How Educa Can Help Your QRIS Rating
Super Charge family engagement and promote teacher development TO IMProve ratings
The viability of some early learning services is starting to be impacted by the growing influence of QRIS ratings in most states. These ratings are working -- they are helping parents differentiate between schools.
Schools with low ratings or who are keeping away from earning a rating are fighting the tide. More and more money and influence is being thrown behind the idea that the US should have an early childhood sector that is not only delivering high quality outcomes, but that also it is doing so consistently.
That's where the state-by-state QRIS programs come in.
QRIS Compliance Can Be Expensive
For many preschools, however, earning rating points is often prohibitively expensive and the process is time-consuming.
However, these is one source of ratings points that need not be expensive and can have a big impact. And that is family engagement.
In most states around 20-25% of rating points come from the quality of a family engagement at a childcare or preschool.
Earn QRIS Rating Points With Better Family Engagement
While not always easy to do, family engagement is the low-hanging fruit in QRIS, the simplest way to improve your QRIS ratings. In addition, family engagement has three wonderful benefits:
- It is inexpensive.
- Parents love it, being in the loop and being able to contribute to their child's learning in a meaningful way.
- Teachers grow to appreciate it, the positive connection and feedback from parents builds morale and the insights they get that help them individualize their approach to each child.
Here's how Educa helps family engagement with learning at the heart of every interaction.
Share Learning With Your Parent Community
By using the Educa secure messaging center dashboard, schools can let parents know what activities are coming up, so that parents can collaborate and support that activity at home. This can be done for the whole school (most common), by class or by child.
One example is sending home a letter of the week, B for instance, with the suggestion that parents play eye spy using the letter B.
Another learning opportunity may be around announcing a visitor that most parents only hear about after the fact. Beforehand is helpful, but even after the fact can be helpful, so that parents know to ask and can perhaps use the visit as a conversation opportunity.
Or even the activity of the day, perhaps making invitations for an upcoming event. Parents only know to ask about these things if they know in real time if they are happening.
And each conversation about what goes on in the school is a learning opportunity, that can lead to feedback to the teacher from the parent about the success or otherwise of the activity and/or how the parent reinforced or added to the learning.
This multiplication of learning opportunities through authentic parent teacher collaboration is a major reason all state QRIS programs see parent engagement as a major lever in the effort to raise pre-K education quality and school readiness.
Parent Connection Helps Understanding to Individualize Learning
The more a teacher understands about a child's heritage, home life and reaction to what happens in the early learning service, the more tools are available to customize a child's day.
A major focus of most QRIS programs is understanding. There is a heavy emphasis on communication of cultural traditions. The secure and private connection teachers can build with families through Educa leads to family sharing about the child;'s home life that can be enormously valuable to teachers.
Sharing Draws Parents In and Builds Engagement
Communication makes all the difference. Every outbound note will provoke 4-5 private replies by parents that helps teachers and parents build a connection that can only help the child.
Parents become energized, as you can see in the chart.
This transparency is another reason most state QRIS program encourage programs like Educa.
Furthermore, the connection parents feel builds their confidence in your school, their perception of program quality and turns them into your advocates in the community.
Evidence -- of Learning and Development
Most schools use photo-sharing, emails, Facebook and other channels that may get the job done, but leave no record or evidence of the good work being done in the school.
Everything sent through Educa is automatically recorded and is available for download with the push of a button, by school or by child. QRIS programs value this kind of record-keeping.
Parents also find it helpful to have a summary of a child's year that can be forwarded as a PDF to their child's next school or even to a specialist, if need be.
Educa Helps Teachers Show Evidence of Growth
Educa has a teacher section, where teachers can record trainings attended, work on special projects and much more.
There is a place for "reflective practice," encouraged by NAEYC and other, where teachers can record their thinking at any point of the school year. There is also a planning section, where teachers can record their plans for a class either by day, by week, by month or in general terms.
All of this evidence of teaching, education and personal growth and development can be downloaded by a teacher as part of their professional record.
Teacher training and quality, naturally, is a large part of most QRIS systems. The evidence of progress and training documented in Educa as part of a school's everyday activity can be a persuasive source of evidence for a higher QRIS rating.