Quality Circle

Professionals working to improve quality in early care and education settings


Welcome to the Quality Circle website! Our purpose is to provide information and support for the professionals who work to improve early care and education for all children. This site provides information about quality and technical assistance & current policy news, an archive space, and resources for TA professionals. If you have a training for mentors, coaches, specialists or other folk who do our work, let us know and we will post it on our calendar.

If you are interested in hearing from other TA professionals, we encourage you to join us where you can contribute your ideas, concerns and information.

Together, we can help ensure that children's experiences every day are full of learning, play and community!

Quality Circle has started a Big Tent group:

We Are Blogging!

Quality Circle now has a blog for online discussions and a place to say your piece! Right now, we have used this as a place to re-energize and re-commit to the organization, and to post notes from our conference calls. Please feel free to ask questions or share an opinion!

Currently there is a new excellent article on Technical Assistance - check it out!


Child Care Centers

A Count for Quality: Child Care Center Directors on Rating and Improvement Systems

Coaching and Quality Assistance in Quality Rating Improvement Systems

Approaches Used by TA Providers to Improve Quality in Early Care and Education Programs and Home-based Settings http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_1047.html.

New Resource

Just posted on our Resources page: A Glossary of Terminology for the Technical Assistance Field from NAEYC.

Latest Quality Circle Newsletter: TA in Tough Times

It's a time of changes in the early childhood field in North Carolina. Our latest newsletter has the details for you.

New Policy Report from CSCCE

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) announces the release of a new policy report, Staff Preparation, Reward, and Support: Are Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Including All of the Key Ingredients Necessary for Change? As quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) increasingly become the key strategy for improving the quality of early care and education, it is critical to understand and examine how such systems define quality, the benchmarks used to indicate quality, and the opportunities in place to support improvement. This report examines the extent to which QRISs support the professional development of practitioners and include in their rating rubrics key ingredients—staff qualifications, direct compensation, and the factors related to work settings—that have been linked to quality. Download the report (PDF).

Recent CSCCE publications

Click on any of the following titles released this year to learn more and download the reports.

NC Budget Alert

Who to call:

  • Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore - (919) 733-5708 or (336) 623-5210
  • Senator Jerry Tillman, Senate Appropriations on Education Co-Chair - (919) 733-5870 or (336) 431-5325
  • Senator Peter S. Brunstetter, Senate Appropriations Co-Chair - (919) 733-7850 or (336) 747-6604
  • Senator Neal Hunt, Senate Appropriations Co-Chair - (919) 733-5850 or (919) 781-3464
  • Senator Richard Stevens, Senate Appropriations Co-Chair - (919) 733-5653 or (919) 851-0228

AFTER YOU CALL, send this information on to everyone you know and tell them that they must stand up for the children and families in your community and call these lawmakers.


ALERT: North Carolina Budget

On May 24th the North Carolina Senate released the budget that it hopes will direct the state's spending for the next two years. The results are ugly. North Carolina's nationally-recognized early childhood education system as we know it will be destroyed. The 20% funding cut passed by the North Carolina House was bad enough for our children, but the Senate went several steps further. This plan:

  • eliminates the North Carolina Partnership for Children, the statewide private organization that successfully and efficiently runs Smart Start
  • slashes administrative funding so badly that many of the local partnerships will close, crippling the local control that has been key to Smart Start's success
  • gets rid of the award-winning preschool program More at Four

How can we stop this?

Simply call the Senators listed and tell them who you are and where you are from. Whether you leave a message, speak with an assistant or talk to the Senator, the discussion points below can help you tell your story of how these unfair cuts to Early Childhood Education will affect your life.

  • Studies show that an increase in the amount of Smart Start and More at Four funding counties receive corresponds to a higher level of reading and math skills by third grade for those counties' students.
  • North Carolina can not afford to abandon our children and can not afford to jeopardize the educational system that has attracted so many talented people and successful businesses to this state.
  • The Senate's budget is unacceptable. The state's youngest children—those at an age where the brain is being built and the foundation for all learning is established—are taking the hardest hit in education.
  • A dollar invested in the first five years has a larger return on investment than a dollar invested at any other point in the education life cycle. So it is very poor economic policy to have early childhood education take such an unbalanced cut.
  • Children who receive early childhood education in a 4 or 5 star center have a better chance at success in public school. Smart Start works with providers to maintain a quality environment, attract staff with better wages and benefits and is offering training and technical assistance. Together we are making a difference.
  • Give an example of how Smart Start or More at Four has helped you, your children or your community.

CONFERENCE: The Adult Brain and Change: Influencing Practices In Early Childhood Settings

Join us Monday, December 6th, 2010 in Durham, NC for a day of professional development (with a .5 CEU) and networking. This event will be held between 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM in the spacious Social Hall of Judea Reform Congregation, 1923 W Cornwallis Road, Durham NC 27705. Members: $70; Non-members: $80.

Find all the details and sign up here!

Overview: How will understanding brain science inform and improve your technical assistance practice and outcomes? Although change is truly the one thing that remains the same, it does not come naturally to most of us nor is it easily supported by the structure and wiring of the brain. Join us for 6 hours of dialogue and exploration about change, adult learning and the brain functions that impede and support your work. Learn how to authentically engage your clients in sustainable change by working with their brains instead of against them. Learn More...

A Matter of Degrees: Preparing Teachers for the Pre-K Classroom

Pre-K Now has published a report about what is necessary for the preparation of teachers that are successful at supporting children's development. It can be accessed online at http://www.preknow.org/documents/teacherquality_march2010.pdf.

Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care

NC early childhood leaders submitted their proposal to the Legislative Task Force on Consolidation! It was very well received and looks to have a good shot at being formalized. Funds saved by more closely collaborating are hopefully being folded back into ECE needs, so stay tuned!

The full proposal is available here:

New leadership at the NC-AEYC

Lorie Barnes has assumed the Executive Director role at our state's lead professional association and we couldn't have a more supportive colleague in our field! Lorie was one of our terrific trainers at our 2009 Quality Circle event and has been part of the world of teacher education for many years, wearing many hats. She will be a fantastic advocate for our state! Click to visit NC-AEYC's website at www.ncaeyc.org.

TA is now considered part of the Professional Development

It is a continuing education strategy!

National conversations are happening about the "I" in QRIS Systems! Here is a powerpoint from Sharon Lynn Kagan from the Smart Start webconference last month. You will see she describes us as professional development specialists, and credentialed.

The TA system is being discussed in the QRIS Advisory Committee to the Division of Child Development and at the NC Institute for Child Development Professionals in the Continuing Education WorkGroup. These are places where our futures will be decided! As well as, whether trainings will be require to meet CEU requirements, and who will be allowed to give them?

Another forum where TA is quite evident--as mentoring, technical assistance or consultation--is in the NC Early Childhood Professional Development Regional Planning Teams. These will determine 5-year plans for each region and all together will help inform the state's Professional Development Plan. It is important to find out who your team is and contribute your thinking about what is working and what is not! Your Region's lead agency CCR&R is hosting the team, so call them. Or contact us at earlychildhoodqualitycircle@gmail.com