Ten Years of CQI- My Top Three Takeaways (so far)…

Muriel Wong

Muriel Wong

I was drawn to the process and culture of CQI as a way to get better at doing things in classrooms/programs. It was very similar to how I worked with children and their families, first as a teacher and later as a program director.  As teachers, we got to know our children – who they were, what they knew, what they understood, and what they were interested in. This information accumulated over time as our children grew and developed, continually guiding our pedagogy. As program directors, we reflected as a staff on our practices, trying to focus on what we did well as a program, what best supported teachers, children, and families. It was truly a continuous process.

What I am continuing to learn about…

  1. Them and us- still. The provider and teacher voices are a whisper in the CQI process today.  We need to elevate their voice levels to capture what they know — about development of young children, who they are, what they want to learn; we need to understand what is making a difference for our children. Teachers and Directors have important knowledge essential to sustaining high quality environments for young children and their families.  According to Edward Demining’s (Father of CQI):  “Quality is the responsibility of the person operating in a process”- in this case, teachers supporting the learning of young children.
  2. A never-ending story. We must all be committed to change, and ready to incorporate these changes into our daily work with children. Continuous improvement is grounded in the change process – in learning and acting on ideas, feelings or actions, at times, and all at once. Children do this every day. Adults have the same experiences in their own learning and development.  And coaches, making changes to practices, need to understand how to manage change first for themselves. Change is highly personal and comes from a place where one is motivated, intentional, and able to make something that works, keep working.
  3. DAP. In working with teachers, directors, coaches, and administrators, I first needed to learn about them as a group in order to provide focused training and support. My approach was similar to the five guidelines of DAP. First, get to know the learner. Using surveys, I learned about their knowledge of child development, pedagogy, adult learning, and coaching. I learned too, about the quality standards implemented, what they were interested in, and what they wanted to learn more about.  Each group then studied the results of their data responses and determined what professional learning they wanted to focus on.  We learned together and from each other.

So those are three take-aways.  And finally, I’d offer this:

If the CQI process is truly a focus of support for providers and teachers, then agencies and administrators – indeed, all stakeholders – need to do the same in their own work.  Let’s all walk that walk!

Staff Spotlight

Alfredo Molero – Support

Alfredo Molero - Support

Alfredo Molero is passionate about computer problem solving.

He was born in Margarita Island, Venezuela, the “pearl of the Caribbean”. His first computer was an IBM-Compatible PC with an 8080 processor and he got very excited when at 13 years of age, he was able to run “Word Star” and “Lotus 1-2-3” on it.

After graduating with a Computer Engineering degree he joined the Oil Industry as member of a national technical team where he started to learn the processes and qualities of a world-class support organization.

Continue reading

Standards, Practices and Resources

How WELS Supports Cross-Sector Collaboration

WELS supports Cross System Collaboration

Young children develop in the context of their families, other caregivers, and communities.  To promote healthy growth and development from birth to school age, successful early care and education programs must address the diverse needs of children, families, and communities. This typically requires partnership across multiple service systems, especially to meet the needs of children who face risks to their development. Effective collaboration draws on the strengths of partnering programs in the community to promote a seamless system of high quality early care and education services for children birth to age 5, linkages to necessary health and social services, and partnerships with families. New alliances always require relationship building. Often potential partners have to be willing to move out of their comfort zones to come to agreement.

Cross System Collaboration: A Fresh Look at Working Together

Continue reading

Staff Spotlight

Heidy Valdes – Chief Experience Officer


Heidy Valdes - Chief Experience Officer

Heidy Valdes is passionate about the software experience.

She was born in Havana Cuba. At the age of 11, she moved to Canada with her father. She didn’t speak the language, but quickly found ways to communicate with friends and teachers. As for the cold weather:  she never learned to love it, but did manage to survive it for 19 years, and even enjoyed it at times.  Three years ago, Heidy moved to Miami – closer to the culture and climate than Canada! – and enjoying getting back to her roots.

Heidy loves all animals. Her biggest joy is her dog Soda, adopted from an Animal Rescue Organization in Canada.  She contributes to helping animals by volunteering at a local animal shelter, and by helping raise money for organizations helping animals in need. She took a personal pledge to not visit zoos, aquariums or circus that keep animals for profit.

Continue reading

Partner Spotlight

Early Years Network, Mississippi

Getting Better at Getting Better with Technical Assistance

The Early Years Network supports high quality early care and education experiences for Mississippi’s children. As a one-stop shop, the network provides cohesive education, outreach, and services based on scientific research, established best practices, and practical, hands-on approaches across the state. To support the EYN’s one-stop shop model, WELS has become the centralized data system for all partners. An integral feature that provides partners a tool that enables a documentation method for their support efforts by areas of service and ability to identify primary and secondary activities, is the Activity Log. This feature permits the EYN staff access to the following tools: staff contact logs, notes on action plans, descriptions of upcoming visit plans, plan development for working with multiple sites, on-site training information, and the ability to run and review reports. Early Years Network Associate Director, Lydia Bethay, states “This level of involvement and capabilities for the sharing of information will make it so much easier for staff to access data, but also will be a great timesaver knowing that the information entered is already correct and ready to use instantly”

Continue reading

Latest Research

Latest Research: Accreditation and QRIS

From the QRIS Network…

Many states include national program accreditation within their QRIS framework. However, states vary in how and to what degree accreditation is recognized. Research conducted on data from the Illinois Quality Counts QRS by the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership examines the role of accreditation as an alternative pathway to quality in QRIS for center-based early childhood programs.

McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership (2013, Winter). Accreditation as an Alternative Pathway to Quality in QRIS, Research Notes. Wheeling, IL: McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, National Louis University.

Research Notes, Accreditation as an Alternative Pathway to Quality in QRIS

Members List

Our Newest Members to the WELS Family!- July 2013

Painted colorful hands


The Center on the Family (COF) is implementing a Quality Rating and Improvement System; a system of early childhood program evaluation, support, and technical assistance, with two long-term goals: a) to support early childhood care and education to create better outcomes for children, and b) to communicate with families and community the level of quality at various early childhood settings. The COF has selected WELS to create a web-based data collection and reporting system with the capability to collect and report process and outcome data, track program progress, provide a communication platform for all service partners, and facilitate the administrative workflow.


Bay Area

First 5 Alameda County, First 5 Contra Costa, First 5 San Francisco, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County, and First 5 Santa Cruz County have joined together to plan and implement a regional Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) under the California Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) administered through the California Department of Education. In coming together, the counties aim for regional coordination and alignment of their systems for measuring program quality in early care and education (ECE) settings and delivering training and technical assistance to improve ECE program quality across the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. FIRST 5 Santa Clara and First 5 San Francisco have selected WELS Systems Foundation (WSF) to provide a secure, Web-based data system to host the QRIS data.


New Mexico

“FOCUS (on young children’s learning)” is New Mexico’s third generation Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS). Developed by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), the goal of FOCUS is to foster program leadership, cultivate teacher quality and support positive outcomes for all children. The FOCUS Pilot Project, using WELS provide a system for data collection, management and reporting to track young children’s development and progress as they are increasingly ready for school, and to measure the quality of and support positive outcomes for all children. The Pilot Project will become part of the longitudinal data system that is being established by the Children, Youth and Families Department (EPICS). Continuous quality improvement and leadership development are critical components of New Mexico’s new TQRIS, WELS will be providing consultation and professional development in the areas of both continuous quality improvement and leadership development.