Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
County Program Profile: Solano
Time Period: 2018–2019
QRIS :: Quality Counts in Solano Early Care & Education
Quality Counts in Solano Early Care and Education, Solano County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), is funded by the California Department of Education State Preschool Program, Infant/Toddler, and Migrant Center QRIS Block Grants and the First 5 California IMPACT Grant. Quality Counts is a combined system serving California State Preschool Programs (CSPPs), family child care providers, and private and non-profit center-based providers. Since July 2015, 43 sites have been enrolled, and approximately 38 sites are currently receiving support to improve quality.
Coaching focused on Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs) aligned with the Quality Continuum Framework (QCF) matrix and professional development for all providers are the primary strategies for improving the quality of programs. Sites receive coaching support based on the site Self-Assessment Questionnaire, coach observations, collaboration with site director and staff, and formal assessments like the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) and Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), if completed. In addition, QRIS staff are available to guide providers’ work and participation in continuous quality improvement.
Participating CSPP sites rated as Tier 4 or Tier 5 are awarded local QRIS Block Grants ranging from $3,500 to $5,000. All sites receive a one-time $500 Participation Stipend and become eligible for up to $1,000 in quality enhancement reimbursement every other year.
Solano County Office of Education, in collaboration with the California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN), has scheduled a series of workshops on the California Preschool Curriculum Framework and Learning Foundations, covering a variety of content areas. Additional workshops are being scheduled to guide teachers in improving the learning environments, administering student assessments, and utilizing the CLASS and ERS assessment tools to inform their practices.
The Solano Family and Children Services offers providers and parents classes on children’s social and emotional development with specific focus on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire – Social Emotional (ASQ-SE) screening tools for children ages birth through 5 years. CSPP staff in Solano County have been trained in the California Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and use the Teaching Pyramid in their classrooms.
Following is the process for sites to increase the quality of their programs. This process will be reviewed periodically and revised as necessary.
Quality Early Learning Application, Acceptance & Orientation CSPP sites will submit an application indicating their interest in increasing quality, collecting initial information on where they are on quality indicators, and providing information about their program. The applications will be reviewed and approved by the Solano QRIS manager.
Selected sites will receive an acceptance letter, and an on-site orientation visit will be scheduled to discuss Participation Guidelines and requirements, review the Participation Agreement and secure signatures, and introduce the Self-Assessment.
Self-Assessment Sites may receive technical assistance when completing the Self-Assessment. The Self-Assessment will provide demographic information, as well as help sites determine their current strengths and areas of need for training and support.
After submitting the requisite signed agreements and Self-Assessment, all CSPP sites will receive $500 for their commitment to quality and participation in Solano QRIS. A quality support coach will then be assigned to the site.
Quality Improvement Planning: The coaches will support the development of program-specific QIPs utilizing the CQI Pathways and the QCF. The QIP will include goals aligned with elements of the QCF with a timeline for meeting each goal. Broader goals will be broken down into individual steps with intermediate targets. The coach will provide technical assistance to support the development and implementation of the QIPs.
Quality Improvement Implementation of the Quality Improvement Plans will begin as they are finalized for each site. CSPP staff will meet with the assigned coach a minimum of once a month to guide implementation of the plan and provide technical assistance.
Coaches will collaborate with CSPP staff to initiate and update an Action Plan to document each site visit and the program’s progress toward meeting their quality goals. Coaches may conduct informal assessments using quality improvement tools, including CLASS and ERS. The results will be used as additional indicators for areas of improvement.
Upon development and approval of their QIP, each CSPP site will be eligible for up to $1,000 in reimbursement for specific quality enhancement to meet a goal in the QIP (i.e., training staff, classroom improvements, equipment, environment, substitutes or staff compensation).
Assessment and Tiered Rating: After receiving coaching and technical assistance, CSPP sites will be selected for assessment and rating. A QRIS portfolio will be assembled, to include documentation supporting the Self-Rating Scale. Sites will be informed by the coach of the timeline for external/reliable and independent assessment (age-appropriate CLASS and ERS). A formal rating will be given to the site after a thorough validation visit is conducted.
Coaches and QRIS staff will continue to monitor sites to ensure they maintain their rated quality and compliance with program requirements. Ratings stand for two years unless issues arise in key components of the program, in accordance with the RTT (Race to the Top) QRIS Implementation Guide and locally determined criteria.
In 2016, seven CSPP sites were rated on a scale of 1 to 5. Currently, Quality Counts is in the process of rating 10 additional sites, including CSPP sites, family child care homes, and a private center.
County Contact Information
- CDE CSPP/Migrant/Infant/Toddler QRIS Block Grants
- First 5 IMPACT Grant
- First 5 County Commission
- Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
- Solano Community College
- Brandman University
- Children’s Network and Local Child Care Planning Council
- Solano Family & Children’s Services
- Child Start, Inc.
- Child Development, Inc.
Process to Outreach/Onboard Programs and Providers
Quality Counts (QC) Solano has seen great success with recruitment of new providers, especially with many of the family child care (FCC) and private center QRIS participants being referred by the local resource and referral agency, Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP) coordinator, Solano Licensed FCC Association, and Child Start, Inc. A QC Solano staff member frequently attends meetings of these groups to introduce the program. Typically, recruitment takes place throughout the year. Once a provider submits an Application for Participation, onboarding is usually accomplished within two to four weeks. We have a well-defined process for enrolling programs in the QRIS and beginning coaching, technical assistance, and professional development support within six weeks.
Quality Improvement Program Support Strategies
Quality Counts (QC) Solano has leveraged funds from several sources and partnered with local and regional organizations to offer an extensive menu of high-quality professional learning opportunities. Workshops are selected based on our community of providers’ needs, specific requests, and hot topics and relevance to children served by Solano providers. All of the participating sites receive leveled coaching support based on several factors, including rating at 4 or higher, etc. Along with coaching on the tools included in the Rating Matrix, QC Solano has aligned its coaching with trainings that are offered with emphasis on assisting staff with implementation of the strategies and practices learned in the workshops.
Local Approach to Offering Financial Incentives and Stipends
In addition to local block grants for initial ratings and a reduced amount for re-ratings, Quality Counts Solano offers a one-time $500 participation award to sites after they enroll and complete specific steps in the onboarding process. After each site has developed the required quality improvement goals, each is eligible to receive up to $1,000 reimbursement for quality improvement expenditures. This is offered every other year. Instructional materials incentives are also provided to participants in alignment with the workshops they attend and suggestions of their coaches.
How Children Are Served by QCC
Children Served by Setting
Overall Child Characteristics and Services Provided
Children’s Races and Ethnicities
QCC Tier Rating Distribution
Language Spoken with Children
Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) Goals
Quality Counts Solano has helped me maintain my goals to create more activities to reinforce physical development, promote self-confidence, and provide a program where children grow and learn in a safe and healthy environment.Family Child Care Provider
Quality Counts Solano is honored to be able to support over 60 early learning programs in Solano County through onsite coaching, program goal development, incentives, and access to high-quality early learning professional development. Through these efforts and supports, five Quality Counts Solano family child care providers participated in the rating process in the last two years. The quality of these programs was recognized through QRIS ratings of 3 or higher. In preparation for rating, sites worked diligently with their early learning coaches to develop program goals aligned with the elements on the Rating Matrix. As evidence of success in the ratings process, these family child care providers have implemented the use of the ASQ system and the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP).
A Family Child Care Provider shared: It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I can offer a program that makes a huge impact on families in my community.
An Administrator shared: Our district is so grateful for the high-quality professional development provided by Quality Counts Solano. We would never be able to offer this level of training, especially like CSEFEL Teaching Pyramid with coaching support provided by Quality Counts.
A Teacher shared: As an early childhood professional, I can honestly say that the workshops sponsored by the Solano County Office of Education and Quality Counts have taught me so much about welcoming and supporting all children in my classroom. My colleagues and I have transformed the learning environment in our classrooms impacting our own behaviors and attitudes and those of our children.