Quality Rated Inventory Checkers Helping to Improve Ways Early Care Programs Serve Children

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Quality Rated Inventory Checkers

Quality Rated inventory checkers, from left: Ann Pitra (Atlanta), Allan Benson (Woodstock), new Paula Hawkins (Dacula), Gladys Hall (Sylvester), Sharon Ingram (Stone Mountain), Jamie Swift (Warner Robins), Ann Kuzniak (Dalton-Tunnel Hill), Ginny Atkins (Macon), potential VIC Sharon Thomas (Augusta), Vernell Mims (Hephzibah), and Robert Berlon (Buford)
Missing: John Adamski (Atlanta-midtown), Lisa Thule (Atlanta), Cedelia Gill (Stone Mountain), and Benita Baird (Atlanta–Buckhead)

It takes many hands to raise Quality Rated (QR) banners across Georgia. But one group in particular is literally doing some behind-the-scenes heavy lifting that improves the way early care programs serve children.

When a child care program completes the detailed, yearlong QR assessment and meets the level of standards for a one-, two-, or three-star rating, that facility can receive more than 30 boxes of new supplies and educational equipment—sometimes up to $5,500 worth of privately-funded materials—that usually arrive in one massive shipment from Kaplan Early Learning Company.

Enter a cadre of inventory checkers. These dedicated individuals travel throughout the state to ensure that every early care program that earns new supplies at the end of a QR qualification receives its shipment without a hitch. The inventory checkers meticulously unpack and inspect every stick of furniture, board book, finger paint set, sports ball, and much more to make sure the center receives the correct order.

Mary Stoklas, DECAL program evaluation and development specialist

Mary Stoklas, DECAL program evaluation and development specialist, walks the group through the detailed assessment process, and explains what separates Quality Rated curricula among one, two, and three-star centers.

The inventory checkers were honored for their role in this collective effort at a luncheon provided by Kaplan and hosted by Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) in March, where they received training and updates about QR to prepare them to help more centers.

“They are literally changing the face of education in Georgia every time they inventory a package,” said Bright From the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Kristin Bernhard. “We have 330,000 children enrolled in licensed child care in Georgia, and we have a duty as a state to make sure we have the best-trained teachers with the best materials and supplies. Quality Rated is where we put our stake in the ground. These inventory checkers are helping our state achieve our goals.”

Achieving a quality rating represents a major stride forward on the path to developing healthy babies and very young children, and in getting kids ready to succeed academically and socially when they show up for kindergarten. The new materials received at the end of an assessment, combined with vastly upgraded teaching methodology and a more welcoming schoolwide environment, take most QR centers to a significantly higher level of quality than they were before the assessment.

Kristin Bernhard, DECAL Deputy Commissioner for System Reform

“If Georgia wants a strong workforce, we need to invest in our smallest citizens,” said GaFCP Executive Director Gaye Smith. “Everyone—from citizens to corporate philanthropists—is starting to understand this. Georgia is in one of the best places to help children right now because of strong leadership. If we can change outcomes for children early, then other indicators of child wellbeing will improve.”

Learn more about the three lead QR partners: DECAL, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS), and GaFCP.

For details on the inventory checker program, contact Sheila Bissonnette at tqrs@gafcp.org.