Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement (QI)
Programs and supports, including coaching and training, connect children and families with high quality care and education to promote healthy development and school readiness.

As we move to the new collaborative team approach for QI outreach, assets/supports, coaching and professional development, we are streamlining the process for you.  We have set up supports so you can directly contact the Specialist for your specific need. Please refer to the contact information below for your specific need or contact the AFK Coordinator for general questions:

QI & Coaching: 
Kelly Hurtado (QI Manager) | 719.291.9315

Credentials/Scholarships or EQIT: 
Erica Evans (PD Specialist) | 719.233.0770

Assets/Supports/QRIS/PDIS TA: 
Deanna Stark (QI Navigator) | 719.291.8112

Child Care Resource & Referral: 
Teresa Smarsh (QI Program Assistant) | 719.659.7198

General questions:
Jackie Florendo (AFK Coordinator) | 719.634.8045

CO Shines
Has your program been rated by Colorado Shines

Alliance for Kids is happy to announce that we support 512 programs in Colorado Shines, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early care and learning programs. One hundred (100) of these programs are rated high quality (Levels 3-5).

We are committed to providing training and technical assistance to help your program reach its Colorado Shines rating goals.


Why Colorado Shines?

The early years are a very important period for a child’s learning and development. Quality early learning programs prepare children for kindergarten and success in school.


About Colorado Shines

Colorado Shines rates Colorado’s early care and learning programs, connects families with quality programs, and helps programs improve their quality.

This is how the Colorado Shines quality-rating scale works:
Level 1: The program is licensed with the State of Colorado, is regularly monitored and follows the requirements of Colorado’s Early Learning & Development Guidelines (earlylearningco.org).
Level 2: The program is meeting the requirements of Level 1 and is taking steps to improve quality.
Level 3-5: The program is licensed, has achieved high quality and is rated based on how it:

Supports children’s health and safety

Ensures staff are well-trained and effective

Provides a supportive learning environment that teaches children new skills

Helps families to become partners in their child’s learning

Uses strong leadership and business practices



CO Shines






Colorado Shines QRIS (Quality Rating & Improvement System)


Colorado Shines QRIS is a method to assess, enhance and communicate the level of quality in early education and care for all licensed providers in Colorado. This system provides standardized criteria for all child care providers in Colorado to be rated for quality, and provides incentives and supports to providers that wish to raise the level of quality care available at their facility.  Quality is rated using a blocks and points system.  For more information, or to register your site, visit www.coloradoshines.com

What’s NEW in QRIS?

  • Providers will now have the ability to print their Colorado Shines rating certificate directly from the program dashboard homepage.
  • Providers will now be able to import confirmation that their staff have completed their Individual Professional Development Plans from PDIS.
  • Providers will be able to apply through the Colorado Shines QRIS portal to be recognized as holding Alternative Pathway Accreditation.
  • Providers with a Level 2 rating will now be able to submit an application to maintain their Level 2 status.

Alliance for Kids is here to help!
In need of technical assistance? Unsure of QRIS requirements?

Alliance for Kids hosts regular Q&A/Work Sessions to support providers, directors, and staff members with Colorado Shines.  All sessions take place in computer labs, allowing for technical support, along with any questions you have about the new Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Contact Deanna Stark for more information or for one-on-one assistance.

CO Shines





PDIS (Professional Development Information System)


The PDIS is a website to host all of your personal professional development information, and provides free online professional development opportunities.  This website is for staff, including teachers and assistant teachers, directors, and family childcare providers and staff.  The information on your PDIS account will be linked with the Colorado Shines account of the center or home you are currently working for.  To access PDIS you simply need an email address. Visit ecpd.costartstrong.org for more information, or to register.

Alliance for Kids is here to help!
In need of technical assistance? Unsure of PDIS requirements?

Alliance for Kids hosts regular Q&A/Work sessions to support providers, directors, and staff members with Colorado Shines.  All sessions take place in computer labs, allowing for technical support, along with any questions you have about the new Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Contact Deanna Stark for more information or for one-on-one assistance.

What’s NEW in PDIS:

The Early Childhood Professional Development Team at Colorado Department of Education is pleased to make several equivalencies for the Early Childhood Professional Credential 2.0 available in the PDIS.  Through these options, individuals can submit specific documentation to earn an identified level of the Early Childhood Professional Credential 2.0.  These options include the following:

  • CDE EC/ECSE Teacher License Equivalency earns a Level 3 EC Professional Credential
  • Early Childhood National Board Certification Equivalency earns a Level 3 EC Professional Credential
  • CDA Equivalency earns a Level 2 EC Professional Credential

While these equivalency options provide additional pathways to earn these specific credential levels, individuals may also earn a higher credential level by submitting full documentation through the EC Professional Credential 2.0 points based system.

Please click here for step by step instructions to apply for a credential equivalency; appropriate documentation must be submitted as outlined in these instructions for the credential equivalency to be awarded.

CO Shines

The Colorado Shines Quality Improvement Grant is closed for this fiscal year. This includes the special applications for capital improvements. You will be able to apply for both again in July!

Here’s what you need to know to be ready for Capital Improvement applications:

  • Only programs that serve infants and/or toddlers are eligible.
  • You must submit three bids from licensed contractors for requested improvements.

Examples of approved uses of capital improvement funding include:

  • Minor remodeling to upgrade child care facilities that meet State and local child care standards, including applicable health and safety requirements. Examples:
  • gates and fencing
  • impact absorbing playground materials
  • access and egress improvements
  • safety-approved playground equipment and structures
  • minor modifications to infant/toddler classroom layout, and
  • physical safety improvements

Eligibility requirements for the Colorado Shines Quality Improvement Grant have not yet been released. Please watch future communications for these details.
Deanna Stark, Quality Improvement Navigator Specialist
719.291.8112| DStark@allianceforkids.org



Are you looking to add another level of support for your teachers to help transfer knowledge into practice in the classroom and provide a relationship in which they can set and attain professional goals?

Are you interested in providing reflective settings for teachers to think through their practice and have opportunities to discuss their ideas about the ways that they teach?

Coaching opportunities have been shown to increase transfer of learning to 95% and also provides teachers with psychological supports they need to persist in learning. Alliance for Kids is proud to offer coaching hours through Quality Improvement Initiatives and is also working to build the community of credentialed coaches in El Paso County.

For complete coaching information, visit our Coaching page.
For additional information, contact Kelly Hurtado, Quality Improvement Manager.

Complete your Level 2 Journey!

Reaching a Level 2 can qualify you to win select prizes!! Alliance for Kids will be drawing monthly winners from the pool of providers completing their 10 Level 2 courses in PDIS to achieve a Level 2 rating! For instructions on where to find your Level 2 courses and how to complete your hours, please click here. Winners will be announced in our EC News and on our Facebook page. *Eligible participants for the Grand Prizes must achieve a Level 2 rating after July 1, 2017. Grand prizes will be awarded to child care owners and directors whose program achieves a Level 2 rating.

Prizes available are a circle time rug, sensory table, outdoor children’s picnic table, and MORE!

Achieve your Level 2 rating now while prizes last!

If you have any questions about getting started or would like to request in person support, please contact Deanna Stark for more information or call 719.291.8112.

Family Child Care Quality Certificate

Qualistar Colorado is committed to elevating the quality in early childhood programs and has designed a FREE project just for licensed Family Child Care Providers. The Family Child Care Quality Certificate (FCCQC) is a tool intended to support a provider’s knowledge of the Colorado Shines Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and the Professional Development Information System (PDIS) and to provide training opportunities and resources. The FCCQC is an Alternative Pathway Rating for Level 2 through the Colorado Shines QRIS.

Alliance for Kids is hosting FCCQC Orientations that are part of obtaining your certificate. Registration links are provided or you may visit the calendar page at Allianceforkids.org.

Saturday, April 28 |10-12 pm | Register

Saturday, May 12  | 10-12 pm | Register

Saturday, July 14 | 10-12  pm | Register

Saturday, Oct 13 | 10- 12 pm | Register

*Please plan to bring your laptop to the session with you and know your PDIS/ QRIS account passwords so that you are able to login to the system. If you’ve never set up an account before, we will help you register.*

FCCQC Highlights:

  • This project is FREE to all licensed providers while grant funds are available. The FCCQC project is an excellent opportunity for all providers to gain knowledge about the quality standards for family child care homes.  If providers have already completed Level-2 through the QRIS- E- Modules, they can still participate in the project. To learn more, visit Qualistar.org.
  • Completion of the online training modules is not required when using the FCCQC to attain Level 2
  • There is training on topics relevant to home providers and a one-year membership to the Colorado Association of Family Child Care Providers
  • Participants receive a $300 grant for child care program quality improvements
  • Participants receive a report of the program’s strengths & recommendations for continued improvement





The CCCAP ATS IS LIVE as of April 23! 

Do you need assistance making this system work for you?

Contact Kelly Hurtado or call 719.291.9315

to schedule an AFK staff member to support you.

Providers can log into ATS from ColoradoShines.org.

To support your work with families and providers, the Office of Early Childhood is sharing a parent/caregiver handout and a provider handout with the latest information. You may also:

·     Visit the Office of Early Childhood website

·     Call the ATS Help Desk for technical assistance at 844.447.4441 or

·     Email cdhs_ats_helpdesk@state.co.us