By Victoria Ward, Associate Director for ECE Program Quality
I am pleased to share new components of SPARQS are rolling out:
First, we are holding a CLassroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) training series in January. These trainings with Nikki Bearor will help familiarize you with this tool used by SPARQS assessors. Each training includes 1.5 professional development hours. See below or click here for dates and times and to register.
Second, VTAEYC is preparing to launch coaching in advance of rolling out this core component of SPARQS in early 2024. We’re testing our systems now. Coaching will be available to all registered early childhood education programs through VTAEYC and to registered afterschool programs through Vermont Afterschool.
You can also access self-directed resources at any time through sharedservicesvt.org.
We’re also excited to offer a SPARQS Overview at 1 PM on January 10, 2024. This webinar is an opportunity to learn about SPARQS and ask questions. You will also learn which Quality Support Specialist is serving your region! (To meet all the Quality Support Specialists, see their greetings here).
And a final reminder: We’re continuing to schedule scored and unscored program assessments. While SPARQS and STARS are different and are administered by different agencies, the scored assessments are where they intersect. While the CDD pilots the STARS revision (through June 30, 2024) participating programs will keep their same STARS level, so scored assessments provide an opportunity to learn about the process and will not impact your STARS.
Wondering what an assessment is like? An ECE program that recently had an assessment offered this feedback: There were certainly nerves as the assessment began but our assessor quickly worked to create a level of comfort and ease throughout the entire process. Our assessor was very transparent about the overall process, the explanations behind various parts of the assessment, and the next steps following the assessment.
Introduction To CLASS Training Series
Register for a training
Download the flyer
Caring for children goes beyond only meeting their physical needs. Current developmental theory confirms that nurturing relationships and responsive interactions are the quality markers of effective learning environments. During each training, we will explore the CLassroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) tool to better understand how we can make more meaningful connections. Participants will examine specific CLASS domains, dimensions, and indicators, explore simple ways to incorporate learning interactions throughout the day, and discuss practices that foster positive growth and development.
Trainer: Nikki Bearor
Sat. January 20: 9:00-10:30 AM
Weds. January 24: 6:00-7:30 PM
Weds. January 31: 6:00-7:30 PM
Sat. February 3: 9:00-10:30 AM
Register for the SPARQS Overview Webinar
Register for the SPARQS Overview Webinar
Weds., January 10, 2024
The SPARQS Overview webinar will help attendees gain an understanding of the System for Program Access to Resources for Quality Supports (SPARQS). By the end of the training participants will be able to identify the mission of SPARQS as well as its three main components; Coaching and Support Services, Assessments and the Vermont Early Childhood Networks. Attendees will learn who the dedicated Quality Support Specialist is for their region and have a chance to ask questions about the program as a whole.
Prepare for Coaching and Quality Supports
Our Quality Support Specialists are testing our coaching systems to get this component ready to support early childhood education programs statewide in early 2024.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can familiarize yourself with SPARQS:
- Attend the SPARQS Overview Webinar to gain a solid understanding of this new system and learn which Quality Support Specialist is serving your region
- View Quality Support Specialists’ greetings to programs
- Access self-directed program resources via sharedservicesvt.org
Vermont Afterschool coaches are ready now to support afterschool programs: Request coaching from Vermont Afterschool
Schedule a Program Assessment
Schedule a program assessment through the SPARQS portal
All registered early childhood education programs and afterschool programs can schedule STARS program assessments through the SPARQS portal. Scored and unscored assessments are both available. These assessments will help you become familiar with the CLASS assessment tool and develop a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plan.
Programs will remain at the same STARS level during the pilot revision year (through June 30, 2024), so scored assessments will have no impact on your STARS level.
Keep in mind:
- Assessments are scheduled based on a priority rubric. Programs with the closest renewal dates and the greatest need are scheduled first. This is aligned with SPARQS’ commitment to equity.
- SPARQS and STARS are different. Visit our SPARQS webpage here. Visit the Child Development Division’s STARS page here.
Remember, VTAEYC will communicate as we phase in each component. Subscribe to make sure you get all SPARQS updates