STARS Evolution

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.

Click here to go to Phase 1 Changes information
Click here to go to Phase 2 Changes information


What's New


6/11/2020 - Due to the COVID Response the Child Development Division has delayed the work of STARS evolution to ensure that our community partners and child care providers can focus on families and children. We plan to resume the work soon, and will update the timeline and other materials soon.



Phase 1 of Evolution

Phase 1:

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.

Phase 2

The division is using the information gathered in the evaluation and validation study to develop changes to the structure of and requirements in STARS.

The phase 2 changes include changes to how STARS works, and what programs need to do to achieve STARS.  CDD went out to the field in spring 2019 with a draft of those changes for feedback.

We want to thank everyone that took the time out of their busy schedules to give us feedback on the draft STARS Phase 2 changes. We received hundreds of comments and the evolution committee and CDD used your feedback to make changes to the draft. 

Current Status of Phase 2 Changes

Through the feedback we received in the spring 2019 we recognized that programs need information about draft evidence and resources available to provide additional feedback on the system. We formed five work groups to help us develop the supporting information for the next phase of STARS evolution. Below is a video of the revised proposed criteria that was presented to the work groups.

Work Groups
  • Application Work Group:  This work group will recommend the evidence and documentation required to achieve each criterion in each level of STARS, except the continuous quality improvement (CQI) criteria (see CQI Plan Work Group below). This group will also develop rubrics for the evidence and documentation.
  • Guidance Manual Work Group: This work group will develop recommendations of samples related to the evidence (as created by the Application Work Group). The Guidance Manual Work Group will identify or create resources etc. that a program could use to provide evidence.
  • CQI Plan Work Group: This work group will recommend the evidence and documentation required to achieve the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) criteria in STARS. This work group will also recommend rubrics for the criteria related to CQI, as well as templates, checklists and resource recommendations that programs could use to meet the CQI related criteria.
  • Recommending Supports for Programs Work Group: This work group will identify both existing support systems and resources as well as new support systems that program may need to meet the new STARS program.
  • Recommending Incentives for Programs Work Group:  The work group will make recommendations for incentives for child care program for participating in and at higher levels of STARS.

These work groups each have representatives and leaders from a variety of child care programs. A list of membership of the groups will be available in February.

Video of Current Proposed STARS Criteria

The Child Development Division provided an orientation to the work group members on December 13th, 2019. The video includes the expectations of the work groups, and the final proposed STARS criteria for stars level 2, 3, and 4. You can find the video on YouTube here: If you would like to skip to the description of the final draft proposed criteria go to minute 13:16 in the video. A pdf of the draft criteria for STAR level 2, 3 and 4 is available.

Contact Us

Miranda Gray, Interim Deputy Commissioner
Child Development Division (CDD)
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1040
Phone: (802) 241-3110 or 1-800-649-2642
Fax: (802) 241-0846

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