 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.


New Hampshire QRIS
Program Website
New Hampshire's QRIS is a statewide system that began in 2005. It has three levels that are organized in a hybrid rating structure. Licensed center-based and family child care programs can participate and 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.


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. 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.


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.


Quality Rated
Program Website
Georgia's Quality Rated is a statewide system that began in 2012. The QRIS is composed of three levels and uses a points structure. Eligible programs include licensed center-based and family child care programs. All participating programs are rated based on five categories: 1) Director and Teacher Qualifications, 2) Child Health, Nutrition, and Physical Activity, 3) Family Engagement, 4) Intentional Teaching Practices, and 5) Teacher to Student Ratios. These categories are used to determine a structural quality score. A process quality score is determined using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). The structural quality and process quality scores are used to determine a program's star rating.


California Quality Rating and Improvement System
Program Website
California's Quality Rating and Improvement System is administered locally in 49 counties. Participation in the five-level QRIS is voluntary. Participating sites are rated on three main categories: 1) Child Development and School Readiness, 2) Teachers and Teaching, and 3) Program and Environment. California's QRIS is funded via 3 state funding streams: The California Department of Education QRIS State Preschool Program and Infant Toddler Block Grants, as well as First 5 California IMPACT.


Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS)

Massachusetts' Quality Rating and Improvement System is a statewide system that became operational in 2011. The system includes four levels and uses a block rating structure. Eligible programs such as licensed center-based and family child care 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.


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.


Iowa's Quality Rating System
Program Website
Iowa's Quality Rating System is a voluntary system that began in 2006. 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.


YoungStar
Program Website
Wisconsin's Young Star is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2010. It is composed of five levels that are arranged in a hybrid rating structure. Licensed center-based programs and family child care programs can apply and are rated on 1) Education and Training Qualifications, 2) Learning Environment and Curriculum, 3) Professional and Business Practices, and 4) Child Health and Well-Being Practices.


Early Achievers
Program Website
Early Achievers is Washington's statewide Quality Rating 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 State's Pre-K programs. Once enrolled, programs are rated on four categories: 1) Child Outcomes, 2) Facility Curriculum & Learning Environment & Interactions, 3) Professional Development & Training, and 4) Family Engagement & Partnership.


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 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.


STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS)
Program Website
Vermont's Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) began in 2004. It operates statewide and is composed of five levels. Licensed center-based and family child care programs are eligible to participate. Once enrolled, programs progress through the points rating structure based on their ability to meet indicators within five categories: 1) Regulatory History, 2) Staff Qualifications, 3) Program Practices, 4) Families and Community, and 5) Administration.


Care About Childcare
Program Website
Utah's Care About Childcare is a statewide, voluntary Quality Improvement System or Pre-QRIS. Non-hourly, fully licensed centers and fully licensed family child care programs that have been in substantial compliance with licensing regulations for 6 months or longer are eligible to participate. Eligible programs can apply for over 130 individual quality criteria that are displayed on the website for consumers to view. The quality criteria are arranged in the following 6 categories: 1) Health and Safety, 2) Outdoor Environment, 3) Indoor Environment, 4) Family Involvement, 5) The Program, and 6) Administration. All of the quality criteria exceed Utah licensing standards. The system has five rating levels that are utilized for tracking, research and reporting purposes. Rating levels are not reported to consumers at this point in time. Levels are arranged in a points rating structure. Ratings are determined by the number of individual quality criteria achieved.


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 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.


Pennsylvania Keystone STARS
Program Website
Pennsylvania's Keystone STARS is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2002. Licensed center-based and group-based and family child care programs, and Head Start programs are eligible to participate in the voluntary system. Through Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge, Pennsylvania has introduced expanded program participation to include state funded Pre-K, private academic schools, school-district based preschool and early intervention preschool programs. It is composed of four levels and organized in a block rating structure. Program ratings are based on four categories: 1) Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, 2) Learning Program, 3) Partnerships with Family and Community, and 4) Leadership and Management.


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.


Bright & Early North Dakota
Program Website
Bright & Early ND went through 2 pilot phases between 2010-2013 and then starting in 2014 did a slow rollout in specific counties/regions of Steps 1 & 2. Bright & Early North Dakota launched statewide in 2015. There are 4 levels in North Dakota's QRIS. Levels 1-2 rolled out statewide in 2015. Levels 3-4 became available statewide in April 2016.


Star Rated License System
Program Website
Star Rated License System is North Carolina's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 1999. Its five levels are arranged in a points rating structure. Licensed center-based and family child care programs can participate, and ratings reflect two categories: 1) Program Standards, and 2) Education Standards.


QUALITYstarsNY
Program Website
The goal of QUALITYstarsNY is to improve short and long term outcomes for New York’s youngest learners through the use of a framework that defines, assesses and improves the quality of early childhood programs. Using a 5-star rating scale, QUALITYstarsNY also strives to empower families to make informed decisions about their early education options.


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 and additional quality indicators in four categories: 1) Policies & Procedures, 2) Administration & Staff Development, 3) Health & Safety, 4) Families & Community. The Family Child Care model launched in Southern Nevada in 2016 and will launch statewide in 2017. The Family Child Care model is similar to the Center model with five levels, required criteria at each level and additional quality indicators in four categories: 1) Professional & Business Practices, 2) Developmental Learning Activities, 3) Health & Safety and 3) Relationships & Environment. The District Pre-K model launched in 2016 for all schools that receive Pre-K Development Grant funding. The District model is also five level, hybrid model with required criteria comprised solely of ECERS-3 and CLASS scores and additional quality indicators which align with the federal quality indicators identified in the Pre-K Development Grant.


Step Up to Quality
Program Website
The Nebraska QRIS launched on July 1, 2014. It is a statewide system with some targeted providers 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 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.


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 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.


Quality Stars
Program Website
Mississippi's Quality Stars began in 2007. The QRIS operates statewide and has five levels arranged in a block rating structure. Licensed center-based programs can apply and are rated on five categories: 1) Administrative Policy, 2) Professional Development, 3) Learning Environments, 4) Parent Involvement, and 5) Evaluation.


Maryland EXCELS
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.


Steps to Quality
Program Website
Steps to Quality is Idaho's statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System, composed of six levels in a building block model. All early child care programs are eligible to apply. The six quality standards are 1) Health and Safety, 2) Staffing and Professional Development, 3) Child Growth, Development, and Learning, 4) Children with Diverse Abilities, 5) Strengthening Families, and 6) Leadership and Management.


Miami-Dade Quality Counts
Program Website
Miami-Dade Quality Counts is a Quality Rating and Improvement System operating within Miami-Dade County, Florida. Licensed early childhood programs are eligible to participate in the system. Ratings are based on Staff Qualifications and Learning Environment. Program and Professional Development Supports include on-site coaching/career advising, Communities of Practice for teaching staff and directors, Accreditation support, wage supplements, scholarships, school readiness enhancements for high performing centers, targeted social emotional support services for children exhibiting challenging behaviors and financial assistance for qualifying programs.


Strong Minds
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.


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.


Colorado Shines
Program Website
Colorado Shines is a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System. The Colorado Shines rating is embedded in the state child care licensing system. Participation is mandatory for licensed center-based and family child care programs. The system uses a hybrid block and point rating structure and is composed of five levels. Programs are rated on their program's 1) Workforce Qualification and Professional Development, 2) Family Partnerships, 3) Leadership, Management & Administration, 4) Learning Environment, and 5) Child Health.


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.


Guiding Stars of Duval 3.0
Program Website
Guiding Stars of Duval 3.0 (in its third iteration effective 7/1/2016) 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 center-based programs can apply and are rated on three categories: 1) Program Personnel - Staff Qualifications and Professional Development (20%), 2) Program Content - Teacher Child Interactions (60%), and 3) Program Content - Curriculum, Child Screenings / Assessments (20%).


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. Licensed center-based and family child care programs can apply and progress in the hybrid rating structure based on their ability to meet indicators within three standards: 1) Environments (ERS), 2) Interactions (CLASS), and 3) Administrative Practices (Staff Qualifications, Ratios and Group Sizes, and Curriculum and Child Assessment).