The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program at KIPP Northeast Elementary was rated four out of five by the Colorado Shines quality rating and improvement system. The ECE program earned the rating by focusing on interactions with students, learning environments, professional development, and business practices. Colorado Shines data show fewer than 30 percent of childhood care and education programs score a four and fewer than five percent score a five.
Colorado Shines is an integral part of the Colorado licensing system that drives programs beyond compliance in children’s health and safety, helping licensed early childhood programs showcase the quality of their care. All ECE programs are automatically rated at 1 when they become licensed by the state and meet basic health and safety standards. Programs can then choose to pursue higher ratings by developing a quality improvement plan and then be reviewed by a quality assessor in five different areas: workforce qualifications, family partnerships, administration, learning environment, and child health.
“We were able to combine the KIPP framework of coaching and a really specific childhood lens of coaching for our teachers. That led to better instruction for our kids,” Aidan Bassett, Director of Early Childhood Education at KIPP Colorado, said.
Bassett drove the rating process that began in December with weekly coaching from the Denver Early Childhood Council. The school was evaluated by a Colorado Shines Quality Ratings Assessor in May.
Coaching included having an outside observer dig into teacher interactions with students in the classroom and provide objective feedback.
“Our teaching team at KIPP Northeast Elementary is absolutely incredible,” said Basset. “They’ve really embraced the process. They knew it was stressful, and they were okay with that, because they knew that it was going to mean better outcomes for our kids.”
Basset led the school in pursuing a higher rating because she wants to maintain accountability with families. The school’s rating will be highlighted by the Denver Preschool Program, the Colorado Shines website, and the Denver Public Schools Choice process.
The high rating comes with funds that will be used for professional development resources to help build out parent engagement that would otherwise be cost prohibitive.
In order to get a level 5 rating, the school will further target areas of growth on the environmental rating scale. Teachers will continue to receive coaching hours and engage with the Early Childhood Council.
“It’s powerful to us that we can attest to parents on paper that our interactions with students are sound, that the outcomes we have for our students and our data are great, and that we are providing specific learning environments,” Bassett said. “It shows our families that we’re committed to providing a high quality program in our community and we’re being transparent about what we’re providing.”