Our Investments

Early Learning

Santa Clara County's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Framework

High quality early education experiences help children to thrive in their earliest years and prepare them to succeed in school and in life.

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and our early learning partners are committed to supporting our local early childhood educators to provide the highest quality care for Santa Clara County’s youngest children.

In 2012, Santa Clara County was one of sixteen counties in California to receive a three-year grant through the Federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) to develop a pilot Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). A QRIS:

  • Defines a common understanding of quality for early care and education programs
  • Measures programs against standards and gives programs a quality rating
  • Provides educators with training and support to achieve higher levels of quality
  • Inform the community on the importance of high quality care and education for children

All of the programs that have volunteered to be part of Santa Clara’s QRIS are committed to quality and have gone above and beyond health and safety requirements.

How we determine quality and assign ratings

In Santa Clara County, providers and programs participating in QRIS are assigned a rating in one of four categories:

  • Committed to Quality Improvement (Bronze)
  • Achieving Quality Standards (Silver)
  • Exceeding Quality Standards (Gold)
  • Excellence in Quality Standards (Platinum)

Early learning providers and programs that are part of Santa Clara County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System are assessed based on quality elements in the following areas:

  • Child Observation: Teachers understand each child’s development and design daily learning activities based on children’s needs.
  • Developmental and Health Screening: A close monitoring of child’s overall wellbeing supports a child’s healthy development.
  • Effective Teacher Child Interactions: Teachers positive relationships with children promote a love of learning.
  • Ratios and Group Size: More teachers and smaller group sizes help spend more quality time with individual children.
  • Environment: A child-focused environment allows children to learn and develop to their fullest potential.
  • Staff Training and Education: A high quality program includes well-trained directors and teachers in child development and early learning.

To view a list of rated providers and programs currently participating in Santa Clara County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, click here.

Learn More

Santa Clara County QRIS Consortium

The QRIS Consortium is a partnership of early childhood educators and community members who give input on the development of the QRIS and network with others committed to quality early learning.

Next Santa Clara County QRIS Consortium Meeting
April 20, 2016 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
FIRST 5 Santa Clara County
Community Room
4000 Moorpark Ave., Suite 200
San Jose, CA 95117

Click here to subscribe New QRIS Alert Signup Form

QUALITY MATTERS…a STRONG START for kids (Santa Clara County’s QRIS)

Consortium Upcoming Meeting

April 20, 2017     10:00 am - 4:00 pm
April 26, 2017     6:30 pm - 8:30 pm    

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County
4000 Moorpark Ave., Suite 200
San Jose, CA 95117

QRIS Consortium Meeting Documents

Executive Cabinet Upcoming Meeting

May 3, 2017     11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Santa Clara County Office of Education
1290 Ridder Park Dr.
San Jose, CA 95131

RTT Executive Cabinet

Get Involved: click here to our QRIS email list and receive the latest updates on the QRIS and upcoming meetings.

Learn more about the QRIS by contacting Cathy Andrade through email cathy@first5kids.org or call 408.260.3711.

The Bay Area Quality and Improvement System (QRIS) Partnership

Bay Area Quality Early Learning Partnership is a partnership of six First 5 county commissions that was created to pilot a regional approach to QRIS. Santa Clara County along with San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Cruz have captured highlights of their partnership in the following briefs:

The Bay Area Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Partnership

Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge: Achievements and Lessons Learned from Regional QRIS Implementation

Race to the Top – Recommendations for Quality Early Learning Efforts in California