Announcing Changes to the Vermont Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS)
The Child Development Division used Race to the Top, Early Learning Challenge Grant funds to evaluate STARS. As part of that evaluation, child care providers and community partners were surveyed about what is working and what is not working in STARS. The Division also surveyed families to learn about their impressions of STARS. The results of this survey are available here: Vermont STARS Validation and Evaluation Study 2015-2017, in addition two briefs are available:
Using all this information and working with the STARS Evolution and Oversight Committees, the Division is proposing changes to STARS. These changes will happen in two phases.
- Phase 1 Changes have been approved and go into effect on September 1, 2019.
- The spring Phase 2 tours have been completed and the feedback on changes to the criteria has been given to the Evolution Committee for recommendations.
Effective 9/2019 the STARS rule no longer have a regulatory history component. This will streamline STARS for most new programs and eliminate an application process to have one star. Also, the new rules removes the requirement to be a Specialized Child Care Provider in order to earn 2 points in the Families and Communities Arena. This aligns with the new Specialized Child Care requirement that programs be at least 3 STARS in order to be a Specialized Child Care Provider.
Programs will automatically receive one star when they become regulated with a full license. Programs that are not currently participating in STARS and have a license in good standing will automatically receive one star effective 9/1/2019.
The division is using the information gathered in the evaluation and validation study to develop changes to the structure of and requirements in STARS. Please see the proposed timeline for phase 2 here: https://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/CDD/Proposed/STARS/STARS_Evolution_Phase_II_Timeline_web.pdf.
Information on Phase 2:
- Frequently Asked Questions on Phase 2 Document Updated 6/25/2019
- Informational webinar of draft STARS changes. Recorded May 28th, 2019: https://youtu.be/HJiFtcHn6BI
Ways to Ask Questions:
Frequently Asked Questions Submission - if you have a question about the phase 2 changes you can submit those questions here. We are using these questions and those gathered in our community meetings to update the frequently asked questions document above every couple of weeks.
STARS Work Groups
This Fall (October 2019), the STARS Evolution committee will be wrapping up its work on drafting the structure and criteria for the evolved STARS system. Then we are forming five work groups to help us develop the supporting information for the next phase of STARS evolution. These work groups are an opportunity for more people working with children and families to engage in the development process. We have identified the membership of the work groups and will be posting that information soon. Those work groups will be:
- Guidance Manual Work Group: This work group will develop the content of the guidance handbook. The handbook will provide clarity for criteria and evidence, provide templates, resources, etc.
- Application Work Group: This work group will recommend what needs to be included and format for the new STARS applications.
- Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Plan Work Group: This work group will define and clarify expectations for all aspects of CQI requirements and evidence for criteria related to CQI – including templates that programs could use.
- Recommending Supports for Programs about Phase 2 Changes Work Group: This work group will identify both existing support systems and resources as well as new support systems/resources that programs may need to meet the new STARS program.
- Recommending Incentives for Child Care Programs Work Group: This work group will make recommendations for incentives for child care programs including incentives for participating at higher levels of STARS.