KY launches expanded quality rating and improvement system for all early learning/development programs statewide

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All publicly funded programs that serve young children in Kentucky – including licensed child care programs, state-funded preschools and Head Start programs – are now included in Kentucky All STARS, Kentucky’s expanded tiered quality rating and improvement system (TQRIS). With the goal of increasing learning outcomes and educational success for young children, Kentucky All STARS publicly recognizes a program’s strengths, creates systems of support and provides families with assurances of quality.

Each early learning and development program in Kentucky All STARS has met the standards of their respective regulatory authority, with a 1 STAR indicating that a program is performing at a basic level and 5 STARS being the highest designation a program can voluntarily achieve.

A majority of licensed child care programs have joined Kentucky All STARS at 1 STAR since that level aligns with the regulatory guidelines set forth by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Division of Regulated Child Care (DRCC). All public preschool programs that are in compliance with regulatory guidelines set forth by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) have joined Kentucky All STARS at 3 STARS. It is projected that most programs of both types will move quickly to higher levels of Kentucky All STARS as they complete the required documentation to advance.

“Kentucky All STARS will keep our state-funded preschools on the cutting edge of offering the most effective programs for the children they serve,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said. “It is vital that these students and all students have a strong foundation on which to build when they start kindergarten so that each and every student can maximize his or her potential and fully benefit from the learning opportunities offered. Quality early learning and development programs are a key strategy in closing the opportunity and achievement gaps that currently exist among our various student populations.”

Families will easily be able to find a quality early learning and development program for their children. CHFS Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said that Kentucky All STARS will give parents peace of mind in their child care provider search. “Kentucky All STARS gives parents looking for child care a reliable resource that measures quality and assesses areas like family engagement and staff qualifications,” she said.

Kentucky All STAR participants may choose to advance to a higher STARS rating at any point prior to June 30, 2017, regardless of their licensure or monitoring date. After this time, all programs will have migrated into Kentucky All STARS and will follow the new process for renewal that applies to their program.

“Programs will have the opportunity to take part in professional development offered on a tiered basis,” explained Linda Hampton, acting director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (GOEC). In addition, a variety of incentives are available to all participants who choose to advance to higher levels of Kentucky All STARS. Funding to support Kentucky All STARS comes from a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant awarded to GOEC. Partnering agencies include the GOEC, CHFS, Head Start and KDE.

“Thanks to Race to the Top funding, we are able to bolster and strengthen the early childhood workforce to enable long term sustainability and grow quality early learning and development programs statewide,” Hampton said.

Learn more about Kentucky All STARS at http://www.kentuckyallstars.org/

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