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The Qualistar Rating and Colorado Shines

How are Qualistar and the Office of Early Childhood partnering?

Qualistar Colorado continues its mission to advance quality early childhood education across Colorado. Qualistar’s Rating and Assessment team has partnered with the Office of Early Childhood to implement the new Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System. Our team will utilize its experience with the Qualistar Rating to help support a smooth transition to Colorado Shines and ensure every child in Colorado has the opportunity to succeed.

How do I explain this change to parents and families?

Colorado Shines is a new Quality Rating and Improvement System, which is similar to the original Qualistar Rating that parents may be familiar with. Let families know that quality early childhood remains an important part of your business. Even though the name of the rating system is different, you are still focusing on providing the highest levels of care and education as well as meeting all health and safety standards.

What happens to my Qualistar Rating?

If you are a provider with an unexpired Qualistar Rating your rating will be recognized at an equal level in the new Colorado Shines system. For example, if your current Qualistar Rating is 4 Stars, your new Colorado Shines rating is Level 4. You maintain this rating until your certificate expires, at which point you will need to have a Colorado Shines rating if you would like your program to continue to be recognized at the same level.

Visit the Colorado Shines website to search for your rating.

To ensure that there is no gap in your quality rating, we recommend that providers begin the renewal process early. Check your quality certificate to determine when your rating will expire and ensure your application for your Colorado Shines assessment is complete in time to rate before your certificate expires.

What happens if my quality rating certificate expires?

If your rating certificate expires or has already expired, you will need to schedule a new Colorado Shines assessment. Your rating will automatically reset at a Level 1 until you do so.

What is PDIS and do I have to do it?

PDIS – the Professional Development Information System – is a database to house training, education and professional development information about early childhood professionals in Colorado.

Providers with a Level 1 Colorado Shines rating are required to enter staff information into PDIS in order to obtain a Level 2 rating. However, using PDIS is a best practice that every child care provider is encouraged to complete.

What do I do about my promotional materials that mention my Qualistar Rating?

If you have printed materials that include your Qualistar Rating, you may continue to use these until your supply runs out. We encourage you to remove the Qualistar Rating once you need to reprint marketing and promotional materials.

To reflect the change to the new Colorado Shines system, please remove and recycle promotional banners that say "Qualistar Rating." Banners that say "Quality Rated" can remain in place. Qualistar Colorado will also remove information about the early childhood Qualistar Rating from its website. We encourage you to do the same, including the use of embedded Qualistar Rating widgets on your website.

Will I get a new banner?

Banners are being phased out and replaced by Colorado Shines window clings, which will indicate your rating level. The Office of Early Childhood will provide window clings.

Who can help me navigate the assessment and quality improvement process?

Contact your local Early Childhood Council. Most Council offices have a Quality Improvement Navigator who will guide you through the quality assessment Colorado Shines application process. Your local Child Care Resource and Referral Office can also answer questions.

If you’re part of the state’s School Readiness and Quality Improvement program (SRQIP), continue to work on your improvement plan.

Is there a list of the documentation that I am required to provide to complete my rating?

Yes. The list of quality indicators and accepted evidence is available on the Colorado Shines website in the resources section. Look for the QRIS Point Structure Guide for details. 

Now that I know my quality rating, how can I improve the services I provide to families and children?

If you have a Colorado Shines assessment or a Qualistar Rating that has not expired, use the quality improvement plan you received. The quality navigator at your local Early Childhood Council, your local Child Care Resource and Referral office and Qualistar Colorado can help you learn more about professional development opportunities.

Providers can also find tools to improve their quality rating on the Colorado Shines QRIS Point Structure Guide.

What if I have had additional assessments?

If your program has undergone additional assessments, such as a CLASS assessment, you may be eligible for additional credit in your new Colorado Shines rating. Refer to the Point Structure Guide for details.