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Early Childhood Programs

Re-visioning Keystone STARS 

Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, Keystone STARS, is one of the most mature systems in the country to improve quality in child care / early learning programs. As Pennsylvania strives to increase access to high-quality services, now is the time to refine Keystone STARS so that it is more efficient for providers to participate and more effective at improving child outcomes. Revisions to the Keystone STARS system has begun for the 2017-18 program year.  

For questions or comments, please contact OCDEL at RA-OCDEarlyLearning@pa.gov.

Keystone STARS Revisioning Launch Webinar 

For more than a year, OCDEL worked with the Keystone STARS Think Tank and stakeholders to revise the Keystone STARS system to support quality improvement in early care and education programs and professionals while reducing administrative burden.

Watch the recording to preview the new Performance Standards, new coaching and financial supports, and the process for moving up the Keystone STARS ladder.

New Resources 

QUICK LINKS:

    Three workgroups have been established. Visit each workgroup page for updates and resources: 

    Resources 

    Keystone STARS Logic Model - November 2016


    The Keystone STARS Logic Model is a road map to help plan for the Keystone STARS revision process and to communicate with stakeholders about:

    • what needs to be changed;
    • how it will be changed; and
    • the outcomes that would signal that a change has taken place.

    The Keystone STARS Logic Model Components

    • Inputs/Investments include the people, financial, organizational, and community resources that are available to make the change.
    • Activities include the program activities, for example the processes, tools, events, technology, and actions that are an intentional change to what is happening currently, for example new or revised technical assistance activities.
    • Outputs include the direct products of program activities, for example, the number of child care programs being rated or the number of programs that achieve their technical assistance goals.
    • Outcomes demonstrate change has occurred in program participants’ behavior, knowledge, skills, status and level of functioning.

    The Logic Model was created by the Keystone STARS Re-visioning Think Tank and other stakeholders’ priorities and expectations for the change process.

    The Think Tank and workgroups will use this Logic Model to inform their work. Stakeholders may also use the Logic Model to discuss the priorities, strategies and expected outcomes from the new Keystone STARS system.

    STARS Inquiry - November 2015

    On November 10, 2015, the William Penn Foundation released “An Inquiry of Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS.” The Inquiry will be the springboard to inform this refinement. 


    The Inquiry recommended that OCDEL: 
    • Streamline STARS standards to focus on: 
      • Evidence-based standards – those that are measurable, mutable and directly linked to child outcomes;
      • Individual improvement activities – these will include flexibility to achieve meaningful and sustainable quality; and
      • Monitoring and reporting – improve alignment with sate priorities and system maintenance to ensure sustainability. 
    • Refine and modify worksheets and required sources of evidence for STARS designation so they maintain the rigor without rigidity.
    • Define Keystone STARS levels as steps to quality with a meaningful progression of expectations with each STARS level. 
    • Coordinate and align Keystone STARS revisions with the implementation of the new Child Care and Development Block Grant provisions, integrated services work, data systems integration, professional development and technical assistance.

    STARS Think Tank


    The Keystone STARS QRIS Revisioning Think Tank Team is charged with engaging a diverse group of early learning stakeholders in the creation of a new conceptual framework for Keystone STARS. This new framework will define the shared core principles of a quality rating and improvement system that is meaningful to and inclusive of all children,families and early learning professionals in Pennsylvania's diverse early learning settings. The Keystone STARS Think Tank participated in a guided work sessions to develop draft core principles for a new framework for Keystone STARS.

    On November 10, 2016, more than 60 members of the Keystone STARS Think Tank met to discuss and review the current Keystone STARS performance indicators to start thinking about what are the few and powerful standards that best measure quality, and can be measured. Next step is for the members of the Quality Indicators and Program Alignment Workgroup to conduct their own assessment using the criteria of evidence-based/high value, achievability and feasibility for objective measurement and merge that with the results of the Think Tank.

    Here is a list of STARS Think Tank participants

     

    STARS Webinar Recordings 

    NEW! Getting to Know the New Keystone STARS Webinar Recording - June 2017

     

     

    References for October 2016 Process Update:

    1. Zaslow, M. & Tout, I. (2014) Reviewing and Clarifying Goals, Outcomes and Levels of Implementation: Toward the Next Generation of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). OPRE Research Brief #2014-75. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    2. Tout, K., Chien, N., Rothenberg, L. & Li, W. (2014). Implications of QRIS Design for the Distribution of Program Ratings and Linkages between Ratings and Observed Quality. OPRE Research Brief #2014-33. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    3. Burchinal, M., Tarullo, L. & Zaslow, M. (2016). Best Practices in Creating and Adapting Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Rating Scales. OPRE Research Brief #2016-25. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    4. Schilder, D., Iruka, I., Dichter, H., and Mathias, D. (2015). Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Stakeholder Theories of Change and Models of Practice. Retrieved from http://qrisnetwork.org/resource/2016/quality-rating-and-improvement-systems-stakeholder-theories-change-and-models-practice.

    5. Maxwell, K. L., Sosinsky, L., Tout, K., & Hegseth, D. (2016). Coordinated Monitoring Systems for Early Care and Education. OPRE Research Brief #2016-19. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    6. Zaslow, M., Tout, K., & Halle, T. (2012). On-Site Approaches to Quality Improvement in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Building on the Research on Coaching, Research-to-Policy, Research-to-Practice Brief OPRE 2012-40. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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