Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants your feedback.

EEC is revising the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS). And the department wants to know what you think of its draft document.

Massachusetts’ QRIS system looks at quality in five areas:

  1. Curriculum and Learning
  2. Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments
  3. Workforce Development and Professional Qualifications
  4. Family and Community Engagement
  5. Leadership, Administration and Management

QRIS work is also going on nationally, as Debi Mathias, director of the QRIS National Learning Network with the BUILD Initiative, noted in a panel discussion last year. And these efforts are having a positive impact on children.

Debi Mathias. Screenshot of Teachstone YouTube video.

“It’s exciting to sit at the national viewpoint and see the states creating new systems, using the best thinking, leveraging and learning from each, and using best practices and ideas,” Mathias said. “And how coming together across the country, we’re really, I think, creating just better systems, [and] better opportunities for that little one.” (Mathias starts speaking at 16:12 in the YouTube video.)

It’s that growth, on the local and national level, that makes your feedback so important here in Massachusetts.

“I encourage you to visit our QRIS revisions webpage that has resources to inform you about proposed changes to the QRIS,” EEC Commissioner Tom Weber wrote in an email sent to the field.

EEC “will be hosting a series of in-person public meetings across the Commonwealth. You may offer comment on any of the four MA QRIS program types (family child care, community center-based, public school preschool, afterschool/out-of-school time) at all of these meetings.”

The dates are:

Thursday, September 14EEC Taunton Office, Taunton, 11:00 a.m.-1:00p.m.

Tuesday, September 19: Quincy Public Library, 40 Washington Street, Quincy, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 27Fidelity Bank, Leominster, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Spanish interpretation available)

Friday, September 29: Holyoke Community College, Kittredge Center, Holyoke, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Friday, October 6: Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square, Worcester, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 12EEC Lawrence Office, Lawrence, 12:00-2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 25North Shore Community College, Health Professions and Student Services Lecture Hall Room 105, Danvers, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Spanish interpretation available)

Monday, October 30: Boston Public Schools, Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, Boston, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

– Wednesday, November 1: Plymouth Public Library, Otto Fehlow Room, Plymouth, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 2: Berkshire Community College, Room K-111, 130 West St., Pittsfield, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The comment period runs through November.

In addition, EEC will post a link to an online survey. You can also give feedback during a webinar on Friday, October 20, 2017, from 12:30-2:00 p.m.

“Just as EEC asks programs to engage in a process of continuous quality improvement, we are reviewing the whole QRIS system  to ensure that the standards, criteria, and indicators are grounded in current research and reflect best practices,” Commissioner Weber says. “This will help us accurately assess program quality improvement; recognize programs’ progress and achievement; and provide a high-quality system of early education and out-of-school-time care for families across the state.”

To learn more about QRIS, check out these resources:

• On its website, the QRIS National Learning Network has a National Resource Library and a State Resource Library. The network has also archived the agenda and other resources from the national meeting it held in June in Dallas.

• The QRIS Compendium — which catalogs and compares systems — has answers to a list of Top-10 questions about quality ratings.

If you have questions about Massachusetts’ QRIS revision process, contact Amy Whitehead-Pleaux, Program Quality Supervisor, at