The JavaScript support is disabled on your browser. JavaScript is required to view this page correctly.
Please enable JavaScript and refresh this page.



ECE Projects Manager LPC Coordinator

Project Supervisor, Early Learning Quality Improvement Initiatives

ECE Project Specialist

Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant

Educational Services FAX

Educational Services

Main Content

Quality Rating and Improvement System Initiative

During the past three decades of documented brain research, our nation validated the importance of early experiences in determining life and school success for all children, especially for those children who live in poverty and are impacted by allied risk factors. Based on this newly understood importance of early childhood education, we as a nation are focused on developing, piloting and sustaining comprehensive and equitable infrastructures to improve quality of early care and education programs. Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Model is one system framework that embraces this mission at the state-level.

Quality Child Care Matters

Quality Matters is Contra Costa's New Child Care Rating and Improvement System

Contra Costa County’s Quality Matters QRIS Initiative establishes standards that support developmentally appropriate practices for infants, toddlers and preschool age children. It provides a Quality Continuum Framework for early care and education professionals to identify opportunities for improvement and to continue developing the skills and competencies that support them and their program to make changes that promote high-quality standards.

The Quality Matters Initiative supports the professional development of staff working at participating QRIS programs through trainings, seminars and by offering additional on-site services such as coaching, professional growth advising, and support developing embedded reflective practice strategies such as Professional Learning Communities (PLC).

Additionally, programs that voluntarily choose to participate in the Quality Matters Initiative receive financial incentives as quality improvement grants.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) partners with First 5 Contra Costa, the Contra Costa Child Care Council, and the three local Community Colleges to administer the county's Quality Matters QRIS Initiative.

This Quality Rating and Improvement initiative is focused on nurturing and promoting a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) mindset among early care and education providers with an emphasis on three main categories:

  1. Child Development and School Readiness
  2. Teachers and Teaching
  3. Program and Environment

There are 104 licensed child care programs in Contra Costa County participating in the Quality Matters Initiative. In a QRIS system, child care programs are rated and earn points for various elements of quality, such as teacher-child ratios, teacher qualifications, the program's environment and activities, and teacher-child interactions.

Most of the 104 sites participating in the Quality Matters Initiative are located in low-income communities or serve children with high needs, a requirement of the grants provided. Three groups of early care and education providers have been invited to participate in the program. Ratings will be published for each group as they become available. Our pilot will test the validity of California's rating tool. Expanding the QRIS to all licensed child care programs will require significant state or federal funding.

To learn more, visit

The Impact of Early Learning on Kindergarten Preparation

Early Learning video series from the U.S. Department of Education

National Trends

Previously, the U.S. Department of Education launched Race-to-the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants (RTT-ELC Grant) convinced by the benefits of investing in early care and education to improve learning outcomes for children. U.S. Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan stated:

“A strong education opens doors to opportunity — and all children with dreams and determination should have the chance to reach their full potential. With this recognition, in 2009, President Obama and I announced a Race to the Top for American education. The program offered unprecedented resources — $4 billion — to states that committed to reshaping their education systems and ensuring every student would graduate college- and career-ready, regardless of disability, race, zip code or family income.”

Fundamental Change: Innovation in America's Schools Under Race to the Top
November 2015 (PDF)

“The good news is that high-quality early learning and care programs with effective educators can improve children's readiness and school success, with higher test scores, better attendance, less grade retention and long-term benefits in school completion and lifetime earnings.”

— Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee 1010 Report


Page updated on: July 20, 2017

Rev: 0.4-010514-BETA4