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QRIS Resource Guide

Washington

Early Achievers, Washington’s QRIS, is voluntary for licensed child care providers and helps early learning programs offer high-quality care.  It gives participating child care professionals free access to coaching, professional development, and a tangible way to demonstrate their commitment to providing quality care and education for young children.

Washington Contacts

QRIS Name: Early Achievers

Organization: Washington State Department of Early Learning in partnership with Child Care Aware Washington and the University of Washington

Web Site: http://www.del.wa.gov/care/qris/

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

Washington Pilot on Head Start and PreK Inclusion

The Washington Department of Early Learning (DEL) believes that ensuring consistent high-quality programs for children, regardless of the setting, is critical to improving outcomes for Washington’s youngest learners. They conducted a voluntary pilot project with the goal of streamlining the process for Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) programs to participate in their QRIS, Early Achievers. ECEAP is a state-funded preschool program modeled after Head Start.  DEL learned from the pilot that:

  • Washington's Head Start and ECEAP programs align well with Early Achievers quality standards.
  • Head Start and ECEAP programs are able to demonstrate high quality using their existing practices, procedures and policies.
  • Head Start and ECEAP programs, on average, provide a level of quality equal to an Early Achievers quality Level 3 or higher.
  • As a result of the pilot findings, ECEAP and Head Start programs that opt to participate in Early Achievers will:
  • Enter Early Achievers at a Level 3.
  • Be strongly encouraged to demonstrate quality levels 4 or 5 through an on-site evaluation and streamlined rating process.
  • Have the opportunity to apply to become training resource centers once they are rated at Level 4 or 5. Training resource centers will receive a contract to share training and professional development with other Early Achievers participants.

Head Start and ECEAP are not eligible to receive quality improvement awards that are available to licensed child care providers who participate in Early Achievers.  The Executive Summary of the pilot is available at http://www.del.wa.gov/publications/elac-qris/docs/Early_Achievers_pilot_summary_HS_ECEAP.pdf.

Washington has started planning the development of a school age component for Early Achievers which will include developing the standards and framework as well as conducting a pilot prior to statewide roll-out. We will begin this process with partner agencies in 2014, with the goal of piloting in 2015.

Approaches to Implementation

Washington State Development and Phase in of Early Achievers QRIS: Lessons Learned

Washington State followed a careful development process for their QRIS:  2008-2010 field test in 5 communities/counties; 2011 infrastructure development; 2012 regional roll out started; 2013 statewide roll out.  The Department of Early Learning built their QRIS on licensing as the foundation, working with licensors to get them on board.  They worked with Child Care Aware WA to do the regional implementation, reaching out to recruit programs and then offering help in the form of technical assistance, training and coaching.  Another key partner, the University of Washington has developed the Early Achievers Coach Model and trains coaches, conducted an evaluation of the QRIS process and is collecting data on the system.  One key piece of advice they give other states is to start building a data system from day one to protect the integrity of the QRIS.  Another lesson learned is that they found they started with more standards than they have now but realized they were measuring elements twice or that some elements could not be measured.  They advise other states to define their goals and then develop standards that will lead to a measurement that will assess achievement of those goals.  Additional information on the Early Achievers (QRIS) is available at http://wa.childcareaware.org/providers/EA.

Standards and Criteria

Washington State Develops Early Achievers Rating Process that Welcomes Head Start

Washington State conducted a pilot to develop reciprocity between Head Start programs and the QRIS, Early Achievers.  The streamlined process that was developed allows Head Start programs to enter at Level 3 where they are strongly encouraged to apply for an on-site evaluation and streamlined rating process to demonstrate their meeting levels 4 or 5. This process provides an appropriate level of credit for meeting Head Start program performance standards, while, at the same time, acknowledging and taking into account that there may be variability in the level of quality from site to site.   Head Start programs are not eligible to receive ongoing Quality Improvement Awards; however, they can receive a contract to become a training resource center if they are rated at level 4 or 5. A summary of the pilot project and results is available at http://www.del.wa.gov/publications/elac-qris/docs/Early_Achievers_pilot_summary_HS_ECEAP.pdf. Additional information is available at http://www.del.wa.gov/care/qris/.

Washington intends to develop a school age component for Early Achievers with the goal of piloting by 2015

Provider Incentives and Support

Washington State Targets Technical Assistance versus Coaching in Their Early Achievers TQRIS

To better deploy resources, Washington States decided to focus their 25 technical assistance specialists on the Early Achiever programs that are working to meet Level 2 standards and devote the work of the 10 coaches on the Level 3-5 Early Achiever programs.  A realigned CCR&R system allowed them to do this through a streamlining of services that meet a uniform standard of quality.  All technical assistance activities from outreach through Rating Readiness are tracked in the ETO (Efforts to Outcomes) system.   ETO allows users to review how resources are being deployed across the state and allows for an analysis that can lead to program changes to maximize effectiveness and efficiency in the TA framework.  Additional information is available at   http://wa.childcareaware.org/providers/EA.

Financial Incentives and Supports

Washington has a package of supports and financial resources for Early Achievers participants at all Levels. Facilities that register at Level 2 are eligible to receive a 2% subsidy increase for participating in Early Achievers and achieving a Level 3—5 within 30 months. Level 2 facilities are also provided with no cost training. Quality Improvement awards are provided annually for level 3—5 facilities in order to ensure that quality improvement efforts can be maintained over time and scholarships are targeted to participants at Level 3—5. More information can be found at http://www.del.wa.gov/care/qris/participants.aspx

Washington's Financial Incentives and Supports

Washington has a package of supports and financial resources for Early Achievers participants at all Levels. Facilities that register at Level 2 are eligible to receive a 2% subsidy increase for participating in Early Achievers and achieving a Level 3—5 within 30 months. Level 2 facilities are also provided with no cost training. Quality Improvement awards are provided annually for level 3—5 facilities in order to ensure that quality improvement efforts can be maintained over time and scholarships are targeted to participants at Level 3—5. More information can be found at http://www.del.wa.gov/care/qris/participants.aspx.