Similar to other quality improvement systems, QUALITYstarsNY operates within the following 5 key areas
QUALITYstarsNY recognizes that an effective quality improvement system, for programs in centers, school and homes, rests on the foundation of a state's regulatory system. Thus, QUALITYstarsNY works closely with the state's system to provide additional quality improvement supports such as technical assistance and professional development.
A one-star rating will be issued to any program that meets basic licensing requirements by completing a simple application. Through its five-star rating system, QUALITYstarsNY recognizes the programs that demonstrate quality above and beyond meeting New York's strong regulatory standards.
QUALITYstarsNY has developed a set of Standards for each modality of early childhood programs (Centers, Public Schools, Family/Home providers). The Standards were created to define best practice in early childhood settings and guide programs/providers in ensuring the quality of children's daily experiences and promoting positive child outcomes.
There are four categories of standards. The categories are: Learning Environment; Family Engagement; Qualifications & Experience; and Leadership & Management.
QUALITYstarsNY employs Quality Improvement Specialists (QI Specialists) around the state to directly engage with programs/providers during the quality improvement process. QI Specialists offer a range of services and supports from coaching to basic technical assistance and training. QI Specialists work with programs/providers to develop a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) based on the standards and other assessment information. The QI Specialists then link participants to available professional development opportunities and provide resources to support improvement activities.
QUALITYstarsNY uses Quality Scholars to support programs' professional development and quality improvement goals. In alignment with their Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) developed in collaboration with their QI Specialist, program staff may receive supports for activities including: consultation, non-credit bearing training, college tuition, and training and assessment fees associated with certain credential or certificate programs.
QUALITYstarsNY partners with the WELS System Foundation to develop and maintain a web-based QIS data system. The data system houses participant information, formulates the ratings and monitors programs' status and progress. Through this collaboration, QUALITYstarsNY is able to analyze and convert program data into ratings and then develop and implement targeted QIPs based on those ratings.
QUALITYstarsNY also collaborates with Aspire, New York's registry for early childhood professionals, to collect and monitor workforce data such as staff employment history, education and ongoing professional development.
QUALITYstarsNY utilizes Environment Rating Scales (ERS) assessments and CLASS assessments conducted by independent observers to assess the quality of a program's learning environment. ERS Assessment scores are factored into a program's overall star rating. CLASS Assessments are offered to programs with Active Ratings of 4 and 5 Stars. They are not factored into a site's star rating but are used to inform targeted quality improvement efforts.
Quality Improvement costs money. QUALITYstarsNY is able to offer a number of resources to meet quality improvement goals. These include grants and awards as well as scholarships, funded by Quality Scholars, to support professional development such as training, coursework and conferences.
From its inception, QUALITYstarsNY has focused on outreach to early childhood programs and providers. Presentations and readiness workshops were available around the state to educate the field about QUALITYstarsNY and how programs/providers can begin to study the Standards and make improvements. Programs/Providers can also use the on-line Standards Resource Guide to learn more the Standards and access links to resources. As QUALITYstarsNY grows, more emphasis will be placed on outreach to parents about the importance of high quality child care and how they can use the standards to speak with their child care provider about quality.