Best Beginnings STARS to Quality is a quality rating improvement system that is currently in a field test. Because the program is being field tested, the ECSB is not able to bring programs on one at a time. Please check back to this website or with your local CCR&R office occasionally, as information will be updated and posted as to when we will be able to allow more providers in to the field test.
Best Beginnings STARS to Quality
Field Test Plan
Welcome to the Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program - a continuous quality improvement program for early childhood education in Montana!
Early childhood stakeholders have developed their vision for quality early childhood education in Montana and have identified a new approach to investing in and ensuring strong quality outcomes for children. Stakeholders include:
Montana Early Childhood Advisory Council
Montana Child Care Resource & Referral Network Agencies
Montana Child Care Association
Montana Association for the Education of Young Children
Child Care Providers across the State
Montana Head Start Association
Early Childhood Services Bureau
Head Start State Collaboration Office
Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems
Montana Early Childhood Project
Child and Adult Care Food Program
Child Care Licensing
The Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program is a voluntary quality rating improvement system that aligns quality indicators with support and incentives for early childhood programs and early childhood professionals. The Early Childhood Services Bureau has enjoyed watching the program grow and develop with the input from the various stakeholders, and has listened carefully to early childhood professionals, parents, and national experts to provide a strong program, desired by many. In May 2012, at a STARS event for directors, there was a unanimous vote to extend the field test. The Early Childhood Services Bureau received additional unexpected funding in early 2013 which allowed for the planning and implementation of a Phase II for the field test. In March 2013, up to 30 programs will be selected by application process into Phase II of the field test. There have been updates to both the center matrix and the family/group matrix for Phase II. All changes and updates came about directly from provider and coach feedback, as well as information and data gathered by ECSB.
About the Program
About the Field Test
Support for STARS programs
Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Incentives
Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Matrix and Criteria
FAQs & What's New with STARS
The quality rating improvement system for Montana has several arms:
1) Workforce Development
2) Quality Rating Improvement System
3) Infrastructure to administer the programs, provide training , coaching, and technical assistance, and to validate the STARS system
- 5 STAR System
- Research based criteria
- Workforce support through the Montana Early Care and Education Career Path, encouraging professional development along a continuum of training
- Maintaining quality over time
- Renewal based on validation of Level and program improvement plan
- Monetary Incentives for continual program improvement
- Monetary Incentives based on Level achieved
- Resources, assistance, and support to move through the levels provided by Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the Early Childhood Project, and other state determined resources.
- Program Assessment Tools are incorporated including:
- Environment Rating Scales
- Program and Business Administration Scales
The above scales are administered by contracted STARS assessors.
- Pyramid Model: The Preschool Observation tool (TPOT) and The Pyramid Infant Toddler Observation Scale (TPITOS).
These scales are used as part of the coaching experience for programs implementing the Pyramid Model.
- If a program moves down a level, the incentives decrease.
- Local Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies are the point of entry for the STARS system.
Why a field test?
To allow for time to try the program out
To work through challenges
To conduct an evaluation of the program related to effectiveness and outcomes
To maximize limited funding
To gain valuable information to assist in securing new funds for the program to work in its entirety, especially related to incentives
To ensure fairness, geographical representation, and facility type representation
Field Test Specifics: In 2010 at the beginning of the field test, there were 125 slots statewide available for participation in the field test and applications were accepted until June 1, 2010. Of the 125 slots, 72 slots were available for incentives and 53 were available for programs choosing to participate without incentives but would still benefit from the infrastructure coaching, technical assistance, and training. For Phase II, applications were available on the website January 31, 2013 and are due back to the address listed by February 20, 2013.
Criteria must be met to participate in the program, and to move through the STARS system. Any State of Montana child care provider that has a regular license or registration, a regular state licensed Early Head Start or Head Start program, or a tribal program that is state licensed or registered, or has a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) requested by the tribe that can show the equivalent to Montana license or registration standards are met, may be eligible. Tribal programs may also demonstrate that they are in the process of pursuing a formal MOU with the State. To pursue an MOU, please contact the Quality Assurance Division.
Providers must have been in business and licensed/registered in Montana as described above for one full year. A provider cannot participate in STARS if 1) they are on the National Disqualified List for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, 2) they have a negative licensing action, or 3) they or anyone related to the business have had three strikes in the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship program due to fraud. Providers with licensing deficiencies on their last licensing inspection will be subject to further review by Department staff to determine the severity and resolution of the deficiencies in relation to participation in the STARS program.
Resources and support through coaching, technical assistance and training, and STAR kits will be available for all enrolled in the STARS Program.
How the Original Field Test Selection Process Worked
Eligibility for incentives is limited and selected through the following process.
There are 4 assigned quadrants to divide the State which are:
- Missoula/Kalispell Region
- Bozeman/Butte/Helena Region
- Great Falls/Havre/Lewistown Region
- Billings/Glasgow/Glendive/Miles City Region
Selection for original field test sites receiving STARS incentives (not including workforce incentives):
It was anticipated that there were approximately 72 slots available for eligibility to participate in the STARS program AND receive incentives.
18 early childhood programs representing centers, group homes, and family child care homes were selected for each quadrant using the following guidelines:
- 9 programs (50%) were selected from providers eligible under the previous Stars program, in which a provider was a 1 or 2 star provider. Priority was given to programs with the highest number of children receiving Best Beginnings Scholarships and also taken into account equal representation of family, group, and center.
- 9 programs (50%) were selected from the general population of providers interested in participating in the Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program, and again equal representation of family, group, and center, but were randomly selected once initial criteria had been met. Providers included in the first pool of previous Star providers, were not considered in this random selection.
Selection for original field test sites not receiving STARS incentives but still participating:
During the development of STARS we also heard from providers that they were interested in participating in the program even if they were not eligible for incentives. For the original field test, we anticipated serving 53 programs in this category. Selection for this group of programs
13 programs from each quadrant were selected from the general population of providers, representing centers, group, and family child care homes, and were randomly selected once initial criteria had been met. Providers who were not selected for incentives were eligible to participate and were considered in this group if they preferred.
In the event that we did not have enough interested or qualified applicants in one of the groups listed above, the following steps would be taken in order:
- Reallocate among the quadrant first if at all possible.
- Of the group who is not receiving incentives, they would have the chance to be considered for incentives.
- If there remain open slots in each quadrant, recruitment will occur within the quadrant to provide for fairness in quadrant representation.
- If there still remains open slots in each quadrant, space will become available in the other quadrants and we will follow the protocol in order as described above, meaning we would first look at incentive criteria, and then non-incentive criteria.
How the Phase II Selection Process Will Work
The selection process for Phase II will be a random selection. Geographical area may be a determining factor based on the case load that the particular CCR&R agency is able to take on for STARS. All programs selected for Phase II will be eligible to receive incentives. Statewide representation will be the goal, but may not be even due to the low number of programs being accepted for Phase II.
MT has Assessors who are trained and reliable in the following scales:
- Environment Rating Scales
- Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-R (ECERS-R)
- Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-R (ITERS-R)
- Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-R (FCCERS-R)
- Program/Business Rating Scales
- Program Administration Scale (PAS) – Centers
- Business Administration Scale (BAS) – Family/Group
Assessors understand the importance of fairness, and were selected through an application and interview process, and could demonstrate availability and limited conflicts of interest. Assessments occur at STAR 3, STAR 4, and STAR 5 at each occurrence and annually.
For Montana specific notes for the appropriate Environment Rating Scale, Program Administration scale or Business Administration Scale, please contact your coach.
The Early Childhood Services Bureau recognizes the following businesses who are independently supporting
Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Field Test Participants!
If you are a STARS to Quality Participant,
please contact your STARS coach for more information.
Customer Service Team
The State of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Early Childhood Services Bureau does not endorse particular vendors, these vendors have provided this opportunity to Best Beginnings STARS to Quality participants independently as a means of supporting high quality early care and education for young children.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
The CACFP is federally funded by the Food and Nutrition Services of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Department of Public Health and Human Services/Human & Community Services Division/Early Childhood Services Bureau is the State agency which administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program in Montana. The State agency:
- Provides consultative, technical and managerial personnel to administer the program in the state
- Provides sufficient training and technical assistance to institutions
- Monitors program performance
- Facilitates the expansion of the program
- Ensures effective operation of the program by participating institutions
For more information go to http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/hcsd/childcare/cacfp/index.shtml.
Programs will have available a coach through their local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. The coach is available to assist programs in quality improvement planning, action planning, understanding the STARS program criteria and steps involved, and will be there to work with the program to meet individual program goals as the program requests. It will be up to programs to contact their coach after the initial visit in which the coach will set up to come to the program and meet the director and staff as well as deliver materials for STARS. Programs may work with their coach as much or as little as they feel they need the coach. It is the coaches responsibility to upload documentation and submit STAR level applications, but this should be done in partnership with the program director.
Programs will receive STAR Kits from their coaches to assist in understanding and preparing for the criteria at each STAR level. Resources, samples, and tools are provided as part of the STAR Kits to support coaching needs, program improvement needs and tracking or monitoring of progress.
Coaches are trained in the Pyramid Model and will provide training related to implementation of the Pyramid model and also coaching to support a program’s approach to implementing social emotional supports. Additionally, Christy Hill-Larson serves as the statewide Pyramid Model coordinator.
Statewide Health Consultation Coordination
A statewide health consultation coordinator, Shelly Meyer, is available to assist coaches as child care health advocates and programs in meeting the criteria related to health and wellness throughout the STARS program. This coordinator will also monitor, update, and provide health related training and curricula as described in STARS.
NAFCC Accreditation Mentoring
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies will be available statewide to coordinate mentoring to programs pursuing NAFCC accreditation.
Workforce Support and Incentives, Professional Development
The two connected charts indicate the resources available to enrolled programs (STARS incentives) or individuals (WORKFORCE incentives).
STARS incentives are available to programs in two forms:
1) quarterly quality improvement awards
2) tiered reimbursement percent increases (above standard state reimbursement rates) for those facilities choosing to serve Best Beginnings Scholarship families.
STARS Incentives (Quarterly)
Beginner STAR Kit, Resources, Help and Support
5% increased reimbursement for Best Beginnings Scholarships
10% increased reimbursement for Best Beginnings Scholarships
15% increased reimbursement for Best Beginnings Scholarships
20% increased reimbursement for Best Beginnings Scholarships
STARS incentives are to be used for continuous quality improvement, staff support and salaries, professional development, equipment, etc. Purchases and investments are meant to assist a program in moving to the next level, maintaining the STAR level achieved and increasing quality. STARS incentives must be used in accord with an approved quality improvement plan. STARS incentives may not be used for construction.
WORKFORCE incentives are available in a variety of forms and are not tied directly to the Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program, and have separate eligibility criteria.
All incentives for the Best Beginnings STARS to Quality System, including STARS incentives and workforce incentives, are subject to eligibility requirements as outlined in policy and are dependent on funding.
Criteria are built for the potential of maximum early care and education participants, field test qualifications related to licensure and equivalents may differ than described in the text of the document. Additionally in the case of large centers and different organizational structures, it may be appropriate for the person meeting Director qualifications under the State of Montana licensing requirements and serving as an Education Coordinator/Manager, or Assistant Director, etc. to meet the criteria mentioned throughout the matrix for the Director.
Criteria are built for the potential of maximum early care and education participants, field test qualifications related to licensure and equivalents may differ than described in the text of the document.
NEW FAQs/Updates will be posted directly to the category that they fit in. Please make sure to go through all of the FAQ’s when checking this page for updates.
Why A Field Test?
- To allow for time to try the program out
- To work through challenges
- To conduct an evaluation of the program related to effectiveness and outcomes
- To maximize limited funding
- To gain valuable information to assist in securing new funds for the program to work in its entirety, especially related to incentives
- To ensure fairness, geographical representation, and facility type representation
Q: What happens with coaching if a program is placed on hold for any reason?
A: Programs participating in STARS can be put on "Hold Status" at any time for the following reasons; program is working towards meeting required criteria, an appeal in progress, significant program changes or staff changes, pending action from licensing, or at the request of the program. If a program is on hold for any reason, this does not mean that the coaching relationship ends. The program can still request assistance from their coach to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. The coaching visits may look different depending on the nature of the hold status, but it is important for the program to know that the coach can continues working with the program.
Q: If I do not meet the score required for a STAR level, what is the process for a 2nd assessment?
A: Depending on the indicators not met, a follow-up assessment may be scheduled soon after your initial assessment, or it may be scheduled for longer (meaning going to the next quarter or additional quarters) to allow the program time to work on the indicators that were not met. This will be determined on a case by case basis. In situations such as these, ECSB will compare the initial baseline score for a first assessment at STAR 3, and subsequent assessments for higher levels, to assist in determining whether a 2nd assessment will be allowed, and what the time line for a follow up assessment may be. Follow up assessments will also be dependent on the assessors’ availability.
Q: If a provider gets an assessment score required for a higher level than they are applying for, do they have to have an assessment at that higher level.
A: *ERS* – all ERS assessments (ECERS-R; ITERS-R; FCCERS-R) must occur each time at STAR level 3-5, regardless of previous scores met (i.e. if the score for STAR 3 meets the criteria for STAR 4, the assessment must still occur at STAR 4).
*BAS/PAS* – must occur each time at STAR levels 3-5, unless a prior rating score meets the criteria of a higher STAR level (i.e. if the score for STAR 3 meets the criteria for STAR 4). In those cases the program would not be required to have a new BAS/PAS assessment when applying for a higher STAR level within that calendar year, unless there have been significant programmatic or staff changes.
Q: What is the process for having an assessor come to my
A: Keep in mind that the time from when the assessment is scheduled to the time you get your summary report will be a lengthy process. It is important to plan ahead. You may request your assessment only once you have met all the other criteria for STAR Level 3, 4, or 5, depending on what level you are working toward. Your STARS coach will need to verify that you have met all the criteria then they will let ECSB know that you are ready for an assessment. Once your assessment is complete you may apply for STAR Level 3, 4, or 5 only if your assessment results meet the average facility score defined in the criteria and you have met all other criteria. Quality Improvement Plans and budgets should reflect your assessment summary results. If a program cancels their assessment for any reason, there is not a guarantee that the assessment can take place in time for the application due date. If the score needed for that particular level is not met, a program can request another assessment. Depending on the indicators not met, that assessment may be scheduled soon after your initial assessment, or it may be scheduled for longer to allow the program time to work on the indicators that were not met. This will be determined on a case by case basis.
Q: What is the Quality Improvement Plan supposed to look like?
A: The intention of the Quality Improvement Plan is to support providers as they plan to advance to the next STAR level, or to maintain a STAR level. The Quality Improvement Plan is informed by the various tools such as ERS, PAS/BAS, The Knowledge Base, individual professional development plans, or STARS criteria. There is a Quality Improvement Plan form in the STAR kit, or your coach has access to the form. Only the approved Quality Improvement Plan form template will be accepted.
Q:If I change my licensing status, can I still participate in STARS?
A: A change in category will not indicate forfeiture, as long as the provider wants to remain in the program and participate, meeting expectations for the appropriate category of licensure.
Q:If I sell my program, can the program still participate in STARS?
A: The following must occur for STARS programs which are being sold:
- A written request must be sent to the STARS Program Specialists, who will make a determination of whether the program will be allowed to remain in STARS.
- This request must provide assurances that all STARS criteria will be met and/or maintained.
- The STARS Program Specialists will respond in writing within 30 business days of the written request from the provider giving a determination on whether participation in the field test will be allowed to continue or not.
- QAD must be contacted, as ownership changes require a change in the PV#.
- A provisional license will be issued, which will not affect quarterly incentives, but could potentially have an impact on scholarship bonuses as these cannot be paid out to a program holding a provisional license. Scholarship bonuses are also affected by the timing within the quarter when licenses are updated and payment schedules in CCUBS. Scholarship bonuses are not retro-active. If a program has changed ownership & is holding a provisional license at the time payment is to be made or the license change within the quarter (or next) is not timed with payments, the program assumes responsibility for the loss of the scholarship bonus.
- New ownership also will mean a change in the EIN for tax purposes, so an accountant should be consulted. Neither ECSB nor QAD will answer tax related questions.
- A change in ownership may result in ECSB scheduling assessments to ensure program quality is being maintained. A change may also result in ECSB requesting further documentation of compliance with STARS criteria.
A: Yes. A new director will need to send in a training plan just like any other new hire within 30 days of their start date. QAD must also be informed as soon as possible in order to update licensing information. The new director will also need to update the Program Profile and Director of Record on the STARS Application and Approval site once QAD has updated the new director’s information. A change in director may result in ECSB scheduling assessments to ensure program quality is being maintained. A change may also result in ECSB requesting further documentation of compliance with STARS criteria.Q: If a program wants to stay at a certain level, do they have to reapply
and if so how often?
A: If a participant chooses to remain at a specific level, they will need to re-apply and submit all required documents for that level yearly. Assessments will also occur at STAR 3 and above annually.
Q: The matrix lists the Oral Health training as 1-hour, but the site says it is worth 2 hours. Which is correct?
A: The Oral Health training through the MT Oral Health program is approved for 2 hours.
Q: If there are technical problems with the Oral Health training through the MT Oral Health program, who do I contact?
A: Unfortunately, the Montana Oral Health program does not run the Training site. The training is provided via the TRAIN Nationalwebsite, www.train.org
Only the administrators of their site can offer help, so if you have any difficulties navigating the site, please click on “Help” from their website https://www.train.org/DesktopShell.aspx?tabId=6
When you reach the “Help” page, you will see numerous self-help offerings including: FAQs, System Requirements, and Test your Environment. If you still need help there is a “Contacts” button which will give you the email of a site Administrator (email@example.com)who you may contact with any questions regarding the site.
Q: I hold a license for infants, but do not take any infants in my
program. Do I still have to take the Safe Sleep training?
A:Yes. If you are licensed to serve infants you will need to take trainings that are required for that age group. If you plan to never take a child under 24 months old you could also change your license to exclude infants.
Q: I have copies of my stars training certificates from another state. Will these trainings count towards my STARS in MT?
A: No, each STARS or QRIS program is different in every state. We want participants to know about the MT STARS program which is covered in the required STARS Readiness Training.
Q: Infants are considered what age for purposes of the Safe Sleep training?
A: The age consideration for infants related to Safe Sleep is 0-24 months.
Q: If I have a B.A. or are in school to obtain my B.A. degree in Early Childhood, do I still have to take Inclusion I & II?
A: Yes, Inclusion I & II still need to be taken unless proof of a college course specific to inclusive care has been successfully completed. College courses that embed inclusive practices do not qualify for this requirement.
Q:Will my college Serv Safe Food Safety and Microbiology Course be
sufficient for the Serv Safe training requirement?
A: If the ServSafe food safety is the same as provided through the MT Extension offices or your local health department it can count. Thy syllabus would need to be reviewed to ensure that the material is the same.
Q: Who is required to take the Medication Administration 1 and 2 courses?
A: All primary caregivers must take Medication Administration 1 and 2 if medication is administered in the program. Non-primary caregivers may administer ONLY non-ingestible OTC medications (such as sun screen and diaper rash cream) if they do not take the courses. If non-primary caregivers administer prescription medication, then they are required to take the course. Primary caregivers will be responsible for making sure that the required consent (Non-Ingestible Over-the-Counter Medication Authorization Form) is on file for each child and that these medications are stored properly and are available (as provided by the parent and stored by the program) for use by a non-primary caregiver.
Individuals who take Medication Administration will be required to take a refresher course every 3 years.
If an employee is a parent of a child enrolled in a program, and has not taken the Medication Administration, they are allowed to administer medication only to their own child. Appropriate licensing regulations such as: have a signed authorization on file, medication in a container with the prescription label or directions for use (for OTC’s), record giving the medication on the Medication Administration Log (signed by the administering parent), and a Special Needs Health Care Plan on file for the child, when appropriate, should be followed.
If a program does not administer medications, at least the Director must take the Medication Administration courses and a current copy of the policy signed by the Director must be uploaded to the Application and Approval site.
Q: For Preschool training, if a provider is enrolled in a program for college credit, can they be waived from the Preschool course?
A: If the program enrolled in results in achieving at least a Level 4 on the Career Path, it can be used as an equivalent to the Preschool Caregiver Course requirement. The coursework would need to be college based. To be considered “enrolled in” the program would have to be completed within a reasonable amount of time from the request to waive the class (no more than 2 years).
Q:For I/T Certification Course: If a facility serves ages 2 and up, are staff required to attend the I/T or the Preschool course if they are serving 2 & 3 year olds?
A: Programs need to consider the developmental levels of the children in their care. Developmental needs are individualized, and not all 2 year olds are alike. As a result, a program may want to consider sending some staff to the Infant Toddler course, and some staff to the Preschool course. The program would be expected to work with their coach to identify the best option for their program and then document the decision and justify why the decision was made. For Family & Group Home providers, both courses need to be taken. Consideration for which course is taken first could be based on the majority of the children in care currently. Family and group home providers will have up to one (1) year to complete the other course in order to maintain a STAR Level 3. This will need to be included in the provider’s Professional Development Plan, and turned in to ECSB with the required documents for STAR Level 3. ECSB will be tracking this to ensure the class is completed within one (1) year.
Q: Can providers pay the R&R to offer additional STARS courses, on top of what they already have scheduled?
A: This is a negotiation that can occur with individual R&R agencies. The state, of course, is interested in R&R’s providing services in the interest of all providers, and would expect R&R’s to consider this in their decision making about this option.
Q: How long will providers have to get new staff caught up to speed on requirements in order to maintain a current STAR level?
- Programs which are currently at a STAR 1 have a 6 month transition period from date of hire for new staff to fulfill STAR 1 criteria in order to keep their current STAR level.
- Programs which are currently at a STAR 2 have the 6 months from date of hire for new staff to fulfill STAR 1 criteria and 9 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 2 criteria (an additional 3 months beyond the 6 month requirement-not 9 additional months).
- Programs which are currently at a STAR 3 and above have: 6 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 1 criteria, 9 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 2 criteria, and 12 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 3 criteria (an additional 3 months beyond the 9 month requirement). Additionally for STAR 3, new staff must have completed or be enrolled in the required Infant/Toddler or Preschool Teacher Certification Course within 12 months of hire.
- Programs which are currently at STAR 4 have: 6 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 1 criteria, 9 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 2 criteria, 12 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 3 criteria, and 18 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 4 criteria.
- Programs which are currently at STAR 5 have: 6 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 1 criteria, 9 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 2 criteria, 12 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 3 criteria, and 18 months from date of hire to fulfill STAR 4 and STAR 5 criteria.
- All programs are required to submit a Training Plan for any new staff person within 30 days of hire. This training plan must be completed on the approved Training Plan form (which is on Share Point) and include a list of completion dates for all the required trainings for each STAR level the individual has achieved, as well as Practitioner Registry status.
ECSB recognizes that changes in staff for age groups being worked with happens frequently, especially in Center care. If a staff person begins working with a new age group, we will treat that change as a new employee and will need a training plan for that individual. For example: If a facility is at STAR 3 and one of their Preschool teachers moves out of Preschool to work with Infants/Toddlers, the following would need to happen as far as trainings for the facility to maintain their STAR level (trainings specific to I/T – it is assumed all other trainings are complete): within 6 months of moving to work with infants/toddlers, the Safe Sleep training for STAR 1 would need to be completed; within 1 year the individual needs to be either enrolled in or have completed the Infant Toddler Caregiver Education course (for Primary teachers) for STAR 3. Not following through on this training plan could result in the facility being placed on hold or potentially losing their STAR rating until the plan is fulfilled. The same process shall occur with role type changes as well.
Q: What is the master staff list that is a required document?
A: The staff list required by programs to send in with their STAR application is the Staff List that they turn in to Child Care Licensing.
Q:Can a Director/Owner waive the entry level training requirement
for STAR 2, and what does “related to the Knowledge Base” mean?
A: If an individual thinks the requirement should be waived for them, they need to write a rationale and provide documentation for why they think the requirements should be waived, and should consider using the MT Early Care & Education Knowledge Base to assist in their documentation/justification. This can be routed through the coach to the Early Childhood Services Bureau to approve/deny the waiver request.
Q:Can somebody other than the Director of Record take the
trainings that are required for a Director (i.e. Assistant Director in
charge of licensing take PAS)?
A: Yes, the person responsible for the education staff should take the classes related to the care of the children and the person responsible for administration of the program should attend the Program Administration Scales/Business Administration Scales training. It is ultimately the responsibility of the Director of Record to ensure that all criteria and quality indicators are met around these training requirements.
Q: Can someone receive Higher Ed Merit Pay and I/T or Preschool in the same year?
A: Yes; however, they cannot receive Higher Ed PDIA (formerly Merit Pay) and the IT or Preschool PDIA if they are taking them for the college coursework recorded in their application for Higher Ed PDIA.
Q: Can STARS providers apply for Mini Grants?
A: STARS participants are not eligible for mini grants during the field test.
Q: Is there a completion stipend and continuity of care stipend for the Preschool Caregiver Course?
A: The Preschool Caregiver Course includes a professional development incentive award for successful completion; however, there is no continuity of care stipend available. Please refer to the Workforce Incentives.
Q: How will I get my professional development needs paid for which are required in the STARS program?
A: Workforce Professional Development Incentives are available for individuals to apply to receive funds to support professional development. For STARS field test programs, once a STARS level is determined, programs may include professional development costs in their quality improvement plan and budget.
Q: How do I complete the columns on the Budget Spreadsheet?
A: First, make sure you are using a current form (check the date on the upper left hand side). The STARS budgets match the state fiscal year dates (June 30-July 1st). Second, complete the top portion of the form including; Director Name, Organization Name, Address, Contract #, and your Fiscal Agent’s information if a different individual than the Director. Thirdly, complete the date range (orange sections) of the form. 1Q is the first quarter that you will be receiving incentives in. 3Q is the date range of the following three quarters. Four full quarters must be represented in that date range.(Ex; 1Q: 1/1/13 to3/10/13 and 3Q: 4/1/13 to 12/31/13) Now you are ready to list your expenses. You must begin with 1Q and complete that quarter separately. Please do not change the line item descriptions. List all planned purchases with dollar amount on the most appropriate line items. The total for 1Q must equal the amount of one quarter’s incentives. The amount must not be under or over by any amount. Now you are ready to complete 3Q column. This column includes the planned purchases for the next three quarters and MUST total only the amount of three quarters worth of incentives. You will notice that the Total Budget column is calculating for you. Make sure that the Total in the Total Budget Column equals four quarters of incentives (not one penny more or less). Sign the form.
Q: Who is certified to train on the Pyramid Modules?
A: Currently, only those individuals who have taken the "Train the Trainer" training sponsored by the Early Childhood Services Bureau and the Early Childhood Project. Program directors or education coordinators/managers may not train their own staff.Q: Who is considered the "director" of a program for Pyramid Model training purposes?
- The person whose responsibilities include supervision of the educational services, guides curriculum and program planning, serves as a resource for education specialists and/or teachers and teacher assistants; analyzes data, completes reports, supervises classroom and other education staff. For example, a Head Start or Early Head Start Executive Director may not be the individual that manages and supervises the early care and education staff and program, that role may have the title of Education Manager or Director of Education.
- In addition DPHHS Licensing Requirements for Day Care Centers states that “Director” means the person designated on the center application or otherwise by written notice to the department as the person responsible for the daily operation of a day care center. A director is also responsible for implementing appropriate child development principles and knowledge of family relationships in providing daily care to the children cared for in the facility.
- Talk this over with your coach to determine which person in fits the description of “director” for Pyramid Model implementation.
- All education staff needs to take the 2-hour Module 3 Overview training for the age group they work with, if they are not taking the full Module 3 trainings. If staff members take the Module 3 trainings, they do not need to take the Module 3 Overview.
- The program will identify members of a Behavior Support team that will attend Module 3 training.
A: It is up to the local CCR&R to establish a policy about missing a session. It is the participant's responsibility to make a plan with the coach on how to complete the training.Q: What are the differences between an internal coach and external coach?
- An external coach is assigned to the program by ECSB to help the program with all STARS activities including Pyramid Model activities.
- An internal coach is identified by the program and external coach to assist the program in implementing the Pyramid Model
A: The program director will make this determination, and can work with their coach as well to make this determination.Q: Is the Pyramid Model training offered for college credit?
A: Pyramid Model trainings offered through the CCR&R agencies are not offered for college credit. All of the trainings are approved by the Early Childhood Project and many CCR&R agencies offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for the training.Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about Pyramid Model?
- First call your STARS Coach.
- Coaches should call the Pyramid Model State Coordinator.
- Implementation of the Pyramid Model will probably differ somewhat from program to program, as many programs and teachers may already have in place useful strategies to deal with challenging behaviors, but often early childhood settings need additional supports and the Pyramid Model is a systematic way of making certain that you have all of the right supports in place for staff, children and families.
- Director and staff will communicate with families about the Pyramid Model (Positive Solutions for Families can be used as a resource).
- An internal (on site) coach will be identified and job description will reflect the new duties.
- TPOT/TPITOS will be used as assessments and to guide coaching activities.
- 50% or more of the classrooms will work on implementing the Pyramid Model which first of all includes working toward nurturing and responsive relationships among classroom staff, administration, children and families and having in place a high quality supportive environment. Classroom staff begins to use what was learned in Pyramid Model training and putting it into practice; using Pyramid Model tools (i.e. Inventory of Practices, Benchmarks of Quality, scripted stories, Turtle Technique, visual cues, solutions cards, books to teach social emotional skills, etc.)as well as other appropriate resources. For a complete list of tools,resources, and strategies that support the Pyramid Model go to the www.vanderbilt.edu/csefel and to the TACSEI website www.challengingbehavior.org (the Teaching Tools for Young Children toolkit may be especially helpful).
A: Yes, Pyramid Model trainings must be taken in order as a series. The Pyramid Model training modules are based on the teaching Pyramid Model of promotion, prevention, and intervention and using evidence based strategies to support children's challenging behavior. Each level of the Pyramid provides the foundation for the next level which can prevent many problem behaviors in early childhood settings. You will need to work with your coach to determine if you need to take the Infant/Toddler Modules, Preschool Modules, or F/GH Modules. If you or someone in your program is not able to take a Module when it is offered in your area, look on the Early Childhood Projects statewide training calendar, it may be offered in a nearby community.Q: Do all staff have to take Module 3 (Infant and Toddler) or Module 3a and 3b (Preschool)?
A: No. At STAR 4, the criterion is for the Director and staff to complete an overview of Module 3. For Infant Toddler teachers/caregivers, Module 3 is 5 hour training. For Preschool teachers/caregivers, Module 3a is 6 hours and Module 3b is 6 hours, for a total of 12 hours. Programs and coaches will work together on developing a Behavior Support Team and help owner/directors determine the needs of the family or group home provider.
Programs participating in STARS can be put on "Hold Status" at anytime for the following reasons; program is working towards meeting required criteria, an appeal in progress, significant staff program or staff changes, pending action from licensing, or at the request of the program.
Those who are participating in this program are listed in the the chart below. Once the participant has achieved a level they will be moved to that list; if they have not achieved a level yet, then they will still be listed under participants.
Each level is listed in alphabetical order by the name of the facility
ABC123 (Group) - Roundup
A Child's Place (Group) - Havre
A Child's World (Center) - Great Falls*
A Joyful Noise (Group) - Columbia Falls*****
A Place to Grow Child Care (Group) - Bozeman*
Apple Dumpling Child Care (Group) - Bozeman *
A Small World Early Childhood Center (Center) - Billings
ASMSU (Center) - Bozeman**
ASUM Early Learning Center (Center) - Missoula*
ASUM Early Learning Center I (Center)- Missoula
AWARE Early Head Start (Center) - Butte**
Babies and Beyond (Group) - East Helena***
Building Block Child Care (Group) - Deer Lodge**
Busy Bee Child Care (Group) - Havre**
Clear Skies Child Care & Preschool (Group) - Whitefish*****
Community Day Care (Center) - Billings**
Constance Care Child Care (Center) - Plentywood***
Country Bumpkin Child Care (Group) - Anaconda*
Creative Horizons (Center) - Helena**
Creative Kids (Family) - Missoula**
Creative Playhouse (Group) - Missoula
Cuddle Bugs (Center) - Missoula
Curious Minds Early Care & Education (Center) - Dillon
Debbie's Daycare (Group) - Havre**
Diannie's Preschool (Group) - Butte**
Discovery Development Center (Center) - Kalispell****
Early Years Educational Center LLC (Group) - Missoula**
First Lutheran Preschool & Daycare (Center) - Havre
Friends 4-Ever (Group) - Choteau
Frog's Corner Daycare (Group) - Boulder
Fun and Fancy Free Learning Center (Center) - Polson**
FVCC Early Childhood Center (Center) - Kalispell***
Heritage Christian Early Learning Center (Center) - Bozeman**
HRDC Head Start Bozeman Center (Center) - Bozeman
Imagination Station (Group) - Missoula*
Isabel Means' Child Care & Preschool (Group) - Sidney
Jo's Little Rascals (Group) - Great Falls**
Katerpillar Korner (Group) - Helena***
Khristi's Family Day Care (Group) - Malta**
Kid Kountry Child Development Center (Center) - Billings***
Kids by Nature (Group) - Kalispell**
Kids World Child Enrichment Center (Center) - Billings
Kidz Konnection Childcare Center and Preschool (Center) - Butte**
Kim's Kiddie Korner (Group) - Conrad*
Kings Kids (Center) - Butte**
Kool Kids (Center) - Glendive** - on hold
Kountry Kare (Center) - Shepherd**
Kristi's Kiddie Korner (Group) - Whitehall*
Lil Explorers (Center) - Helena - on hold
Little Angel Daycare & Preschool (Center) - Helena
Little Bears Day Care (Group) - Bozeman**
Little Dippers (Family) - Missoula***
Little Folks University (Group) - Miles City**
Little Grins Daycare (Family) - Cut Bank
Little Light of Mine (Family) - Billings
Little People's Academy LLC (Center) - Bozeman** - on hold
Lolo Preschool & Childcare (Center) - Lolo
Manhattan Christian Academy (Center) - Manhattan**
Missoula Early Head Start (Center) - Missoula***
Missoula Parent Co-op (Center) - Missoula*
Munchkin Land (Group) - Billings
Ne Ne's Daycare (Family) - Billings**
New Frontier Learning Center LLC (Group) - Kalispell
Nici Mouse Play House (Group) - Missoula**
Nina's Daycare (Group) - Ballantine
Noah's Ark Childcare (Group) - Columbia Falls
Northern MT Child Development Center (Center) - Havre
Play N' Learn Day Care Inc Site 4 (Center) - Great Falls**
Quail Hollow (Center) - Bozeman*
Quail Hollow Cooperative Day School (Group) - Bozeman*
Ravalli Early Head Start (Center) - Hamilton
Rocky Mountain Development Council (Center) - Head Start - Helena***
Rocky Mountain Development Council (Center) - Preschool - Helena**
Salish-Kootenai College Child Care Center (Center) - Pablo**
School District #9 Early Care & Education Center (Center) - Browning
Small Wonder Child Care (Center) - Lewistown***
Small Wonders (Group) - Missoula***
Small World Daycare (Center) - Butte**
Small World Daycare and Preschool (Center) - Sidney**
Spanglish Kids (Group) - Helena**
Spirit at Play (Center) - Missoula**
Sprouts (Family) - Polson
St. Thomas Child and Family Center (Center) - Great Falls
Sugar and Spice Childcare (Group) - Cut Bank
Sweet Pea Child Care (Group) - Butte
Tammy's In Home Child Care (Family) - Great Falls**
Taylor Street Day Care (Family) - Missoula*
The Children's Center (Center) - Missoula*
The Next Best Thing Childcare & Preschool (Center) - Great Falls**
The Sunshine Academy (Center) - Laurel**
Tot Lot Child Care (Center) - Great Falls**
Trinity Lutheran Child Care Center (Center) - Kalispell**
University on Princeton (Group) - Butte**
Waddlers to Toddlers (Group) - Billings**
Wee Disciples (Center) - Great Falls
Yoder's Family Day Care (Family) - Missoula**
Young Explorers Childcare Center (Center) - Butte**
Young Families Early Head Start (Center) - Billings****
Young Parents' Education Center Toddler Center (Center) - Great Falls***
Zetterberg Child Care (Group) - Lolo***
Zion Lutheran PreSchool and Child Care (Group) - St. Ignatius**
A Child's World (Center) - Great Falls
A Place to Grow Child Care (Group) - Bozeman
Apple Dumpling Child Care (Group) - Bozeman
ASUM Early Learning Center (Center) - Missoula
Country Bumpkin Child Care (Group) - Anaconda
Imagination Station (Group) - Missoula
Missoula Parent Co-op (Center) - Missoula
Quail Hollow (Center) - Bozeman
Quail Hollow Cooperative Day School (Group) - Bozeman
Taylor Street Day Care (Family) - Missoula
The Next Best Thing Childcare & Preschool (Center) - Great Falls
The Children's Center (Center) - Missoula
ASMSU (Center) - Bozeman
AWARE Early Head Start (Center) - Butte
Building Block Child Care (Group) - Deer Lodge
Busy Bee Child Care (Group) - Havre
Community Day Care (Center) - Billings
Creative Kids (Family) - Missoula
Creative Horizons (Center) - Helena
Debbie's Daycare (Group) - Havre
Diannie's Preschool (Group) - Butte
Early Years Educational Center LLC (Group) - Missoula
Fun and Fancy Free Learning Center (Center) - Polson
Heritage Christian Early Learning Center (Center) - Bozeman
Jo's Little Rascals (Group) - Great Falls
Khristi's Family Day Care (Group) - Malta
Kids by Nature (Group) - Kalispell
Kidz Konnection Childcare Center and Preschool (Center)- Butte
Kim's Kiddie Korner (Group) – Conrad
Kings Kids (Center) - Butte
Kool Kids (Center) - Glendive - on hold
Kountry Kare (Center) - Shepherd
Kristi's Kiddie Korner (Group) – Whitehall
Little Bears Day Care (Group) - Bozeman
Little Folks University (Group) - Miles City
Little People's Academy LLC (Center) - Bozeman - on hold
Manhattan Christian Academy (Center) - Manhattan
Ne Ne's Daycare (Family) - Billings
Nici Mouse Play House (Group) - Missoula
Play N' Learn Day Care Inc Site 4 (Center) - Great Falls
Rocky Mountain Development Council (Center) - Preschool - Helena
Salish-Kootenai College Child Care Center (Center) - Pablo
Small World Daycare (Center) - Butte
Small World Daycare and Preschool (Center) - Sidney
Spanglish Kids (Group) – Helena
Spirit at Play (Center) - Missoula
Tammy's In Home Child Care (Family) - Great Falls
The Sunshine Academy (Center) - Laurel
Tot Lot Child Care (Center) - Great Falls
Trinity Lutheran Child Care Center (Center) - Kalispell
University on Princeton (Group) – Butte
Waddlers to Toddlers (Group) - Billings
Yoder's Family Day Care (Family) - Missoula
Young Explorers Childcare Center (Center) – Butte
Zion Lutheran PreSchool and Child Care (Group) - St. Ignatius
Babies and Beyond (Group) - East Helena
Constance Care Child Care (Center) - Plentywood
FVCC Early Childhood Center (Center) - Kalispell
Katerpillar Korner (Group) - Helena
Kid Kountry Child Development Center (Center) - Billings
Little Dippers (Family) - Missoula
Missoula Early Head Start (Center) - Missoula
Rocky Mountain Development Council (Center) - Head Start - Helena
Small Wonder Child Care (Center) - Lewistown
Small Wonders (Group) - Missoula
Young Parents' Education Center - Toddler Center (Center) - Great Falls
Zetterberg Child Care (Group) - Lolo
Discovery Development Center (Center) - Kalispell
Young Families Early Head Start (Center) - Billings
A Joyful Noise (Group) - Columbia Falls
Clear Skies Child Care & Preschool (Group) - Whitefish
For the purposes of STARS, Center Directors may not train their staff on the required STARS trainings, unless:
- They have attended a train the trainer event preparing them for serving as a trainer in a specific curriculum such as the Certified Infant Toddler Course and they are in contract through a CCR&R to provide this training in a community
- They have been contracted with by the state and participated in necessary reliability or certification training to provide statewide training.
- They are employed on a part time basis through the Child Care Resource & Referral Agency for purposes of offering training on their behalf.
- In all situations, the state must determine appropriateness of Director involvement in training implementation, and Director’s cannot train only their staff in a separate training for the purposes of STARS required courses; however, if staff members from a Director’s facility participate in a community/state training in which their Director is the trainer as described above, this is acceptable.
Training will be available to meet the various requirements for STARS. Training is conducted by a variety of entities and in a variety of ways. CCR&R’s can assist in linking providers to the training source.
- STARS Readiness Training- this training will be available via local Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies and is planned to be offered via www.ChildCareTraining.org as well.
- Emergency Preparedness – available through local Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies using the curriculum adopted from Maine, called YIKES. Each R&R will develop or coordinate this training with the outcome of the early childhood facility having an Emergency Preparedness Plan. The training is not required for STARS; however, having an Emergency Preparedness Plan is.
- Safe Sleep in Child Care - This course is available through www.ChildCareTraining.org (as of 2/25/13 it is no longer a 2-part course). This is the course that is required by Child Care Licensing.
- Medication Administration I Training- Medication Administration Training 1 is available through www.ChildCareTraining.org.
- Montana Mandatory Reporting training - This training is given by Child Care Licensors, and is available by contacting your local Resource and Referral agency, as well as online at www.ChildCareTraining.org.
- Immunization Training – This training is available at www.immunization.mt.gov and is required for staff responsible for reviewing immunization records. This course is not available for ECP credit as it is only 1 hour.
- Entry Level Training -BEST for Centers, Family, & Group homes is available through your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency.
- Program Administration Scales and Business Administration Scales training –These trainings will be available through the CCR&R.
- Medication Administration Training II- Medication Administration Training II is available through www.ChildCareTraining.org.
- Medication Administration Refresher must be taken every three (3) years after completion of I and II. This course is available at www.ChildCareTraining.org.
- Environment Rating Scale Training - This training is available at www.ChildCareTraining.org.
- Introduction to the Pyramid Model and MT Blended Module 1- These trainings are available at each Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. Introduction to the Pyramid Model is also available at www.ChildCareTraining.org.
- Certified Preschool Caregiver Training (CPRC)- this is a 60 hour course and is coordinated through local Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.
- Certified Infant Toddler Caregiver Training (CITC)- this is a 60 hour course and is coordinated through local Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. An online option is also available for college credit. Contact your local CCR&R for more information.
- * *Individuals taking the full CITC and CPRC courses can obtain a non-credit CDA.
For more information go to http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/hcsd/childcare/qualityprograms/documents
- Oral Health/Open Wide – This training is available at http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/oralhealth/. Open Wide is a free online course offered through the DPHHS Family and Community Health Bureau for: registered/licensed child care providers, school nurses, WIC staff, Head Start staff and Local Public Health Offices. ECP Credit is available through the Montana Early Childhood Project.
- MT Blended Module 2 - These trainings are available at each Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.
- Early Learning Guideline Implementation Training (update September 16, 2011)- Due to funding limitations, this course has been put on hold at this time. ECSB is currently exploring other options to be able to continue with this course, but at this time the requirement will be waived for any STARS providers applying for STAR 4.
- Inclusion 1: Foundations for Inclusion – Currently available through Child Care plus+ as distance education with an option for academic credit. Registration forms are available by calling 1-800-235-4122. ED 391: Practicing Inclusion in Preschool Programs is a 3 credit course and is an acceptable equivalent for Inclusion I and Inclusion II; this course is available through the University of Montana.
- Food Safety Course – Centers Direct Food Service staff need to take the 8 hour face-to face ServSafe Food Manager Level Certification course. Family/Group Food Service staff need to take a 4 hour face-to-face Food Handler Course option; there is a possibility that an online option that may be available for Family/Group care in the future. (ServSafe training certificate is good for 5 years; Food Handler Course certificate will be good for 1-2 years). Information about these courses and a state wide training calendar available at: www.msuextension.org/nutrition/ServSafe.html
Additional training information is also available at your local city-county Health Department Sanitarian’s office. This training does meet the ECP training approval and it is likely individuals will need to apply for individual training approval.
- Module 3 Overview and Pyramid Model Module 3 - These trainings are available at each Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.
- Inclusion 2: Strategies for Inclusion – Currently available through Child Care plus+ as a distance education with an option for academic credit. Registration forms are available by calling 1-800-235-4122. ED 391: Practicing Inclusion in Preschool Programs is a 3 credit course and is an acceptable equivalent for Inclusion I and Inclusion II; this course is available through the University of Montana.