UPDATED – Announcement ELRC 22-03

Subject: Updated Streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System within the Pennsylvania Professional Development Registry

To:

  • All Keystone STARS Providers;
  • Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs); and
  • the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) Early Learning Resource Center Program Representatives

From: 

Tracey Campanini
Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development & Early Learning

Issue Date: May 2, 2022 (UPDATED: May 13, 2022)
Effective Date: July 1, 2022
End Date: N/A

View full announcement as a PDF. >

Purpose

To provide information on the launch of the streamlined Keystone STARS Designation sub-system within the Pennsylvania (PA) Professional Development (PD) Registry on July 1, 2022.

This announcement has been updated to include additional language. Additional updated language is highlighted in red in the following text.

Background

Currently, the components of a Keystone STARS designation process are housed in several different information technology (IT) systems and databases including:

  • Provider Self Service (PSS),
  • Keystone STARS Document Uploader,
  • STARS Management and Reliability Tracking (SMART), and
  • PELICAN
  • PA PD Registry

Beginning in 2020, OCDEL and the PA Key, in partnership with New World, began developing enhancements to the PA PD Registry to include the Keystone STARS designation process, previously housed outside of the PD Registry. This work sought to ensure early childhood education (ECE) and school-age programs have a more streamlined and consolidated system for Keystone STARS designation activities.

Discussion

The Streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System

Beginning July 1, 2022, the Keystone STARS designation system will be live in the PA PD Registry. The Designation System will feature the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards that go into effect July 1, 2022. Programs will access the streamlined Keystone STARS designation system by clicking on the “Keystone STARS/Grants” tab located on their organization’s profile page.

The screenshot below shows where the “Keystone STARS/Grants” tab will be once an individual has logged into their organization profile in the PA PD Registry.

Transition to the New Streamlined STARS Designation System and the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards

On July 1, 2022, the new streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System will go live in the PA PD Registry. The new designation system will feature the updated 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards. As such, all designations initiated after July 1, 2022, will use the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards and the new Streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System.

All programs who have either already begun working on a designation using the 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards or intend to begin working on a designation prior to July 1, 2022, using the 2020 Keystone STARS Standards:

  • Must have completed or will complete a Request for STAR Designation (RFSD) via Provider Self Service (PSS) or paper prior to May 31, 2022. Completing a RFSD by May 31, 2022, signifies a program’s intent to begin and complete a STARS designation, renewal or move up, using the 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards by July 31, 2022. Programs who are completing a paper RFSD and mailing to their ELRC via US Postal Service must ensure they allow sufficient time for the RFSD to be received by the ELRC by May 31, 2022.
  • Must use the current STARS document uploader www.pastarsuploader.org to upload all evidence and attach to the 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards by July 31, 2022. After July 31, 2022, the document uploader will no longer be available.
  • Must submit all evidence to their Quality Coach and Designator by July 31, 2022. This will allow 30 days for the program’s Quality Coach and Designator to complete the designation by August 31, 2022. Programs who do not submit all evidence and documentation to their Quality Coach and Designator by July 31, 2022, will be required to start a new designation in the new Keystone STARS Designation System and will be required to use the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards.

Programs who have not begun to and do not intend to begin a designation prior to July 1, 2022, will be required to use the 2022 Keystone STARS Performance Standards and the new Keystone STARS Designation System when they begin designation work on or after July 1, 2022.

The new Designation system features a Document Vault which will replace the current STARS document uploader (www.pastarsuploader.org). The current STARS Document Uploader will no longer be available after July 31, 2022.

Programs who have questions about which system to use to upload evidence should contact their ELRC Quality Coach.

Requests for Keystone STARS Designation

Beginning July 1, 2022, programs will complete a Request for Keystone STAR Designation in the PD Registry system for both full and paperwork renewals, as well as for requests to move-up in STAR levels. The current functionality allowing programs to complete a Request for Keystone STARS Designation (RFSD) in PSS will be turned off on July 1, 2022. After that time individuals will be automatically redirected to the streamlined STARS Designation System from the Keystone STARS home page in PSS.

From June 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022, there will be a black out period for any new RFSDs to be completed. During this time, programs will be unable to complete any new RFSDs either via Provider Self Service (PSS) from the Keystone STARS home page or via a paper RFSD. For this reason, it is imperative that programs submit a RFSD by May 31, 2022, via paper or PSS, to their ELRC signifying their intent to begin and complete a designation (annual paperwork renewal, full designation renewal or move up) using the 2020 Keystone STAR Performance Standards.

Programs who did not complete a RFSD by May 31, 2022, signifying their intent to begin and complete a designation using the 2020 Keystone STARS Performance Standards will be required to wait until July 1, 2022 when the new STARS Designation system launches. These programs will be required to use the 2022 Keystone STAR Performance Standards.

Document Vault Functionality

The Document Vault feature is currently live in the PA PD Registry and can be used prior to July 1, 2022. The Document Vault, located within a program’s Organization Profile in the PA PD Registry, allows programs to upload evidence and documentation electronically to a centralized storage file. From a program’s Document Vault, programs can view the documents, upload additional documents, download documents back to a computer file, delete outdated documents, and, after July 1, 2022, attach documents to the STARS quality indicators.

Programs can choose to upload documents to their Document Vault at any point in their Keystone STARS designation cycles including well in advance of designation renewals. For example, after updating their Family Handbook, the program decides to upload electronically to their Document Vault even though their designation renewal is not for several more months. In this way, the program can be better prepared when they begin work to renew their full designation at any point in the future.

The screenshot below illustrates where the Document Vault feature will live within a program’s Organization Profile in the PA PD Registry.

NOTE: Documents that were previously uploaded into the Keystone STARS Document Uploader will not transfer into a program’s Document Vault.

While the new Keystone STARS Designation System allows a program to upload and attach evidence directly to a quality indicator from a computer file, it is beneficial for programs to upload all evidence first to their Document Vault. There are several reasons for this. First, documents that are uploaded to a program’s Document Vault will remain available for viewing, downloading, and attaching to STARS quality indicators at any time. Second, the Document Vault will serve as an “electronic file cabinet” where all important documents related to their Keystone STARS designation can be saved and easily accessed. This could be especially important when there is a change in director and the previous director had saved important documents in a computer file that is not accessible to the new director. Further, having a document saved in the Document Vault allows a program to easily retrieve it for attaching to multiple quality indicators without having to upload the same document repeatedly.

Tipsheets on using the Document Vault can be found on the PA Key website.

NOTE: Documents that are uploaded and attached directly to a quality indicator from a computer file will not be saved/transferred into a program’s Document Vault at this time.

System Generated Reports Within the Keystone STARS Designation System

The Keystone STARS Designation System will offer increased functionality by allowing system-generated reports from the PD Registry to be selected from a drop-down menu within certain quality indicators. For quality indicators that have associated system generated reports, no additional evidence/documentation will be required to be uploaded. Tip sheets and trainings will be offered on system-generated reports and the associated STARS quality indicators.

Documentation and Evidence Requirements in the Keystone STARS Designation System

The STARS Designation System has been designed to require that for every quality indicator a program is attempting to meet, at least one source of evidence must be uploaded and attached to the quality indicator in the system unless there is an associated system-generated report as explained above or in cases in which a program automatically receives points for a quality indicator.

Programs who require help in uploading documents to their Document Vault and/or attaching documents to quality indicators should reach out to their ELRC or the PD Registry team at registry@pakeys.org. Additionally, there are many resources on uploading documents on the Pennsylvania Key website including tip sheets, recorded trainings, and video tutorials.

Protocol for Confidential Information in STARS Designation System

Programs should refrain from uploading documents that contain personally identifiable information (PII) or confidential information about individual children and/or staff. Examples of documents that often contain confidential information would include, but not limited to:

  • Individual Family Service Plans (IFSP)
  • Individual Education Programs (IEP)
  • Child screenings
  • Child assessments
  • Staff salaries and performance evaluations.

Programs should first redact, black out, or otherwise hide the confidential information on such documents prior to uploading into the Keystone STARS Designation system. In cases in which a Quality Coach or Designator views such documentation during an onsite visit, a Confidential Records Sign Off Form can be completed and then uploaded and attached to the respective quality indicators.

Annual Paperwork Renewals to Be Housed within the PD Registry

The streamlined Keystone STARS Designation System will include the ability for programs to complete annual paperwork renewals. This increased functionality will allow all Keystone STARS designation renewals, both full and paperwork, to be captured within the PD Registry.

Expectations for Programs Using OCDEL-Approved Alternate Pathways

In order to have complete and robust data for all ECE programs and their staff, OCDEL is requiring all programs, including those who are using an OCDEL-approved Alternate Pathway to Keystone STARS designation to participate fully in the PD Registry. This includes ensuring all program staff have completed their profiles within the PD Registry.

These programs will also be required to complete their Requests for Keystone STARS Designations in the new system.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs who have STAR 4 reciprocity should refer to ELRC Policy Announcement 21 #03 Eligibility and Process for Extending Keystone STAR 4 Reciprocity to Head Start and Early Head Start Federal Grantee Locations for further guidance regarding participation in the PD Registry.

Training and Supports for Providers

Information including dates of demonstrations and trainings, video tutorials, and tip sheets on the Keystone STARS Designation system will be housed on the PA Key website.

Next Steps

  1. Child care programs
    • Direct any questions to your ELRC.
  2. ELRCs
    • Review and share with appropriate staff.
    • Send any questions to your Program Representative.