Child care programs participating in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), like the one we’re piloting in Contra Costa County, make the greatest improvements when they have access to training, professional and educational support, and specialized coaching.
That’s where our new Quality Improvement Coaches Kellee Davis and Francisca Hernandez come in. As coaches, Kellee and Francisca help child care providers to be successful throughout the QRIS process, from preparing for an assessment, observation, or rating to meeting defined quality improvement goals. Ultimately, through coaching support and the technical assistance provided, QRIS participants receive higher ratings and children receive higher quality early education.
There are 100 child care sites participating in our pilot QRIS, including Head Start, state preschool, child care centers and family child care programs. Kellee and Francisca each work with 33 sites. The other members of our Coaching Team, Contra Costa Child Care Council staff members Monica Joseph and Nancy Cuny, provide coaching to the remaining 34 QRIS sites.
The coaches meet with providers, connect them to workshops and trainings, explain how the assessment and rating tools work, and help them to identify their program’s strengths and challenges.
“Every program is different so we tailor our work to each provider’s individual needs,” said Francisca, a former preschool teacher, director, and kindergarten teacher. “For some, we might help them make changes to their environment, while others need assistance improving child-teacher interactions.”
Coaching is part of a broader system of child care quality improvement activities we support in Contra Costa County, including workshops, financial stipends, and support for early childhood educators at the county’s three community colleges.
“Coaching has been extremely rewarding for me,” said Kellee, who holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and previously worked as a coach for child care professionals in Los Angeles. “A QRIS system is not only necessary, but vital to our society. Quality early education programs have a positive impact on children’s development, which holds significant economic benefits for our nation’s future.”