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:

Kelly Hurtado (Coach Supervisor) | 719.291.9315

Professional Development:
Erin Sullivan (Training Specialist) | 719.985.0013

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 at deanna@allianceforkids.org 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 at deanna@allianceforkids.org 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

Applications for Quality Improvement supports have gone live for the 2017-2018 fiscal year! 

There are THREE STEPS to the application process:

First, login to Colorado Shines QRIS.
Click on Application.
Click on each tab of the QRIS Quality Application.
Update your site’s information and click Save.
As you complete each tab, scroll to the top to click the “profile complete and ready to submit” box.
Click the Submit Application button.

Second, while still logged in to QRIS, click on Quality Improvement, then click on the QI Incentives tab.
Click on the blue renew or apply button to complete the Grant Application.

Third, complete the Quality Improvement Questionnaire:
(Please complete the questionnaire on a PC or MAC rather than a mobile device.)

Deanna Stark, 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 Coach Supervisor Kelly Hurtado.

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 August 2017 – December 2017 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 in between July – December. Grand prizes will be awarded to child care owners and directors whose program achieve Level 2 rating.

Prizes available are toddler bicycle, sensory table, or outdoor  children’s picnic table.

THAT’S NOT ALL! Get started with a $10 Starbucks gift card*!

For an extra bit of pep in starting your Level 2 journey,  AFK is providing two options for winning a gift card*:

Option 1: All Colorado Shines Level 1 providers that follow instructions to register yourself in PDIS and complete ONE Level 2 PDIS course. Notify us once your course is complete by reaching out to our Community Outreach Specialist, Alysha McKibben at AEMcKibben@allianceforkids.org or 719.659.5228.

Option 2: Attend one of our monthly PDIS sessions—sign up using links below or visit our calendar of events page. Session attendees must complete one Level 2 PDIS course at the session.

August | September | October | November | December

*Eligible participants for the gift card must hold Level 1 rating and must be able to submit proof of Level 2 PDIS course completion. Only courses with completion dates of Aug – Dec are eligible. Limit of one gift card per participating early childhood professional.

If you would like to share this opportunity, please click here. If you have any questions about our PDIS sessions please contact Deanna Stark at Dstark@allianceforkids.org at 719.291.8112.






The State-required CCCAP POS attendance system will be officially replaced by the Attendance Tracking System (ATS) in November. State CCCAP has scheduled several webinar trainings to ensure providers understand how to use the system. Training materials and resources will soon be available online to supplement the information presented during these trainings.

For webinar dates and registration information, click here.

OR… Join Alliance for Kids to view the October 24th webinar!

To support providers in El Paso County, Alliance for Kids will host an evening where providers can view the webinar together and ask questions.

October 24, 2017
5:45 – 8:45 pm (webinar is from 6 – 8:30 pm)
PACE Conference Room, 2335 Robinson Street, COS

FREE | RSVP Required | Refreshments Provided 

Erin Sullivan, Training Specialist
719.985.0013| ESullivan@allianceforkids.org