SPARQS Update: Let’s Rise Because We Can

By Victoria Ward

Dear colleagues,

I’m pleased to announce the SPARQS team is expanding. VTAEYC is hiring specialists for our Quality Support and Program Assessment teams to keep up with programs’ requests and cut down on wait times. See the job descriptions here.

Last month, I mentioned that we’re strengthening our coaching around instructional support. This is SPARQS responding to data trends, but it’s more than that: this is an opportunity to move the needle on a national metric.

Vermont scores higher than the national average in instructional support, but it is not our strongest domain. We also know skills in this domain are trainable: people who receive training and coaching can and do improve. So we are strategically leaning into our coaching because the data indicate coaching will lead to greater proficiency in instructional support. We said, let’s rise because we can.

That is quality improvement! And when we measure our impact, we’ll be able to share our approach with other states and systems.

This is an example of the power of the CLASS (CLassroom Assessment Scoring System) tool we use for assessments and to identify trends in data. Far from being an intimidating checklist, CLASS is built to support. And CLASS trainings are appropriate for every early childhood educator! Learn more about CLASS on our new webpage, where you can access introduction videos by our own SPARQS team members.

I want to end on one important note. We focus on continuous quality improvement, but that isn’t about looking for flaws to fix. Support is all about recognizing strengths, celebrating them, reinforcing them, building on them. Talk to programs that have interacted with our Quality Support Specialists and Program Assessors. Support feels good!

There are just a couple of spots left in our Community of Practice co-hosted with the CDD, and we’re subscribing folks now for updates just for Vermont Early Childhood Networks. Scroll down for more.

Remember, the SPARQS team is here to support you. Request what you need through the portal on

New: Updates for
Vermont Early Childhood Networks (VECNs)

Subscribe to our 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).

There are two goals for the VECN Newsletter:

1. To support network leaders by making it easier for all network members to access system-level news, updates, and resources.

2. To share the fun, innovative, and exciting things networks are doing with partner networks!

Subscribe to VECN updates here

All About CLASS on the VTAEYC Website

CLASS is an acronym of Teachstone’s observation tool, the CLassroom Assessment Scoring System®. It measures what matters most to children’s learning and development: interactions among educators and children.

But CLASS is more than a measurement tool. It also provides a specific descriptions of impactful educator-child interactions, based on research. These descriptions are a shared language for educators to use as they improve their practice. With CLASS at the center of continuous quality improvement, educators can focus on the interactions that impact children most.

Learn More at

Wellness Institute for Family Child Care Homes

Saturday, June 22
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Capitol Plaza, Montpelier

You asked, we listened! We are excited to offer the 2024 Wellness Institute for Family Child Care Home owners and their staff. Please join us for an exciting day full of professional development, self-care giveaways, and connection and rejuvenation with your peers.

Learn More and Register for the Wellness Institute

*Just a few spaces left!* 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.

STARS questions? The STARS team at the Child Development Division holds regular office hours on Thursdays between 12:30-1:30 PM via Microsoft Teams. Access the STARS page for the link.