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Qualistar Colorado Annual Report

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This is a time of transformation within Colorado’s early care and education system. What started 15 years ago is now a reality. With Colorado Shines, the state’s new quality rating system that is tied to licensing, quality is no longer optional.

Decades of research show us that early experiences affect the development of a child’s brain architecture — the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. A weak foundation impairs brain architecture and these negative effects last through adulthood. Colorado must support all children to build a strong foundation for learning and development.

Our state looks a lot different than it did 15 years ago when Qualistar Colorado formed to solve a problem — low child care quality. While extensive investment in the early care and education system has taken place, the goal then and the goal now is the same — support
more programs to improve their quality leading to better outcomes for children. With the advent of Colorado Shines, the Qualistar Rating™ has been retired; however, Qualistar will continue to be instrumental in driving quality improvement across the state. This is and always has been our mission. We will do this through targeted programs
and services that improve teacher and program quality, and by supporting public policy that will incentivize quality improvement.

Our work is girded in assessment (completing almost 1,000 per year), and we are expanding our work to ensure every child has a highly skilled teacher. We’re strategically improving teaching practice with meaningful training opportunities, technical assistance and access to post-secondary education.

Qualistar is also advancing quality in the field through original research and reporting. Our statewide research informs decision makers at the Capitol and in local communities. Additionally, with new data on personnel challenges, such as high turnover and low wages, we’re advocating for policy solutions to build a stronger workforce. Children thrive when they have secure relationships with their teachers and Qualistar wants to ensure that talented teachers stay in the field and are fairly compensated for their work. 

That’s what you’ll see from us in the future, and I look forward to reporting on these successes. However, this annual report is a look back on the milestones we have reached and the people we have served. It also signals a sea change. Qualistar has a proud history in quality assessment and now, using assessment as the foundation, we’re building a future in quality improvement.


Kathryn V. Harris
President and CEO
Qualistar Colorado