Oregon’s Spark, formerly called Oregon’s QRIS, began with a field test period in 2013. During the field test, we learned a lot from providers and programs about which parts of the system worked well and which could work better. The revised system will be more streamlined to allow you to spend more time making program improvements and less time documenting them. The “2.0” version of Spark will be more responsive to programs, will better measure quality and will reduce the workload of achieving a rating.
There is no need to wait! Engaging in Spark now allows you access to resources that will support your work in becoming the best you can be for the children and families you are serving now. Who knows? You may be closer to a star rating than you think! Being a rated program also allows you to receive a monthly bonus payment on top of your DHS reimbursement rates and reduces the co-pay for your families receiving the subsidy.
Your current star rating will not be immediately affected when the revised system rolls out. Field test ratings were designed to be good for three years from the time of rating. Your rating will remain valid for at least those three years. No program ratings will expire. Programs rated early in the field test that have reached (or will reach) their expiration date before the revised system is available will have their rating extended to provide at least 6 months to transition to the revised system. You can still submit or resubmit for a higher rating in the current system. When the revised system is in place, you will use it to renew your star rating when it expires.
We are revising the system to be more inclusive of different kinds of programs and to make it easier for programs to participate. Some of the proposed revisions include:
We are expecting to release the revised system in 2018. Our website www.oregonspark.org will have the most current information. You can also call your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency for updates. We will be sharing the firm dates and a transition plan as soon as they are available.
Focusing on professional development is a great place to start. We learned in the field test that the most time-consuming part of quality improvement is professional development and achievement of Oregon Registry Steps. Creating a solid professional development plan, enrolling in a degree program or a college class, and attending trainings will support your ability to achieve star ratings in both the current and revised systems.
Currently, there is no deadline for field test participation. Supports and incentive dollars are still at the same levels. If you qualify for supports and incentives, apply now! If you have questions about supports and incentives, call your Quality Improvement Specialist.
If you need any additional information or wish to talk to us about Spark, we encourage you to contact us.
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