National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited programs, once accepted into Delaware Stars for Early Success, had to provide a copy of their accreditation and complete the Delaware Stars orientation specific to NAEYC programs. Once complete, NAEYC programs were designated star level 5 and could keep their star level by maintaining their accreditation and submitting copies of their annual NAEYC reports to Delaware Stars. NAEYC programs were assigned a technical assistant (TA) and required to submit an annual report to Stars. Head Start and Early Childhood Assistance Programs (ECAP), once accepted into Delaware Stars, had to provide a copy of their most recent monitoring report and complete the Delaware Stars Orientation specific to Head Start and ECAP programs. Once complete, programs were designated star level 4 and could keep their star level by maintaining good standing with Head Start and ECAP monitoring standards and by submitting copies of their annual monitoring reports to Delaware Stars. Programs could choose to remain at star level 4 or move up to a star level five. To achieve star level 5, programs had to request an Environment Rating Scales assessment and meet the minimum required classroom scores for that level. Programs were eligible for technical assistance when actively working on achieving star level 5.
QRIS State Profile
This profile is from the Quality 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
Delaware Alternative Pathway Avoided Duplication of Documentation
Provider Incentives and Support
Awards, Grants and Tiered Reimbursement in Delaware Stars
Delaware Stars for Early Success paid financial incentives such as Quality Improvement Grants and tiered reimbursement to participating early childhood education programs.
Grants provided funding support to programs actively working toward the next star level. Grants were available based on annual funding allocations. A program could receive a grant only once at each star level (2, 3, and 4). It had to be clear on the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and in the grant request that the program was working toward the next star level designation. Evidence needed to include regular meetings with the technical assistant (TA), progress towards completion of standards, and progress in preparing for a practice or verification Environment Rating Scales assessment. Grants had to be used for materials or professional development to meet the standards in the Quality Improvement Plan. For example, grants should have been utilized for materials and equipment that would increase the quality of care for children and actively engage them in activities. Grant amounts varied by program type and size. Grants ranged from $1500 to $3000 for centers and $500 to $1000 for school-age only programs or family child care. Merit awards were given to programs achieving new star levels.
Tiered reimbursement was available to programs at Star levels 3, 4, and 5. Programs at Star level 3 received an additional state supplemental reimbursement that reflected a total reimbursement of 80 percent of the market rate; Star level 4 received 90 percent, and Star level 5 received 100 percent of the market rate.
Early Childhood programs that participated in Delaware Stars had additional new supports through the Early Learning Challenge:
- CORE Awards (Compensation, Retention and Education Awards) were available to individuals working in star levels 3, 4, and 5 programs as they moved up the career lattice and remained at their current program or were recruited to other programs participating in Stars.
- Developmental screening and child formative assessment was offered to Stars programs, including free training, technical assistance, materials, and online reporting. In 2014, additional supports for curriculum were incorporated into this strategy.
- Early Learning Leadership Initiative (ELLI) worked with current and potential leaders in Stars programs and provided them with free professional development in leadership through a nine-credit series developed by the McCormick Early Childhood Center, Aim4Excellence Credential.
- Infrastructure grants for technological and capital improvements related to their quality improvement goals through Stars.
Delaware Family Friendly Website and Stakeholder Electronic News
Delaware created a family-friendly website, Great Starts Delaware, that included a wealth of information for parents on topics including the Delaware Stars program, why quality matters, early brain development, and early learning at home.
As part of the effort to drive families to the website as well as Facebook and Twitter, the Office of Early Learning ran a promotional contest that invited the public to visit the website, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter. A simple sign up entered participants in a weekly random drawing for a family fun pack, in which they could win gift cards to movies, bowling, activity centers, or museums, with multiple winners in each county. In just the first 5 weeks, more than 150 people entered, and more than 40 family fun packs were awarded. In one month, traffic to the website more than doubled; the website saw a total of 5000 unique visitors during the campaign.
In addition, the Office of Early Learning published a monthly electronic newsletter for a variety of audiences, including providers and parents. Content included the names of programs awarded three, four, or five stars, updates on Delaware’s early childhood work, practice tips using the Delaware Early Learning Foundations (state early learning guidelines), profiles of local leaders in early childhood education, and summaries of recent policy and research trends. Early childhood programs participating in Delaware Stars received marketing materials to help them communicate with the families they serve and those they hope to serve in the future. The Office of Early Learning also created a promotional guide for programs along with a calendar featuring program activities in which families can engage to spur understanding and support for Stars.