QUALITYstarsNY, a project of the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), is a voluntary QRIS for all types of early childhood programs. It works to improve the quality of care by assessing the learning environment and how the program functions, and by providing supports for improvement. Using a 5-star rating scale, QUALITYstarsNY will help families to make better informed decisions about their early education options. Currently, QUALITYstarsNY is operating only in some areas of the State.
New York Contacts
QRIS Name: QUALITYstarsNY
Organization: QUALITYstarsNY, a project of the New York Early Childhood Advisory Council
Web Site: http://qualitystarsny.org
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
Initial Design Process
Winning Beginning NY Promotes QRIS
Winning Beginning NY is a statewide coalition working toward the goal of high-quality, affordable and accessible early care and learning for all New York families including the implementation of QUALITYstarsNY. Its members include parents, employers, children's advocates, service providers, labor unions, educators, pediatricians, law enforcement, research, and community groups. A video features business leaders who discuss the need for rigorous accountability for state resources and the need to direct funds to early childhood programs with a proven track record of success. Private dollars have been used to increase the number of participating sites in the highest need communities and sponsor learning communities that bring program staff together to focus on common issues and to take responsibility for each other's learning and success. The Web site urges people to become an E-advocate by signing up for notices from the Grassroads Action Center. The Web site is at http://www.winningbeginningny.org/.
Inclusive Planning Process for New York QRIS
In early 2005, the New York State CCR&R network invited 75 citizens to an all-day meeting to learn about quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) and determine whether to support a QRIS in New York. The geographically and ethnically diverse group represented a wide range of stakeholders: child care centers and homes, Head Start, schools, higher education, public sector agencies, United Way, legislative staff, professional associations, unions, private foundations, and business organizations. A core group met by conference call over the next year and a half to delve deeper into the content of QRIS in other States and develop a proposal. Work groups were then formed in four key areas: (1) quality rating scale and assessment, (2) provider support, (3) consumer information, and (4) financing the system. During 2007, the New York QRIS design process was enriched by a series of focus groups in eight locations across the State. The focus groups, which included 68 parents, 101 family child care providers, and 88 directors of centers and schools, provided information about the proposed QRIS, shared the draft program standards that had been developed by the design group, and obtained feedback from these critical stakeholders. After the standards were revised, a diverse group of about 40 additional stakeholders reviewed them. Additional information about QUALITYstarsNY is available at http://qualitystarsny.org.
Approaches to Implementation
New York Field Test Informs Revisions
A Field Test of QUALITYstarsNY, coordinated by the NY Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, City University of New York, was completed in 2010. The goals of the field test were to:
- Evaluate the ease and efficiency of the process of QUALITYstarsNY’s application, documentation, and assessment system under a variety of community conditions (high/low presence of quality improvement supports, geography, program setting types, demographics of children).
- Validate the standards and the rating scale, i.e., determine whether the points weighting is accurate and whether the star ratings distinguish levels of quality.
- Demonstrate the value/use of community supports for quality improvement.
- Gather information about what kinds of improvements programs plan to make to move up in the system. This was done to inform content and the nature of later support efforts.
An independent evaluation was conducted as part of the field test to assess the validity and reliability of the draft program standards. The evaluation data informed decisions necessary for the statewide implementation of QUALITYstarsNY. Based on the field test, the standards for center-based and family-based programs were revised to better reflect the feedback from programs and providers. NY also has standards for public schools and has tested the draft version of standards for school-age child care programs in some programs across the state. Additional information is available at http://qualitystarsny.org.
Standards and Criteria
Quality Ratings in New York Based on Point Calculations
Regulated providers receive a One-Star rating in QualityStars New York. Programs or providers that wish to advance up to Five-Stars earn points for meeting standards in each of the four standards categories: learning environment, family engagement, qualifications and experience, and management and leadership. All programs provide supporting documentation to verify program policies, practices, and achievements. At least 10% of the total possible points must be earned in each category to ensure that all rated programs meet a minimum level of quality.
There are a total of 360 possible points associated with the Standards for centers, family/home providers and school-based programs. All sites can earn up to 290 possible points before receiving up to 20 possible points depending on populations of children they serve, and up to 50 points based on the ERS observation scores. A calculation is done of total points earned out of total points possible to determine the final rating level. The ratings are broken down as follows:
One Star—Regulated provider
Additional information is available at http://qualitystarsny.org/foundations-standards.php.
Cost Projections and Financing
QUALITYstarsNY: Opportunities for Alignment of Current Resources
In 2010, the NYS Early Childhood Advisory Council commissioned a short-term project to identify current resources (state and federal) to support early care and education, through outreach to parents, technical assistance to programs and professional development for staff. The intent was to paint a picture at a point in time of resources that might be aligned with NY’s QRIS, QUALITYstarsNY. Appropriate websites for state agencies and programs were reviewed, and interviews were conducted with 30 individuals. In addition to providing information about resources, the interviews were an opportunity to increase visibility of the QRIS among a key constituency, state agency leaders and their contractors, and a chance to further engage them in the larger initiative of the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) and specifically its quality improvement work. Additional information on this project, including a copy of the survey and results, can be found at http://www.ccf.ny.gov/ECAC/WG/Quality/Resources/QSNY_FundingAlign.pdf.
Funding Support for New York's Field Test
The field test was largely supported by funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In 2010, the State Education Department (SED) committed the use of $4 million of its Race to the Top funding to support QUALITYstarsNY. SED prioritized implementation in high-needs school districts containing Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools. The Early Childhood Advisory Council provides funding support towards the implementation of QUALITYstarsNY and provides implementation oversight. The State Office of Children and Family Services awards up to $500,000 annually to support the professional development activities of QUALITYstarsNY participants. Each site creates a Quality Improvement Plan that outlines improvement activities. All funding requests are approved and monitored by the participating site’s Quality Improvement Specialist.