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County Program Profile: Tulare
Time Period: 2019–2020
QRIS :: Tulare County Early Stars
Tulare County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System is known as Tulare County Early Stars. The program is administered by the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) under the umbrella of the Early Childhood Education Program. Tulare County Early Stars receives funding from the California Department of Education and First 5 California. In 2013, Tulare County participated as a mentee county of Fresno County’s Early Stars Program through funds received from the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTT-ELC). In 2015, Tulare County applied for and received funding from the California Department of Education’s Quality Rating and Improvement System–California State Preschool Program (QRIS-CSPP) Block Grant. The purpose of this grant is to help raise the quality of California State Preschool Programs. Later that year, the Tulare County Office of Education applied for and was awarded funding through First 5 California’s IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) Grant. The IMPACT Grant supports a variety of programs serving children 0–5. Additional funding was received from the California Department of Education to help support our earliest learners (infant and toddlers) as well as Migrant Programs. The mission of Early Stars is to serve, advocate, train, and support early care and education programs. Tulare County Early Stars strives to create a lifelong path of learning and success in early care and education for our children and improve the future for all. Since 2014, multiple early education programs and family child care homes have been rated and assessed in Tulare County. Furthermore, many more sites have participated in quality improvement efforts. Tulare County focuses on three areas for our early care and education programs, with the intention of helping improve program quality. We assess and rate programs, services, and locations by looking for specific factors and qualities, which include:
1. Child Development and School Readiness
2. Teachers and Teaching
3. Program and Environment Quality improvement sites are eligible for trainings, coaching, supplies, and technical assistance.
In addition, each participating site receives a quality improvement plan to help guide the coaching process. Sites who qualify for a rating are also eligible for all the above and may be eligible for a block grant if they receive a high quality rating. The site rating makes it easy for parents to identify quality providers while giving providers the opportunity to promote their programs with Early Stars validation. It also gives agencies and providers areas to improve and celebrate strengths, which will lead to a strengthening of the entire early care programs in Tulare County.
County Contact Information
- California Department of Education
- First 5 California
- First 5 Tulare County
- Tulare County Office of Education Connections for Quality Care
- Tulare Council on Child and Youth Department
- Tulare County Office of Education Resource and Referral
- State Migrant Family Child Care Network
- College of the Sequoias
- CSU Fresno
Process to Outreach/Onboard Programs and Providers
The Tulare County Office of Education Early Stars program works in collaboration with various agencies to reach out and engage programs and providers. The TCOE Early Stars program maximizes program resources by coordinating outreach and engagement efforts with Connections for Quality Care, Resource and Referral, and the Local Planning Council. In addition, outreach is conducted via standing meetings with state-subsidized contractors and through the Remind application as a means to engage all early learning care programs.
Quality Improvement Program Support Strategies
The TCOE Early Stars program supports quality improvement efforts for all participating sites and agencies. This is accomplished through providing multiple professional development opportunities (available in English and Spanish) conducting baseline assessments, developing Quality Improvement Plans, and monitoring progress toward goals. In addition, TCOE Early Stars houses Trainer of Trainers in the following assessment and training modules: DRDP, ASQ3/ASQ-SE, CLASS, PITC, Strengthening Families, and ERS. As such, Early Stars staff provide technical assistance and coaching to support continuous quality improvement efforts for all sites and agencies.
Local Approach to Offering Financial Incentives and Stipends
The TCOE Early Stars Program offers stipends and material incentives to engage and reach out to participating sites and agencies. Material incentives are based on ERS baseline assessment conducted by Early Stars coaches. These materials are intended to support the overall program quality of sites and agencies. Financial stipends and block grants are determined by sites rated 4 or 5 stars or by quality improvement efforts.
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
“The program helped me a lot first in learning the tools to help evaluate students and to help them more. And if it hadn’t been for the program, I wouldn’t have learned it. Also the help of materials to help us and to help the children develop their abilities. I am very grateful and it helped me a lot. Much professional growth. And she helped me with the children especially in evaluating them and working with them. The coaches helped me a lot to learn and my coach is very patient with me. And the program always watching out for us. I do highly recommend this program to other providers. Learning Trails Preschool Early Stars has helped our site in the manner of providing trainings on assessment tools and staff utilizing language acquisition with the guidance of Pre-K CLASS. Working in collaboration with each other our goal is: quality care, quality environment, and quality early learning in a preschool setting. We are very pleased with the coaching support Early Stars has provided us.”Ana K. (FCCH Provider)
Tulare County Office of Education Early Stars program provides support to 24 center-based programs and 103 Family Child Care Homes. In addition, TCOE Early Stars providers program assistance to four alternative agencies. One of these alternative agencies is the Dinuba Unified Early Intervention Center. During the 2019–2020 program year, the Dinuba Unified Early Intervention Center participated in our IMPACT program and received quality improvement support. Rashella Avalos, Director of Special Student Services, wrote, “Your staff has done an exceptional job in training and coaching our staff to ensure we are providing high quality services to our students. We know we still have some work to do and welcome the support of your program staff in the fall. The additional funding to our program will definitely help us in our efforts and I would love to see us also work toward 4 to 5 rating in our 4 year old preschool classrooms as well.” This success story speaks to the dedication, commitment, and quality service that Early Stars staff provides.