Explaining the Changes to Step Up to Quality

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Starting July 1, the signs outside Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) rated child care businesses will no longer feature stars (although, they really are the stars when it comes to child care).

Instead, quality rating banners will feature Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. This rating system change is being made throughout Ohio.

With any change, comes many questions. What does this mean for programs that are already rated? What do new programs have to do? How will this benefit children and families?

What is Step Up To Quality?

This rating and improvement system was previously administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The newly minted   is now overseeing SUTQ and the migration to the new rating system. The system will continue to recognize programs that exceed licensing requirements by meeting quality standards in learning and development.

Child care programs were previously rated from one to five stars, depending on the standards they met. For example, one-star programs were required to have teachers complete 20 hours of specialized training every two years, be familiar with Ohio’s Early Learning Development Standards (ELDS), focus on building relationships with families and be committed to continuous improvement.

In comparison, five-star programs were required to have lower classroom ratios, higher education qualifications for staff, lesson plans for each child, assessments to evaluate and improve learning experiences and value families and the community.

Rating Conversion Process

Programs that are currently SUTQ rated will automatically be switched to the new system starting July 1. Those that are currently:

  • One- or two-star programs become Bronze.
  • Three-star programs become Silver.
  • Four- and five-star programs become Gold.

Programs that are rated Silver and Gold are highly rated. Child care programs that are pursuing new quality ratings can apply beginning on July 7.

Learning and Development Changes

Programs at all levels are required to implement a curriculum aligned with ELDS. This includes classroom screenings and self-assessments. With these new requirements, programs that are currently SUTQ rated will have a year to make changes to keep their ratings. Quality Programs Strategic Director Andrew Brzezinski says 4C for Children is here to help in any way possible.

“We’re ready to provide support to align the new standards and to help programs continue providing quality care,” says Brzezinski. “We are developing provider networks to help communicate any additional updates and will continue to offer coaching and training opportunities to help providers navigate these changes.”

Family Updates

It is important for families to keep in mind that any program with a SUTQ rating is going above and beyond licensing standards.

“Through the SUTQ system, the state is continuing its commitment to providing quality education to our youngest learners,” Brzezinski adds. “Parents bringing their children to any rated program can be confident that their child will be learning from a curriculum that is preparing them for a brighter future.”

If you are a child care provider and have questions about implementing new standards, please email [email protected].

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