New York’s Quality Rating & Improvement System

QUALITYstarsNY is New York State’s voluntary Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS) for early childhood programs. QUALITYstarsNY is designed to systematically assess, improve, and sustain early childhood care and education quality in all regulated settings.

QUALITYstarsNY is unique as a QRIS because the core of our mission and the work we do with early childhood programs is focused on Continuous Quality Improvement. To help programs improve and sustain quality, QUALITYstarsNY participants receive individualized support from a designated Quality Improvement Specialist (QI Specialists) and access to professional and career development opportunities, classroom materials and furnishings, and a wide range of resources. Programs continue to build and sustain quality for as long as they are participants in QUALITYstarsNY.

Key Elements of QUALITYstarsNY, New York State’s QRIS

1. Standards

QUALITYstarsNY has developed evidence-based Standards, with a statewide group of stakeholders, for each type of early childhood program—center-based, school-based, and family child care providers—to serve as a framework for best practices in early childhood settings. The Standards provide a guide for programs and providers to ensure the quality of children’s daily experiences are designed and carried out to promote positive learning outcomes.

There are four areas of QUALITYstarsNY Standards:  Learning EnvironmentFamily EngagementLeadership & Management, and Staff Qualifications & Experience.

2. Professional Development & Technical Assistance

QUALITYstarsNY employs QI Specialists around the state to directly engage with programs and providers during the quality improvement process. QI Specialists work in partnership with program leaders to develop a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) based on the Standards and the results of their rating assessment. The QI Specialists then connect participants to available professional development opportunities and provide resources to support the individualized goals leading to higher quality.

QUALITYstarsNY uses Quality Scholars to support program staff with professional development goals. In alignment with their QIP, program staff may receive support for activities such as coaching, non-credit bearing training, college tuition, and training and assessment fees associated with certain credential or certificate programs.

3. Data, Monitoring & Accountability

QUALITYstarsNY operates an extensive and comprehensive data system that tracks every investment in money, time, and effort to ensure accountability and provide a greater understanding of what it takes to generate and sustain high quality early childhood education for young children.

Programs participating in QUALITYstarsNY utilize their rating report to set goals in their QIP and access resources necessary to assist with meeting those goals. Through the QIP system, QUALITYstarsNY can track the progress programs are making towards quality improvement. Additionally, as programs are re-rated at least every three years, QUALITYstarsNY captures information on program progress and analyzes data to measure increases in Star Rating or rating points earned.

QUALITYstarsNY also collaborates with The Aspire Registry for New York’s Early Childhood Workforce to collect and monitor workforce data such as staff employment history, education and ongoing professional development.

4. Financial Supports and Incentives

Investing in quality improvement can be a significant challenge for many early childhood programs and providers. In an industry where early childhood educators are historically underpaid and many programs struggle to make ends meet, QUALITYstarsNY is able to offer a number of resources that enable programs to meet quality improvement goals at no cost to participants. In addition to materials that enhance learning environments, QUALITYstarsNY invests in professional development for program staff so they can attend trainings, complete coursework, and obtain credentials.

Moreover, QUALITYstarsNY is able to offer these resources at a cost of less than $300 per child, safeguarding the state’s investment in early childhood by ensuring early childhood education experiences are high quality.

5. Communication & Outreach

From its inception, QUALITYstarsNY has focused on outreach to stakeholders across the early childhood community, including early childhood programs and providers, parents, and lawmakers. QUALITYstarsNY’s Standards are available on our website for providers to deepen their understanding of high quality practices in early childhood. Our new, interactive map makes it easy for parents to find an early childhood program participating in QUALITYstarsNY in their area. QUALITYstarsNY also regularly provides key information to lawmakers on the importance of quality in the state’s early childhood system and our role as New York’s QRIS.

QUALITYstarsNY provides numerous benefits to all early childhood stakeholders