New Mexico’s AIM HIGH is a three level quality rating and improvement system to help parents identify quality child care programs. Each STAR Level requires a provider to meet higher quality standards in six areas: staff training and education, environment, daily learning activities, family involvement, assessment, and ratios and group size. The number of stars a provider earns is displayed on the facility license. All facilities that meet minimum licensing standards earn at least two star. A pilot of a revised QRIS—FOCUS—is currently underway. It is a three- level quality rating and improvement system in two major areas: 1) Foundations of Quality which includes ratios, health promotion, staff qualification and professional developments and 2) Quality Practices that Support Children’s Growth, Development and Learning which includes the learning environment, assessment and curriculum, and reflective leadership. An evaluation of the pilot began in February 2013.
New Mexico Contacts
QRIS Name: AIM HIGH/ FOCUS (In evaluation pilot phase)
Organization: University of New Mexico, Division of Continuing Education
QRIS State Profile
This profile is from the QRIS Compendium—a comprehensive resource for information about all of the QRIS operating in the U.S. and its Territories. It was developed by a partnership of the BUILD Initiative, the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative, and Child Trends.
QRIS Resource Guide Examples
Standards and Criteria
New Mexico's Standards on Multicultural Issues
To better meet the needs of culturally diverse children, families, and providers, New Mexico has built cultural awareness into its AIM HIGH QRIS. At the two-star level, the environment component states that “positive examples of racial and cultural diversity should be represented in materials, equipment, and classroom displays.” At the three- and four-star levels the curriculum and assessment components address the issues of linguistically appropriate assessment and daily programming. For example, an essential three-star element states “Each child’s first- and second-language development should be taken into account when determining appropriate assessment models and in interpreting the meaning of assessment results.” New Mexico’s revised QRIS, currently being piloted, retains these core concepts and builds on them: The FOCUS TQRIS includes the requirements that participating programs include multicultural practices and inclusion practices in their continuous quality improvement plan which may include activities such as staff being familiar with New Mexico’s Guiding Principles for the Inclusion of Every Child, complete a cultural competency checklist, hold scheduled parent/teacher conferences in the family’s home language, demonstrate evidence of racial and cultural diversity in the environment, and ensure that curriculum components address linguistically appropriate child assessments and planning. Additional information is available at http://www.newmexicokids.org. The Guiding Principles for the Full Participation of Young Children, Birth through Age Eight, is available at http://nmdev.unm.edu/pages/ocd/facInstMats/docs/GuidingPrinciplesBrochure.pdf.
New Mexico Focuses on Inclusion
New Mexico engaged a broad range of stakeholders in its Quality Child Care for All recommendations in 2004 and in a follow-up report in 2007. They continue to look for ways to support teachers who care for children with special needs. For example, all classroom and administrative staff and family child care providers at three-star level and higher are required to complete a 6-hour course that is being taught by child care inclusion specialists located at every training and technical assistance center, or an approved equivalent course. An additional course will be developed that builds on the initial 6-hour course. The new course will focus on the New Mexico Guiding Principles for the Inclusion of Every Child. Completion of the course will be required for programs participating in the tiered quality rating and improvement system.
New Mexico's Web Page Helpful to Parents
At the New Mexico Kids Web site, a brief summary of Look for the STARS describes the quality standards, and a Parent’s Guide to Selecting Quality Child Care includes additional information on Look for the STARS. A listing of child care providers includes the STAR status. The Web site also has links to other important information for parents including child care assistance, health resources and recalls of chldren’s products. The Web site can be viewed at http://newmexicokids.org/.