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QRIS and Inclusion. Karen Berman , Assistant Director, Ounce of Prevention Fund Jeanette McCollum , Professor Emerita, University of Illinois. Jennie Couture, Inclusion Manager, Bright From the Start:  Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

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Qris and inclusion

QRIS and Inclusion

  • Karen Berman,

    Assistant Director, Ounce of Prevention Fund

  • Jeanette McCollum, ProfessorEmerita, University of Illinois

  • Jennie Couture, Inclusion Manager, Bright From the Start:  Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

  • Pam Stevens, Quality Rated Manager, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and learning

  • Pam Winton, Senior Scientist and Director of Outreach,FPG Child Development Institute



  • National Context and Overview

  • Issues Related to an Inclusive Approach to QRIS

    • Structures & incentives

    • Measurement

    • Professional development

  • Perspectives, Strategies and Challenges: Two State Examples (IL and GA)

National context accountability quality

National ContextAccountability & Quality

National context focus on cross sector systems building

National ContextFocus on Cross Sector Systems Building

Quality movement multiple quality initiatives

Quality Movement = Multiple Quality Initiatives

Head Start Performance


OSEP Monitoring and

Accountability (SSIP)






Personnel Standards

Two different quality initiatives

Two Different Quality Initiatives

Quality Inclusion

US DOE OSEP Annual Performance Report (APR), including State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)


Early Childhood

Early Childhood Special Education/Early Intervention

What is qris

What Is QRIS ?

  • A method to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care settings

  • Varies from state to state with all states participating at some level

What are common qris elements

What are Common QRIS Elements?

  • Quality standards

  • Process for assessing standards

  • Outreach and support to programs to raise quality

  • Financial incentives

  • Consumer awareness

Promoting participation in the state s tqris rtt elc

Promoting Participation in the State's TQRIS – RTT-ELC

States are implementing effective policies and practices to reach the goal of having all publicly funded Early Learning and Development Programs participate in a statewide TQRIS system, including --

(1) State-funded preschool programs;

(2) Early Head Start and Head Start programs;

(3) Early Learning and Development Programs funded under section 619 of part B of IDEA and part C of IDEA;

(4) Early Learning and Development Programs funded under Title I of the ESEA; and

(5) Early Learning and Development Programs receiving funds from the State’s CCDF program;

States set targets for the numbers and percentages of Early Learning and Development Programs that will participate in the TQRIS.

Beth Caron, (2014), RTT-ELC Inclusion Forum

Tqris performance measures

TQRIS Performance Measures

All States report on the number and percentage of

  • Early Learning and Development Programs participating in the statewide TQRIS

  • Early Learning and Development Programs in the top tiers of the TQRIS

  • Children with High Needs who are enrolled in Early Learning and Development Programs that are in the top tiers of the TQRIS

    Beth Caron, (2014), RTT-ELC Inclusion Forum

What is osep annual performance report apr

What Is OSEP Annual Performance Report (APR)?

  • State data on children with disabilities and their families collected and reported to Congress

Qris and inclusion

State Performance Plans

and APR - Inclusion

Part C – Indicator 2

Percent of infants and toddlers with IFSPs who primarily receive early intervention services in the home or community-based settings.

Ryder, 2014, RTT-ELC Inclusion Forum

Qris and inclusion

State Performance Plans

and APR - Inclusion

Part B, 619 – Indicator 6

Percent of children aged 3 through 5 with IEPs attending a regular early childhood program and receiving the majority of special education and related services in the regular early childhood program; and

Ryder, 2014, RTT-ELC Inclusion Forum

Apr state systemic improvement plan ssip

APR - State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)

  • Includes a comprehensive, multi-year SSIP focused on improving outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.

  • Needs to link to other state and federal quality initiatives (e.g., QRIS, RTT, EHS/CC)

Three issues related to an inclusive approach to quality within qris

Three Issues Related to an Inclusive Approach to Quality Within QRIS

  • Structures & incentives

  • Measurement

  • Professional development

State context qris development

State ContextQRIS Development

  • Illinois

  • Georgia

Qris development in il

QRIS Development in IL

  • QRIS – ExceleRate Illinois

    • Effort began in 2011

    • Governor’s Office – Office of Early Childhood Development: Early Learning Council

  • Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge - funded in 2012

    • ExceleRate Illinois finalized in 2014

    • Circles of Quality – Licensing, Bronze, Silver, Gold

Il awards of excellence

IL Awards of Excellence

  • Five Awards of Excellence developed in 2013-2014

    • Infant/toddler

    • Family/community engagement

    • Culturally/linguistically appropriate practices

    • Preschool instruction

    • Inclusion of children with special needs

  • 2014 – Approved, implementation just beginning

  • Optional – an opportunity for programs in the Gold Circle to demonstrate and improve practices in one or more areas

  • Gold Circle as foundation - provides solid foundation for Awards of Excellence

Qris development in ga

QRIS Development in GA

  • FPG Child Care Quality Study

    • Conducted 2008-2010

    • Pervasive low quality child care across state

  • Quality Rated Launched 2011

    • Systematic approach to increasing quality

    • Strong support from Governor

    • Designed with input from diverse stakeholders

    • Validation study launched 2014

Qris development in ga1

QRIS Development in GA

  • Quality Rated Structure

    • Structural Quality

      • Portfolio assessment against five standards

    • Process Quality

      • ERS assessment of 1/3 classrooms

    • Portfolio and ERS scores combined to determine rating

    • Highest level: Three Stars

Structures incentives issues

Structures & IncentivesIssues

  • What is a structure for bringing sectors together around program quality within a QRIS framework?

  • What are incentives for ensuring buy-in across sectors and ensuring a fair and equitable QRIS for all?

  • How do you address the “What’s In it For Me?” question?

Some structures for inclusion already in place in excelerate illinois child screening

SOME Structures for inclusion already in place in Excelerate Illinois - Child Screening

Specific language related to inclusion also built into excelerate illinois

Specific Language Related to Inclusion also built into excelerateillinois

Developing the award of excellence in inclusion

Developing the Award of Excellence in inclusion

  • Each new Award assigned to an ELC committee (Special Education Subcommittee of Systems’ Integration and Alignment Committee of the Early Learning Council)

    • Broad representation of interests assured – agencies, providers, parents

  • Consultant

    • Recommendations for structure and process based on evidence-based practice and policy recommendations across broad array of early childhood entities and interests

  • Intensive, iterative process to ensure cross-agency collaboration and buy-in

    • Committee as a whole and top agency staff – values & practices; understandable; feasible in different programs

Structure award of excellence in inclusion

Structure – Award of Excellence in Inclusion

  • Standard 1 – commitment to principles of full inclusion

  • Standard 2 – achieve 85% of items on Illinois Inclusion Guidelines Checklist

  • Standard 3 – training on checklist, Portfolio development and on Inclusive Classroom Profile

  • Standard 4 – recent administrator training on early childhood systems and on inclusion

  • Standard 5 – recent staff training on inclusion and on Inclusive Classroom Profile

Support for inclusion embedded in quality rated

Support for Inclusion Embedded in Quality Rated

  • Standard 1: Director/Teacher Qualifications and PD

    • Introductory training in inclusion for director and teachers

  • Standard 2: Child Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity

    • Annual developmental screening

  • Standard 3: Family Engagement

    • Policies and procedures

    • Resources for families

    • All staff: minimum two hours introductory training in inclusion

  • Standard 4: Intentional Teaching Practices

    • Ongoing formative assessment

    • Evidence of adaptations/accommodations for individual needs and peer interactions

Georgia qr i inclusion designation

GEORGIA – QriInclusion Designation

  • Inclusion Designation: QrI(Quality Rated with an I)

  • Designation for programs with high quality inclusive practices

    • Purpose:

      • Promote High Quality Inclusion

      • Reward Programs

      • Inform Families

  • Development

    • Georgia Quest for Quality Inclusion

    • Based on evidence-based indicators of high quality inclusion

  • Eligibility

    • Programs at highest quality designation

Georgia qr i inclusion designation1

Georgia – QRIInclusion designation

  • Built on foundation of quality

  • Intensive training and technical assistance

    • Trained inclusion specialists

    • Individualized TA

  • Mini grants to support TA plan

    • Items or experiences

  • Assistance with program marketing

  • Opportunities for leadership

    • Mentorship or model sites

Vexing questions related to structures incentives

Vexing Questions Related to Structures & Incentives

How do you consider ways of including the variety of programs for children with disabilities (e.g., Part C services provided in a variety of settings, or programs that are part-time … 2.5 hrs per day…or segregated programs that are licensed but may have very different goals)?

Measurement issues

Measurement Issues

  • How do you measure high quality inclusive practices?

  • How do you ensure that the measurement system in place assesses whether early education teachers/practitioners are demonstrating that they are meeting the needs of young children with disabilities?

Illinois measurement issues

Illinois – Measurement Issues

  • Some inclusion measures already in place (built into ExcelerateIllinoisand compliance monitoring), but ..

    • no measures consistent across all types of programs

    • no measures captured the full range of characteristics of high quality inclusion

  • Existing measures in literature not comprehensive across both program and classroom elements

  • Response

    • created own program-level measure (“Illinois Inclusion Guidelines Checklist”), integrating information from literature and policy recommendations (DEC, NAEYC)

    • selected ICP (Inclusive Classroom Profile) to describe practices at classroom level

Il measurement built into structure of the award

IL Measurement - Built into structure of the award

  • What the process looks like

    • Criteria for applying – must be at Gold Level, must include children with special needs

    • Meet specific standards demonstrating commitment to inclusion (e.g., full participation, previous training)

    • Meet standards related to previous training on inclusion

    • Illinois Inclusion Guidelines Checklist (85% of 21 items)

      • Program-level self-assessment, demonstrate in Program Portfolio, program improvement plan based on results

      • Flexible “evidence,” depending on type of program, documented in Portfolio

      • Classroom-level self-assessment using ICP (Inclusive Classroom Profile), with classroom development plan based on results

Il approval process

IL Approval process

  • Program Portfolio – address each standard, each item on checklist

  • Portfolio Review

    • Committee of peers – review evidence

  • Follow-up visit to clarify any remaining questions

  • Maintain annually based on update program plan

  • 3-year review- more formal update, documentation of continued training on inclusion

Georgia measurement

Georgia - Measurement

  • Evidence of inclusive practices required for Quality Rated

    • Standards

    • ERS items

  • Process to achieve QII

    • Baseline with Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP)

    • Targeted professional development: training and technical assistance

    • Unannounced ICP assessment

    • Score of 5 or higher

    • Re-assessed yearly

Qris and inclusion

  • Vexing Question Related to Measurement

How can QRIS measurement system be kept as simple, practical, feasible and affordable as possible to ensure “buy-in” from practitioners and administrators,at the same time that indicators are meaningful within the context of inclusion?

Professional development issues

Professional Development Issues

  • How do you ensure that PD is available to support improvements within an inclusive QRIS system?

  • How do you ensure that teachers/practitioners have access to ongoing support that will lead to changes in their practice that will lead to more intentional teaching, and learning opportunities for young children with special needs.

Illinois professional development

Illinois – Professional Development

  • Built into structure

    • Initial training specified in standards

    • Ongoing training required to renew; part of individual classroom and program development plans

  • Approaches

    • Identify and make use of what is already available – across agencies, entities, for whom, in what formats (face-to-face, on-line; on-site assistance, training)

    • Bring additional professional development opportunities into the system

  • Pilot study

    • Identify, recommend and/or develop additional professional development needed to accomplish self assessment and portfolio development

  • Current – new grants to support implementation of each of Awards of Excellence

    • To begin summer, 2014

Georgia professional development

Georgia – Professional Development

  • Georgia’s Professional Development System

    • Professional Development Registry

    • System to ensure high quality professional development

  • Inclusion PD required as part of Quality Rated

    • Beginner level for all

    • Intermediate and advanced increased structural quality points

  • QRIrequires additional targeted training followed by onsite coaching

  • Will work with Technical College System and private trainers to embed inclusive practices in pre-service and in-service instruction

Qris and inclusion

  • Vexing Question Related to Professional Development

How do you keep the costs of PD in line with funding available?



References resources

References & Resources


QRIS – http://www.excelerateillinois.com/overview

Awards of Excellence - http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/OECD/Pages/default.aspx


QualityRated information and resources—qualityrated.org

QualityRated application portal---qualityrated.decal.ga.gov

Qris and inclusion



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