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What is Star Quality?

  • Star rating systems are a method to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early learning settings. These initiatives are designed with two primary purposes:
    • To assist early learning programs, regardless of their setting, with efforts to provide high quality care and education.
    • To help families identify high quality programs for their young children.
  • The Nevada Silver State Stars Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is a voluntary initiative administered by the Nevada Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning and Development. Nevada Silver State Stars was launched for licensed child care centers statewide in July 2013. QRIS models for family child care and school district pre-k programs were launched on a limited basis in July 2016. A QRIS model for Tribal programs is also in development.
  • Check out the "search for star rated care” in the Parents section.

How does Nevada’s QRIS work?

  • Participating child care centers are provided with up to 18 months of coaching support prior to being assessed for their star rating. All programs, during their initial coaching period, are at Star Level 1. During coaching, programs work on their Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and receive a grant for classroom materials and other improvement needs. Programs are rated on a 5-star scale. Ratings consist of a review of quality indicators and required criteria, as well as an on-site observation by a highly trained Star Assessor using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). But this is not just about star ratings! Once a program receives their initial star rating, the QRIS coaches continue to support programs to improve and increase their level of quality. Programs receive a new star rating every 18 months.

Are all licensed early childhood programs required to participate in Silver State Stars QRIS?

  • No, however, there are programs, which require QRIS participation. Please see clarifying information below:
    • Nevada Silver State Stars Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS) is a voluntary program open to all licensed child care centers/programs in Nevada.
    • All Nevada Ready! Preschool Development Grant participating sites AND pre-k programs at the same schools  as the Nevada Ready! programs are required to participate using the QRIS District Model.

Who can participate in QRIS?

  • Providers who serve children birth through age five may participate in QRIS if they are:
    • Licensed child care centers
    • Licensed family child care homes and Group homes (limited participation through 2017)
    • Early Head Start and Head Start
    • School district pre-k programs (limited participation based on funding)

Is there a cost to participate in Nevada’s QRIS?

  • There is no cost associated with QRIS participation. All associated activities and resources, including initial training requirements, ongoing training, and technical assistance are provided free of charge to licensed programs.

How does a program sign-up for Nevada’s QRIS?

  • The first step is to attend an Introduction to Nevada’s Silver State Stars QRIS training with The Nevada Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning and Development. These trainings are held on a regular and ongoing basis, in both the Northern and Southern regions of the state, providing in-depth information about the requirements, benefits, and available resources for QRIS participants. This Introductory training is required before a facility can complete the application to begin the QRIS process.

Can one application be submitted for multi-site programs/companies?

  • No. If an organization or company has multiple sites, each site must follow the guidelines for the QRIS process and will be considered an individual QRIS participant. Each site must designate one on-site employee responsible for overseeing the QRIS process and collaborating with their identified QRIS coach. Companies or organizations with multiple sites are permitted to have two program sites participating within the initial 18-month cycle period at any time.   Once one of those two program sites gains their achieved star rating (after their initial 18-month cycle), another one of their program sites will begin their initial cycle period.

Are providers that accept child care subsidies required to participate in QRIS?

  • No, not at this time. Mandatory participation of Child care providers receiving subsidy payments will be phased in beginning in October 2016. Participation requirements will be determined by the poverty levels in the community which the program is located as well as the number of subsidy children served in that program. QRIS participants will receive additional subsidy funds, called tiered subsidy reimbursement. These additional funds are linked to increased star rating level achievements beginning at a 3 star level.   Additionally, registering with the child care subsidy program office is one of the required criteria associated with QRIS participation.

 What incentives and resources are available to QRIS participants?

  • QRIS resources and incentives supporting quality improvement efforts, include:
    • Leadership and employee training (NV Registry approved)
    • Dedicated coaching and technical assistance
    • Formal Environmental Rating Scale assessments and in-depth feedback
    • Ongoing QRIS grant awards
    • TEACH scholarships (for college coursework up to an AA or BA degree)
    • Access to free early child mental and behavioral health on-site consultation
    • Access to the Early Childhood Support Network (ECSN) substitute teacher program (not available in all regions)
    • Free family engagement activities and family training opportunities
    • Program profile and marketability on the QRIS website
    • Electronic program portfolio
    • Professional development using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) tools
    • and so much more…

 What is an Environment Rating Scale (ERS)?

  • Environment Rating Scales are used to evaluate the quality of child care programs. These rating scales use observations to predict child outcomes.
    • The scales are suitable for use in evaluating inclusive and culturally diverse programs
    • The scales have proven reliability and validity
  • The Environment Rating Scales help programs conduct a research-based evaluation of their child care setting with suggestions to enhance the quality of their program in the future.
  • The Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-R)
    • This tool is used to assess group programs for children from birth to 3 years of age. The scale rates 39 items in the following categories: • Space & Furnishings • Personal Care Routines • Listening & Talking • Activities • Interaction • Program Structure • Parents and Staff
  • The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-R)
    • This tool is used to assess group programs for preschool children ages 3 through 5. The scale rates 43 items in the following categories: • Space & Furnishings • Personal Care Routines • Language Reasoning • Activities • Interactions • Program Structure • Parents and Staff
  • The Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS-R)
    • This tool is used to assess family child care programs. The scale rates 38 items in the following categories: • Space & Furnishings • Personal Care Routines • Listening & Talking • Activities • Interaction • Program Structure • Parents and Provider
  • For more info about ERS, please check out the following link: http://www.ersi.info/

 What kind of information do the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) reports provide?

  • While these reports do tend to focus on a program’s developmental areas, this is due to the software used to compile all the observation data collected within the assessments. When a rating score is recorded as higher on an ERS item, there is typically not too much (sometimes none) information on the report for that item. However, when a rating score is recorded as lower on an ERS item, the assessor(s) include specific details of why the score was recorded at the low end of the scale. This allows the QRIS Coach to focus in on those areas of development when working with a center’s leadership team in developing their Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). The QIP is then utilized to guide the coaching and goal setting process. When a coach is delivering the content of an ERS report, s/he can also identify and highlight where the program has exemplified quality practices (thus celebrating and focusing on all the positive outcomes [what the program is doing well] of the assessment).  

What is Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)?

  • The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is an observation instrument developed to assess effective teacher-child interactions in infant, toddler, preschool, elementary, and secondary education classrooms and settings. The CLASS was designed to create a common metric and vocabulary that could be used to describe various aspects of effective teaching across children’s school experiences. The CLASS Manual provides information on the theoretical and empirical foundations of the CLASS, the CLASS domains as they relate to specific age/grade levels, an overview of the procedures for using the CLASS tool, and detailed descriptions and examples for each dimension as observed in a classroom setting. The CLASS dimensions are based on developmental theory and research suggesting that interactions between young children and caregivers are a primary mechanism of child development and learning. Currently the CLASS tool is only used as a formal assessment in the Silver State Stars QRIS District Model.
  • For more info about CLASS, please check out the following link: http://teachstone.com/classroom-assessment-scoring-system/

I’m nationally accredited, why do I have to participate?

  • Achieving national accreditation is a major triumph for any early childhood program.   The self-study process leading to accreditation is just that - - a self-study process. Oftentimes, a program has limited resources in gaining support while working through the self-study process. Most Accrediting bodies require that only 80% of quality criteria are met. Nevada’s QRIS requires that research based indicators of quality are always met. Additionally, there is often a long period of time between accreditation visits (e.g. 3-5 years). After a program achieves accreditation, the benchmarks of quality they achieved are sometimes not maintained. Currently Nevada Silver State Stars has accredeted programs ranging from 2 to 5 start. Participation in a QRIS system provides a continuum that sets clear benchmarks of quality that build upon each other, ultimately educating program teams on the how and why of best practices and instilling a newfound awareness and motivation for enhancing or changing their current practices. This is accomplished with a dedicated QRIS coach, technical assistance, ongoing training and education, and a variety of quality initiative resources and incentives; all of which would not be accessible without QRIS participation.

 Why is the Administrator/Director’s NV Registry Career Ladder Level a required criterion for QRIS?

  • In short, leadership/administrator/director educational achievement, specifically within college-level coursework, is a direct link to measurable, positive outcomes for quality child care.
  • The QRIS criteria, as well as the ERS assessments, have been designed to measure national standards of best practices as identified among various valid and reliable research-based high-quality standards for early care and education.

           A few examples of these are identified below:

  • The director of the facility is the team leader of a small business. Both administrative and child development skills are essential for this individual to manage the facility and set appropriate expectations. College-level coursework has been shown to have a measurable, positive effect on quality child care, whereas experience per se has not. Caring for our children: National health and safety performance standards, guidelines for early care, and education programs. (n.d.).
  • Administrators’ needs. Whether they are elementary school principals, child care directors, or Head Start coordinators, administrators hold the key to effective systems of curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation. Administrators are often the primary decision makers in adopting curriculum and assessment systems, arranging for staff development, and planning program evaluations. For administrators, intensive and ongoing professional development is essential—often participating in the same training provided to staff to create a shared frame of reference. This professional development needs to address administrators’ varied backgrounds, work settings, and needs. For example, some elementary school administrators have not yet had opportunities to gain insights into the learning and developmental characteristics of young children. Others may be well grounded in infant/toddler or preschool education yet have had little opportunity to communicate with and collaborate with other administrators whose programs serve children as they transition from Head Start or child care into public schools.  National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC. (n.d.). Retrieved August 04, 2016, from http://www.naeyc.org/