SPARQS Update: Responding to Programs’ Trends and Needs

By Victoria Ward

Dear colleagues,

Our SPARQS team has a few months of experience working with Vermont early childhood education programs on assessments, as well as providing coaching and other quality supports. Now we can look across our data for trends — and we can adapt to respond to those trends.

Here’s an example: Nationally, programs tend to score lower on instructional support. Overall, assessments show that trend is mirrored here in Vermont. So, that’s a skill we need to build, too. Our Quality Support Specialists are getting additional training in coaching programs on instructional support.

It’s all about being responsive: supporting programs with what you need, when you need it.

This spring sees us launch our Community of Practice — a four-session CoP we are hosting with the CDD — and we are preparing to implement our new strategic plan for Vermont Early Childhood Networks (VECNs). We’re excited to start a new monthly update just for VECN members, leaders, and interested folks. Keep scrolling to learn more!

Remember, the SPARQS team is eager to take your coaching, quality support, and assessment requests. You can request all of these through the portal on For informal questions, any early childhood educator in Vermont can ask the SPARQS team a question via our “warm line” and receive a response within three business days.

Please invite others in your teaching communities to stay involved by visiting our website and subscribing to this newsletter.

New: Updates for
Vermont Early Childhood Networks (VECNs)

As we begin implementing our new VECN strategic plan, we are pleased to launch a monthly update newsletter just for VECNs! This monthly update is packed with info specifically for network leaders, members, and anyone interested in joining a Vermont Early Childhood Network. Network participation is open to all early childhood educators, inclusive of all settings (home, center, and school-based).

VECN members will receive a separate announcement, and may also subscribe below:

Subscribe to VECN updates here

Last month, SPARQS presented the new strategic plan for Vermont Early Childhood Networks to VECN members, leaders, and anyone interested in joining a network. We shared the strategic plan, talked about implementation steps, and collected questions. You can watch the recording here:

Access the SPARQS Portal

All registered early childhood education programs can request coaching and quality supports through the SPARQS portal. All registered early childhood education programs and afterschool programs can schedule STARS program assessments through the SPARQS portal.


Attend CDD STARS Office Hours

12:30-1:30 PM

The STARS team at the Child Development Division holds regular office hours on Thursdays via Microsoft Teams. Drop in with your STARS questions! The link is on the CDD STARS page:


Community of Practice:
STARS CQI Planning and Application Support for Family Home and Center Based Programs

Now beginning May 22

Join the STARS CQI Community of Practice to work together with peers, SPARQS coaches, and CDD team members in developing your program’s STARS Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) application.  Participants will complete a STARS-approvable CQI Plan for their desired STARS level over four monthly sessions. Registrants are required to attend all sessions.

May 22, 2024, 5pm – 7pm
June 15, 2024, 10am – 1pm
July 10, 2024, 5pm – 7pm
August 10, 2024, 10am – 1pm

Register via Northern Lights

Find Your Resource

SPARQS involves partnership from the Child Development Division, Vermont Afterschool, and Shared Services VT. The bottom three links send you to one of our resource partners.


Subscribe Me For SPARQS Updates

SPARQS Portal: Request Coaching, Quality Supports, and Scored or Unscored Program Assessments

Access Self-Directed Resources From Shared Services
Request Coaching From Vermont Afterschool
Visit the Child Development Division’s STARS page

If you are still not sure what you need, email the SPARQS warm line.