Summary reports provide a snapshot of what occurs in the classroom on a typical day. They include objective information about what was observed and provide areas for improvement. After the ERS window ends, those reports are completed and sent to the program. Hopefully you read them, share them with your staff, and address any immediate safety issues that may have been observed. Then what? What do you do with them now? Many programs struggle with this. These reports, along with other sources of evidence, can build the program’s continuous quality improvement (CQI) plan. CQI is not a quick fix by one person. CQI is a center wide plan to improve quality over time. Outlined are steps to help with a continuous quality improvement plan in order to enhance quality programming at the site.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses – Celebrate things your classrooms are doing well. Look at items and indicators that scored a 5 or above and be proud. Meeting those levels in specific items typically means developmentally appropriate practices are occurring and good to high levels of quality are evident. Next look at scores below a 5. These scores indicate items that can be improved to enhance quality. Make a list of these items and indicators. This list is the starting point.
- Establish a plan – As a team, review the list and choose your top 3-5 areas that need improvement. Keep in mind that you are who decides what is important to your program and its mission and vision. Write clear and concise goals that include the result you want to see, how long it will take to reach the goal, and resources to help you get there. Resources may be professional development sessions, Technical Assistance, Mental Health Consultants, or even just articles about the areas you wish to improve.
- Implement the plan – Be accountable for your plan and goals. Continue to work day after day and don’t get discouraged if results are not immediate. Change takes time! Be sure to have someone checking in to see how progress is going.
- Evaluate the results – After reaching your targeted time, evaluate your progress and see if you achieved your goal. If you did, congratulations! If you didn’t, that’s okay. Look at areas still needing improvement and redo the steps listed above.
Implementing CQI plans will enhance quality over time and encourage those involved to continue to strive to attain higher levels of quality. Here are some resources to help you in your CQI journey: