Dear Interested Parties,

EEC is committed to helping ensure that all children have access to quality programs. The creation and implementation of a system to improve and support quality statewide is a key strategy in the EEC's Board Strategic Five-Year Plan. To that end, Massachusetts is developing a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), which is a method to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education and after-school settings. QRIS is similar to other consumer rating systems that "rate" goods or services to provide customers with a better understanding about the quality of a particular item. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for continuous improvement of early education and care and out of school time programs.

EEC is pleased to announce that the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Pilot is now available on EEC's website. The Pilot offers the opportunity for interested programs, across the mixed delivery system, to partner with EEC in the preliminary program rating process and to assess the effectiveness of the QRIS provisional standards and the overall QRIS process. The Pilot will also allow EEC to learn more about how the QRIS rating process works for programs and what changes the Department can effect, prior to full implementation, to make the QRIS an effective tool for improving program quality. The pilot will also allow EEC to determine the extent to which the provisional standards align with program quality.

As part of this pilot, EEC has also made QRIS Program Quality Improvement Grants available to eligible programs as an incentive to participate and to support their advancement up the levels of the QRIS system. The programs that participate in this grant will also help EEC gain additional insight into the costs and types of support needed for programs to advance to increasingly higher QRIS rating levels.

EEC is encouraging any program interested in the QRIS Pilot and/or Grant, to complete a brief Intent to Participate Survey, by April 1, 2010, which can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/W8CB9HY.