Pre-kindergarten programs in the Carson City School District are celebrating rewarding results from the latest Quality Rating and Improvement Systems scores. Fremont Elementary earned a three-star rating; Mark Twain Elementary, Bordewich Bray Elementary and Student Support Services all earned a four-star rating and Empire Elementary earned a five-star rating.
QRIS is a rating and assessment system designed to assess early childhood programs, provide incentives to improve them and communicate their level of quality. The five components of QRIS are standards, accountability measures, program and practitioner outreach and support, financing incentives and parent and consumer education efforts.
“On a scale of 7, an indicator of 3 would be good, an indicator of 5 is excellent and very difficult to achieve,” said Laura Austin, director of the Title III, English Learner Program and Pre-K Development Grant Support for the Carson City School District. “Daily research based work efforts with a focus on students does pay off.”
Austin, at the board meeting, described the measures are extensive and can be challenging for students to learn, from teaching children how often to wash their hands to the number of books required to be available per student or the number of blocks, how space is used, etc., she said. Teachers are measured on a 55-point scale, and they don’t know when to expect to be rated.
The district works in conjunction with the Early Childhood Child Council. QRIS, a two-year system, measures how classrooms fare with minimal three-hour observation schedules.
Schools equipped with these early childhood centers or programs have access to resources and can better understand their strengths and provide programs offering “individualized coaching, technical assistance, financial incentives, resources and professional development opportunities to address areas of improvement and overall increases in high quality best practices,” according to the Nevada Silver State Stars website free to licensed child care facilities in the state. These programs are helping to establish the importance of education at an early age.
Superintendent Richard Stokes introduced Austin at the district’s school board May 28 meeting recognizing her and the staff members at Fremont, Mark Twain, Bordewich Bray and Student Support Services for their efforts.
“All of the education programs are considered to be of quality within our district,” Stokes said of the results. “The recent QRIS results and star ratings of our Pre-K classes is just another example of how well our teachers and educators are preparing our children for kindergarten and other quality programs among our elementary and secondary schools.”