Center on Early Learning Staff Reflect on the 2016 QRIS National Meeting

Center on Early Learning Staff Reflect on the 2016 QRIS National Meeting

July 28, 2016

Center on Early Learning Logo

TRI's Center on Early Learning staff participated in four presentations at the 2016 QRIS National Meeting, hosted by the QRIS National Learning Network and the Build Initiative.

2016 QRIS National Meeting banner - Establishing an Ecosystem for High-Quality Early Learning - July 12-14 - Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel - New Orleans, LA - On the right are the logos for QRIS National Learning Network and Build, a small girl. On the left, a small girl and boy hug.

Two TRI staff members presented at the QRIS national conference for the first time. They were both very excited to take this important step in their careers, and to present to a wide audience the important work they have been part of here at TRI.

Lauren Peterson and Nate Winegarder are part of TRI’s Center on Early Learning (CEL). A major focus of the CEL’s work is to coordinate the Oregon Department of Education’s Quality Rating and Improvement System - a program that raises the quality and consistency of child care and early learning programs across the state.

Building a CQI Culture: Technical Assistance to Prepare Programs and Strengthen Leaders

Robyn Lopez Melton, TRI at Western Oregon University; Lauren Peterson, TRI at Western Oregon University; Leslie Roesler, Pennsylvania Key; Jenny Vial, Buncombe Partnership for Children

This session explored ways to build change that lasts by moving quality improvement efforts from a focus on external checklists to an internalized understanding of best practices.

Click here to download the slide presentation.

Lauren PetersonLauren Peterson’s reflections on the conference

Being invited to present at the QRIS National Meeting was a tremendous honor and opportunity. It is always so exciting to be a presenter at a national conference, particularly one in which there is such a high level of energy and diversity.  I valued the process of collaborating with two other states to synthesize our common ideas and different approaches to Continuous Quality Improvement.

Prior to the conference, Robyn and I had many conversations about what we believe to be the key elements of continuous quality improvement as well as what supports providers engaged in the QRIS process. The insights I gained while preparing for the presentation were extremely valuable as I interacted with the participants during our session. Continuous Quality Improvement is a topic in which there is a great deal of interest nationally.

Our session was attended by approximately 95 people and overflowed the room. Our presentation was very well received and included a lively dialog. Oregon's QRIS was acknowledged numerous times during the conference, including in the plenary sessions. I was very honored to be representing Oregon's QRIS and all of the many partners who make it happen. We have a great deal to be proud of.

As a participant, the highlight for me were two sessions done by Junlei Li from the Fred Rogers Center. He showed some beautiful clips of interactions between teachers/caregivers and children and spoke of the importance of keeping the focus of our quality improvement systems on the most human elements of our work.

He shared concern that if we become too absorbed in developing and interpreting our tools, measurements and assessments we may miss "the essence of quality." He suggested we change our focus from "helpful critic" to "helpful appreciator." I believe these will be key concepts for us as we approach our revision process.

He closed with this wonderful quote from Fred Rogers, "In every neighborhood, all across the country, there are good people insisting on a good start for the young, and doing something about it."

We Can’t Just Translate Everything! Rethinking Equitable Access to QRIS through Culturally Relevant Translation Processes

TRI's Robyn Lopez Melton and Nathan Winegardner  - both from TRI at Western Oregon University

This hot-topic discussion focused on the process of creating culturally relevant QRIS and processes for providers and communities who speak languages other than English.

Click here to download the slide presentation.

Click here to download the handout.

Nate WinegardnerNate Winegardner reflects on the conference

My first impression of this conference was the large number of people; it was great to see that we aren’t the only ones who are working to improve early education. Our presentation, “We Can’t Just Translate Everything! Rethinking Equitable Access to QRIS through Culturally Relevant Translation Processes” was schedule as the last session on Wednesday so I was a little concerned that attendance would be light. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised to see about 40 people in the room. We had a very engaged audience who actively participated in the conversation around translation and equity.

During our conversation with the participants, I found that most of them were people who already generally understood the importance of solid translation. However, from the looks of comprehension and the exclamations of “that’s a good idea” or “I never thought of that” I know that even those who were on board with the process gained valuable information.

The whole conference was filled with valuable information. During the sessions I attended, when people found out that I was from Oregon they asked me to explain our system and why we did things that way. In some cases, I found myself defending our system. But the vast majority of the time my encounters with other states were extremely positive. In fact, a representative from Maryland asked me to attend a meet and greet which included a presentation on their new online portfolio and user interface system. It was great to meet people from other states and hear how they do things and to share our knowledge.

I enjoyed my time at the conference and found it valuable. This was my first time presenting at a national conference and I look forward to doing more.

Meeting Hosts

The Build Initiative and the QRIS National Learning Network hosted the 2016 QRIS National Meeting. This meeting shares the latest research, effective practices, innovations and big ideas in the development, implementation and revision of quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS). The structure of the meeting is designed to foster cross-state discussion and peer exchange.

Click here for more information about the 2016 QRIS National Meeting.

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