BREAKING DOWN A QRIS IMPLEMENTATION — HOW POINTS ARE EARNED
In addition, we have produced a white paper on a QRIS implementation, available in PDF at the end of this post. This white paper serves as a worked example on how QRIS works. Furthermore, it shows how Educa — a documentation and communications platform — helps early learning programs earn ratings points in a number of areas simply by creating visibility for a center by putting everything online, in the cloud.
Early Achievers System Overview
Early Achievers is a 100 point system as follows:
- Curriculum and Staff Supports (15 points)
- Child Outcomes (10 points)
- Professional Development and Training (10 points)
- Classroom/FCC Home Environment (55 points)
- Family Engagement and Partnership (10 points)
Each category has components, each of which have point values. And from there, according to the EA manual, Early Achievers builds a rating. There are some basic licensing requirements to start for Levels 1 and 2. Then EA ratings go from Level 3 (30-69 points), Level 4 (70-90) and Level 5, (91-100).
How Educa Helps Ratings Item By Item
Curriculum and Staff Supports (15 points)
Educa boosts all of the 5 components in this section. For instance:
- Curriculum profile — showing evidence of your curriculum and aligning with WA State Early Learning and Development Guidelines. This happens automatically inside Educa, where centers can pre-load any curriculum and share with parents.
- Mentoring of staff on curriculum — Educa has a mentor teacher feedback feature where teachers can invite mentors to review all of their written interactions and reflections.
Child Outcomes (10 points)
Educa has a role to play in 7 of the 8 component factors in this section. For instance:
- Developmental screening within 90 days of enrollment, shared with parents — Educa has a customizable assessment tool that posts screening results to a child’s record that parents can access.
- Share individualized data with parents — because all teacher observations and reflections are online they are available for sharing with parents as the teacher see fit. Sharing is a click away at all times.
- Individualized instruction — the sharing of learning in Educa by teachers very often encourages parent feedback that helps teachers better understand the child and so provide more individualized attention.
Family Engagement and Partnership (10 points)
While the points allocated to family engagement are lower than in many other state programs, it is nevertheless an important way to help your QRIS rating and help build a connection to your families that can only help your business overall. Here are a couple of items:
- Partner with parents to determine a child’s strengths and needs — the sharing of observations and feedback that happens in Educa helps the teacher build a full understanding of each child.
- Evidence of transition plans when a child is moving — all of the activity in Educa in the course a year, including assessments, observations and reflections are available for download and printing in one click.
- Develop a plan to strengthen family self-assessment — make policies and checklists available for parents in the Educa portal.
The Value of Early Achievers and Other QRIS Programs
Absent a public system, the QRIS movement represents the best hope for raising quality in early childhood education in the United States. There are three great reasons for providers to consider a QRIS implementation right now:
- It will help you stand out from the competition, a verification that your program is of sound quality
- The process of applying, the suggestions you will get and the ongoing inspections will make you a better provider
- Washington State (and others) provide financial incentives for centers who apply, based on the ultimate rating achieved
To learn more about the value of QRIS check out the Build Initiative website.
Today QRIS is a way to create separation from the competition. However, over time as more centers implement QRIS, it will become more of a competitive necessity. It is what parents will expect, a confirmation that your program complies with state quality norms.
Educa Pays For Itself
Most states have bonus subsidy incentives, scholarship or free training opportunities tied to QRIS enrollment. Educa costs $1/child per month and yet has the potential to move a center up at least one rating level, an improvement worth thousands of dollars for some centers in the course of a year.
Furthermore, Educa takes your center online, where everything is in one place. It saves teacher time, simplifies communications and helps you stand out from the competition.
Here is the Educa and Early Achievers WA report in PDF format by Educa. It was reviewed by the University of Washington’s Childcare Quality and Early Learning Center for Research and Professional Development (responsible for Washington State Early Achievers data collection and ratings).