1.1.b:  Increase number of early learning providers who achieve level 3 or above in Early Achievers (quality rating and improvement system) from December 2013 baseline of 253 programs to 1,471 programs by December 2018

Early Achievers is a key strategy of Washington's Early Learning Plan to improve the quality of child care and early learning programs. Participating facilities are rated on a scale of 2 to 5. When facilities sign up, they are provided with no-cost trainings, targeted technical assistance and other supports to help them prepare for onsite evaluation. As participating facilities improve, they receive coaching, professional development and incentives to help them continue to improve the quality of their programs.

Data source: MERIT Data System

Reported by: Department of Early Learning

Supplemental report

Why is this a priority?

Early Achievers is Washington's framework to measure and promote high quality programs for children regardless of setting or sector ensuring that all children have access to high quality care. Facilities that achieve a Level 3 or higher have demonstrated, via an unbiased assessment, that they are offering high quality care using a universal, standardized framework. July 2015, the Legislature passed the Early Start Act; within the Act are enrollment and rating expectations for providers that serve the most vulnerable children in Washington. This includes providers who accept Working Connections Child Care subsidies and programs that provide Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) services. These participation and quality rating goals are a testament to the importance of quality early learning services for the state's most at risk children.

How are we doing?

Early Achievers participants have begun the rating process in earnest. Many programs have been participating in Level 2 activities for months and are ready to move forward through a ratings process that will give them valuable data about their program. And many Early Achievers participants have received their ratings and have started working with a coach to develop a quality improvement plan based on their program's rating data. The passing of the Early Start Act in July of 2015 creates a milestone for all providers who accept Working Connections Child Care subsidies to enroll in Early Achievers and rate at a Level 3 within 30 months. Additionally, the Early Start Act outlines participation and rating milestones for ECEAP programs. These new landmarks will increase enrollment and rating numbers within Early Achievers.

What are we working on?

  • Aligning resources and supports under a common framework

Regardless of setting or sector, all programs will have access to common supports and resources including economic incentives and professional supports in order to encourage participation and rating. Additional targeted supports will be available to programs that face barriers to their successful participation in Early Achievers.

  • Enhancing pre-rating supports

We are incorporating targeted pre-rating consultation focused specifically on a facility's specific needs, ensuring that facilities are adequately prepared for rating in a timely manner. Supplemental targeted supports have been embedded into the rating readiness process. These supports focus on the Environmental Rating Scales (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), the two tools most heavily weighted in Early Achievers. This includes the implementation of a baseline ERS and/or CLASS assessment by a reliable observer in order to help the program create a pre-rating quality improvement plan so they are better prepared for their initial quality rating.

  • Policy changes to support rating

We are providing more time between the completion of Level 2 Activities and completing the rating process. All staff supporting Early Achievers participants have access to higher level training to help them better support Early Achievers participants. We are also providing a greater variety of training for Early Achievers participants at Early Achievers Training Institutes and offering classes in English, Spanish and Somali language at a minimum.