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Bay Area Quality Early Learning Partnership: Regional QRIS Approach

The Challenge

In 2011, California was awarded a federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant to improve early childhood education systems. Sixteen counties received funding to develop quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). Six First 5 County Commissions in the Bay Area–First 5 Alameda County, First 5 Contra Costa, First 5 San Francisco, First 5 San Mateo County, First 5 Santa Clara County, and First 5 Santa Cruz County–decided to align efforts and create the Bay Area Quality Early Learning Partnership to pilot a regional QRIS approach. VIVA was hired to develop and facilitate the partnership over a three-year period.  

VIVA designed and coordinated a unique regional approach to QRIS implementation that enabled the sharing of local expertise, found operational efficiencies, and ensured consistency in QRIS implementation across the Bay Area Region. This partnership now serves as a model for regional QRIS implementation across California.

Can we facilitate partnerships to create a QRIS system that meets the unique needs of 16 California counties?

The Approach

To support successful partnership development and QRIS implementation, VIVA helped the First 5 leadership develop a governance structure that leveraged staff and local partner organizations to support QRIS implementation, and that was refined each year as needs and priorities evolved. Furthermore, VIVA provided facilitation & coordination of regional leadership and workgroups around two main focus areas: policy and implementation. Through this process, VIVA facilitated the development of several state-level QRIS policy recommendations, helped to develop shared policies and protocols to ensure consistent implementation across the region, and coordinated a regional higher education convening to engage partners in ongoing dialogue around workforce development.

The Bay Area Quality Early Learning Partnership resulted in a network of support for participants that enabled them to build upon existing knowledge and find efficiencies throughout the implementation process. Furthermore, the development of a common infrastructure and goals for QRIS enabled partners to advocate for policies with a united voice.



To reach even more people with this incredible impact, VIVA led a communications project to promote this initiative. Read more about how this work led to policy discussions and real change.