Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Quality Matters posters showing young boy and girl

Quality Matters is Contra Costa's Quality Rating and Improvement System

Contra Costa County’s Quality Matters Initiative establishes standards that support developmentally appropriate practices for infants, toddlers and preschool age children. It provides a Quality Continuum Framework for early care and education professionals to identify opportunities for improvement and to continue developing the skills and competencies that support them and their program to make changes that promote high-quality standards.

The Quality Matters Initiative supports the professional development of staff working at participating QRIS and QIS programs through trainings, seminars and by offering additional on-site services such as coaching, professional growth advising, and support developing embedded reflective practice strategies.

Additionally, programs that voluntarily choose to participate in the Quality Matters Initiative receive financial incentives for quality improvement efforts.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) partners with First 5 Contra Costa, CocoKids, and the three local Community Colleges to administer the county's Quality Matters QRIS Initiative.

To learn more, visit www.qualitychildcarematters.org

Contra Costa's Quality Rating and Improvement system is focused on nurturing and promoting a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) mindset among early care and education providers with an emphasis on three main categories:

  1. Child Development and School Readiness

  2. Teachers and Teaching

  3. Program and Environment

There are more than 100 licensed childcare programs in Contra Costa County participating in the Quality Matters Initiative. In a QRIS system, childcare programs are rated and earn points for various elements of quality, such as teacher-child ratios, teacher qualifications, the program's environment and activities, and teacher-child interactions.

Most of the sites participating in the Quality Matters Initiative are located in low-income communities or serve children with high needs, a priority of the grants provided. Ratings will be published to the public. Expanding QRIS to all licensed childcare programs is a priority at the statewide level and will require significant state or federal funding.

Quality Rating and Improvement System Initiative

During the past three decades of documented brain research, our nation validated the importance of early experiences in determining life and school success for all children, especially for those children who live in poverty and are impacted by allied risk factors. Based on this newly understood importance of early childhood education, we as a nation are focused on developing, piloting and sustaining comprehensive and equitable infrastructures to improve quality of early care and education programs. Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Model is one system framework that embraces this mission at the state-level. 

National Trends

Previously, the U.S. Department of Education launched Race-to-the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants (RTT-ELC Grant) convinced by the benefits of investing in early care and education to improve learning outcomes for children. U.S. Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan stated:

“A strong education opens doors to opportunity — and all children with dreams and determination should have the chance to reach their full potential. With this recognition, in 2009, President Obama and I announced a Race to the Top for American education. The program offered unprecedented resources — $4 billion — to states that committed to reshaping their education systems and ensuring every student would graduate college- and career-ready, regardless of disability, race, zip code or family income.”

Fundamental Change: Innovation in America's Schools Under Race to the Top
---November 2015 (PDF)

“The good news is that high-quality early learning and care programs with effective educators can improve children's readiness and school success, with higher test scores, better attendance, less grade retention and long-term benefits in school completion and lifetime earnings.”

---Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee 1010 Report


Title Name (click to email) Phone FAX
Manager, Educational Services/LPC Coordinator Denise Clarke (925) 942-3322 (925) 942-3480
ECE Project Specialist Elizabeth Lopez (925) 942-5331 (925) 942-3480
ECE Projects, Administrative Assistant II Vacant (925) 942-5313 (925) 942-3480
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