San Francisco Quality Connections is an initiative of First 5 San Francisco, in partnership with San Francisco’s Office of Early Care and Education. Our vision is a city where all families have access to the highest quality of care and education for their children beginning at birth. To achieve this, we recognize and support the extraordinary passion, skill, and expertise early educators and the professionals that support them bring to this profession.
Early Learning Quality Improvement
Through Quality Connections, First 5 San Francisco is working to ensure that all early learning settings are guided and supported in their quality improvement efforts. Quality Connections helps define and measure specific quality indicators for participating early learning programs. Through this rating process, Quality Connections and early learning programs are able to target quality improvement efforts in the areas that will most benefit them. Quality Connections supports educators to reflect on strengths and challenges and focus on areas that will systematically improve quality.
Quality Partners are organizations dedicated to supporting early care providers with the training, technical assistance, coaching, and professional development support they need to elevate their quality of care for San Francisco children.
Quality Partners also serve as an advisory body to Quality Connections.
What Is QRIS?
QRIS is a nationwide approach to raising the quality of early learning programs, with the goal of ensuring all children are ready for kindergarten. Nearly every state has or is in the process of implementing a QRIS.
While each QRIS is unique, they all share a common approach to raising quality by assessing and rating programs based on common quality standards, and then using that information to provide resources and tools to support continuous quality improvement.
History of QRIS in San Francisco
QRIS began in California with the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant. This grant was awarded to the state in 2011 to help improve early childhood education systems and better serve the most vulnerable children. San Francisco was one of sixteen counties to receive funding. To achieve this goal, First 5 San Francisco administered a QRIS pilot from 2012-2015. Following the federal investment in QRIS, First 5 California and the California Department of Education both issued grants to support counties’ QRIS implementation. First 5 San Francisco continues to oversee QRIS through these grants.
Quality Connections builds on First 5 San Francisco’s history of pioneering continuous quality improvement efforts through the Preschool for All and Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge QRIS pilots. Since First 5 first launched its quality improvement efforts more than 10 years ago, its robust system of training, technical assistance, and coaching for early educators has reached and inspired more than 4,000 early learning teachers and administrators.
“I wish I could introduce you to my classroom of brilliant artists, social workers, scientists, and have you hear what they might say about their day-to-day experience.”
-Cynthia Vasquez, Preschool Teacher, Paul Revere Elementary