How Educa Helps QRIS Scores
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT, DOCUMENTATION, TEACHER DEVELOPMENT & MORE
It’s hard to ignore the growing influence of QRIS in early childhood education in the United States.
These state by state quality ratings are working. They are helping parents differentiate between schools and they forcing providers to choose — join QRIS or risk being marginalized?
Educa and QRIS
Educa is a documentation and communication system that revolves around learning. The Educa set-up meshes perfectly with the over-arching goal of QRIS, to improve child learning outcomes, school readiness.
There are four main areas of focus in most state programs:
- Staff development
- Center environment
- Family engagement
- Documentation around learning
While easy documentation in Educa creates transparency that helps in all four areas, it is particularly helpful in the latter two categories — family engagement and documentation.
Educa & Family Engagement
State QRIS programs all allocate ratings points for family engagement. Improving family engagement using Educa is inexpensive, with three big benefits:
- Parents love being involved, in real-time
- Teachers love the feedback and parent connection
- Family collaboration helps child outcomes
Educa looks like a photo-sharing or Facebook app, but it goes much further. Updates can be connected to learning — curriculum, planning or milestones. It puts learning at the center of every interaction.
Authentic Family Collaboration
Educa nurtures authentic family collaboration. Not just one-way messaging, school to parent, that keeps parents informed. But rather, collaboration, where parents and teachers work as a team to share, comment, feedback and iterate around learning.
Examples — How Educa Helps Engagement
At a school level, using the Educa messaging dashboard, schools can share curriculum plans for the week, upcoming events, etc. For example, alerting parents that “B” will be the letter of the week, with the suggestion that parents play eye spy using B.
Another example, a heads up when a visitor stops by, as opposed to only hearing about it later. Each update about goings on at school creates a learning opportunity at home and fed back to the teacher.
Read other (some unexpected) benefits from shared learning here.
Sharing Draws Parents In
At a class or individual child level, teacher updates, especially with images or comments about learning, inspire parent feedback, a more intimate family teacher connection that can only help the child.
Communication through Educa can energize parents, as in the chart. This engagement and better understanding of school philosophies also builds confidence in your school.
Parent Feedback Helps Individualize Learning
When parents share, good things happen. A teacher who understands a child’s heritage, home life and/or reaction to goings on at preschool is better equipped to individualize learning for that child.
Most QRIS programs include a focus on this understanding, with an emphasis on communication of cultural traditions. The secure and private connection built through Educa encourages families to take the time to share insights into their child’s home life that can be enormously valuable to teachers.
Educa & Documentation Around Learning
Educa’s online documentation features are powerful productivity tools that can help earn ratings points in several ways:
- Curriculum — transparency, alignment with state guidelines
- Evidence of learning, individualized experiences
- Child outcomes — planning, tracking and review
- Teacher development
- Program of continuous improvement
#1. CURRICULUM TRANSPARENCY
Any curriculum — state guidelines or your own curriculum — can be loaded into Educa. Parent updates can be connected to specific curriculum items and become part of the child’s record.
Teachers can communicate curriculum goals through Educa and show alignment to state guidelines, required by most quality rating systems. The stories and photos are evidence of communication of curriculum philosophies to parents.
#2. EVIDENCE OF LEARNING
Most schools use photo-sharing, emails, Facebook and other channels that leave no audit trail or recorded evidence of the good work being done in the school.
Everything sent through Educa is recorded. Sharing and documenting in one click.
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.
#3. MILESTONES & TRACKING OF CHILD OUTCOMES
Educa has other features to support learning outcomes:
- Planning — create a plan, then track updates against that plan.
- Assessment or milestones — customizable assessments to track progress throughout the year.
Most quality rating systems require formal and informal assessments as part of a program of periodic review.
#4. TEACHER DEVELOPMENT
Educa has teacher profiles, where they can record trainings attended, work on special projects and much more.
There is a place for “reflective practice,” encouraged by NAEYC and others, where teachers can record their thinking during the year. In the planning section, teachers can work on plans for a class by day, by week, by month or in general terms.
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.
#5. PERIODIC PROGRAM REVIEW — CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Most QRIS programs encourage centers to regularly review their child assessment data and their practices.
Educa has a reports dashboard with insights into individual child activity, parent and teacher interaction, which can be used to identify program strengths and weaknesses.
Educa and QRIS – No Extra Work
Educa is not a full QRIS solution. It is however, a fast and easy start that will help your center move forward in a number of ratings areas.
And since it replaces a variety of tasks that are done elsewhere in your center, it does not require extra work for staff. In fact, Educa clients report it saves time, if only because everything is in one place.
Finally, Educa updates can be a selling point for new parents, as will be your QRIS rating. By increasing family and extended family engagement you are creating enthusiastic advocates in your parents.