Improving Access to High-Quality Learning Environments in Georgia

Bentley Ponder, deputy commissioner for the quality innovations and partnerships division at Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, highlights a critical tool that aims to improve early childhood education in Georgia by ensuring children have access to high-quality learning environments: Quality Rated.

Positive learning climate is reflected in the standards of Quality Rated, Georgia’s tiered quality rating and improvement system. Based on a rigorous process, Quality Rated awards child care programs with a 1-, 2-, or 3-star rating to help families find programs that meet or exceed a set of defined standards.

“Quality Rated takes in the complexity of quality—which is not easy to measure or achieve—while also simultaneously simplifying it,” said Ponder. “As Quality Rated has grown, it’s become a framework for innovation. We’ve been able to try new things, plan new pilots, and assess how we use this system to elevate and raise quality.”

Next steps include implementing new reports for programs that have completed the process to promote a continued push to raise quality, piloting a language and literacy endorsement, and working toward a goal that all children who are receiving subsidies will be in a Quality Rated program by the end of 2020.

Get the full recap of the Beyond 2020 Get Georgia Reading Summit that brought together a unique cross-section of community leaders and statewide decision-makers to stimulate innovative, scalable solutions that will create the conditions essential for all children to become proficient readers by the end of third grade.

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