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Applying for Step Up to Quality is a simple, two-step process:

First, the director/licensee must create and submit a program profile and a profile for themselves in the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System. Here is some information you’ll need on hand as you complete a program profile:

  • Number of full-time and part-time staff
  • Number of enrolled, full-time, full-pay children
  • Number of enrolled children receiving Child Care Subsidy
  • Accreditation information (if applicable)

Once a program profile has been created, each staff member must also complete a record. Staff members must have individual email addresses – the process takes approximately 10-15 minutes per staff member. Professional records consist of the following information:

  • Profile and contact information
  • Employment history
  • Education information
  • Early childhood credentials
  • Training history

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Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System

The Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System was developed by the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood in response to the Step Up to Quality Child Care Act of 2013. The system collects and stores important information about child care and early childhood education programs across the state.

Preschools

Steps At-A-Glance: Preschools

Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete required trainings:
    • Safe with You Series (4 hours)
    • Early Learning Guidelines Domain Series (42 hours)
    • Management Training (45 hours) if licensed for 13 or more
    • Getting Down to Business (20 hours) if licensed for 12 or fewer
  • Complete Go NAP SACC orientation (20 minutes) and submit Pre Self-Assessment
  • Complete Coach Interest Questionnaire

Steps 3-5

  • Complete Curriculum Alignment Form if necessary
  • Select an observation tool and complete observation tool training
  • Keep all professional records up to date
  • Earn points based on quality standards and indicators*
  • Complete and submit Rating Readiness Tool

*Note: Preschool programs with a license capacity of 12 or fewer will follow the indicators/points available for family child care home providers. Preschool programs with a license capacity of 13 or more will follow the indicators/points available for child care centers.

Director of Record Change

To update or change your Director of Record information, please fill out the online form.

Early Learning Connection

Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection (ELC) is an integrated system of early childhood professional development. The ELC consists of a statewide hub at the Early Childhood Training Center and seven regional ELC partnerships, along with other state and regional partners. It is designed as a system that supports the career and professional development of all who provide programs and services for young children, birth to 8, that includes:

  • Professional development for early childhood and school-age
  • Supports for implementation utilizing early childhood coaches
  • Program quality assessments
  • Strategic planning with higher education and other adult learning organizations
  • Community engagement and outreach

Click here for more information about ELC.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The early childhood care and education field in Nebraska continually strives to improve the quality of programs for young children and their families. The use of environment rating scales is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home- and center-based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R).

Training by Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) staff on the Environment Rating Scales is designed for early childhood educators working in Nebraska and is for the purpose of quality program improvement of Nebraska early childhood programs.

For information about upcoming ERS trainings, click here.

The ERS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

Licensing

Click here to learn about the types of child care licenses and regulations for Preschools.

Child Line

The Child Line is a statewide, toll-free telephone resource for those working with young children and their families. Any person in Nebraska interested in issues that affect young children and their families may call.

The Child Line provides information, resources and support concerning early childhood care and education. You might call for answers to your questions about:

  • A local conference or training in your area
  • Funding information
  • Help with a challenging situation at your early childhood program
  • Media materials for in-service hours
  • Licensing information
  • Information on starting a child care program
  • Child care resources and referrals
  • Any other issue affecting young children and families

The Child Line can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 1.800.89.CHILD (1.800.892.4453)

Other Resources

Nebraska Extension – Early Childhood Development

Go NAP SACC

Public Schools

Steps At–A–Glance: Public Schools

Public schools, Head Start and accredited programs enter at Step 3.

Step 3

Step 4-5

  • Complete Coach Interest Questionnaire
  • Complete curriculum alignment form if necessary
  • Select an observation tool (CLASS or ERS) and complete observation tool training
  • Earn points based on quality standards and indicators
  • Keep all professional records up to date
  • Complete and submit Rating Readiness Tool

Director of Record Change

To update or change your Director of Record information, please fill out the online form.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The use of environment rating scales is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home- and center-based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), the Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R).

For access to upcoming ERS trainings, click here.

Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

CLASS™ is an observation tool that focuses on the effectiveness of classroom interactions among teachers and children. These daily interactions promote children’s social and cognitive development.

CLASS™ observation tools have been developed for Toddler, Pre-K, K-3, Upper Elementary and Secondary age groups. At every age level, the CLASS™ measure focuses on interactions that support learning.

To access upcoming CLASS trainings, click here.

The CLASS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the CLASS Self Assessment form.

Child Line

The Child Line is a statewide, toll-free telephone resource for those working with young children and their families. Any person in Nebraska interested in issues that affect young children and their families may call.

The Child Line provides information, resources and support concerning early childhood care and education. You might call for answers to your questions about:

  • A local conference or training in your area
  • Funding information
  • Help with a challenging situation at your early childhood program
  • Media materials for in-service hours
  • Licensing information
  • Information on starting a child care program
  • Child care resources and referrals
  • Any other issue affecting young children and families

The Child Line can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 1.800.89.CHILD (1.800.892.4453).

Head Start

Head Start State Association

Head Start State Collaboration Office

Head Start Performance Standards

Other Resources

Nebraska Extension – Early Childhood Development

Go NAP SACC

Child Care Centers

Steps At–A–Glance: Child Care Centers

Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete required trainings:
    • Safe with You Series (4 hours)
    • Early Learning Guidelines Domain Series (42 hours)
    • Management Training (45 hours)
  • Complete Go NAP SACC orientation (20 minutes) and submit Pre Self-Assessment
  • Complete Coach Interest Questionnaire

Steps 3-5

  • Complete curriculum alignment form if necessary
  • Select an observation tool (CLASS or ERS) and complete observation tool training
  • Earn points based on quality standards and indicators
  • Keep all professional records up to date
  • Complete and submit Rating Readiness Tool

Director of Record Change

To update or change your Director of Record information, please fill out the online form.

Early Learning Connection

Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection (ELC) is an integrated system of early childhood professional development. The ELC consists of a statewide hub at the Early Childhood Training Center and seven regional ELC partnerships, along with other state and regional partners. It is designed as a system that supports the career and professional development of all who provide programs and services for young children, birth to 8, that includes:

  • Professional development for early childhood and school-age
  • Supports for implementation utilizing early childhood coaches
  • Program quality assessments
  • Strategic planning with higher education and other adult learning organizations
  • Community engagement and outreach

Click here for more information about ELC.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The early childhood care and education field in Nebraska continually strives to improve the quality of programs for young children and their families. The use of environment rating scales is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home- and center-based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R).

Training by Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) staff on the Environment Rating Scales is designed for early childhood educators working in Nebraska and is for the purpose of quality program improvement of Nebraska early childhood programs.

For information about upcoming ERS trainings, click here.

The ERS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

CLASS™ is an observation tool that focuses on the effectiveness of classroom interactions among teachers and children. These daily interactions promote children’s social and cognitive development.

CLASS™ observation tools have been developed for Toddler, Pre-K, K-3, Upper Elementary and Secondary age groups. At every age level, the CLASS™ measure focuses on interactions that support learning.

To access upcoming CLASS trainings, click here.

The CLASS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the CLASS Self Assessment form.

Child Care Subsidy

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services can help with the cost of child care via Child Care Subsidy. Child Care Subsidy provides benefits to providers and parents alike, providing assistance to families who are working hard to support themselves and serving as a reliable source of income for providers.

Click here for more information about Child Care Subsidy.

Licensing

Click here to learn about the types of child care licenses and regulations for Child Care Centers.

Child Line

The Child Line is a statewide, toll-free telephone resource for those working with young children and their families. Any person in Nebraska interested in issues that affect young children and their families may call.

The Child Line provides information, resources and support concerning early childhood care and education. You might call for answers to your questions about:

  • A local conference or training in your area
  • Funding information
  • Help with a challenging situation at your early childhood program
  • Media materials for in-service hours
  • Licensing information
  • Information on starting a child care program
  • Child care resources and referrals
  • Any other issue affecting young children and families

The Child Line can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 1.800.89.CHILD (1.800.892.4453)

Head Start

Head Start State Association

Head Start State Collaboration Office

Head Start Performance Standards

Other Resources

Nebraska Extension – Early Childhood Development

Go NAP SACC

Financial Support

Financial Support

Your Step Up to Quality coach can provide resources and information to help you access additional support and funding via Step Up to Quality partners.

Quality Grants

A limited number of quality grants are available to assist child care programs working to improve the quality of care through Step Up to Quality. Grants are available through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Children and Families.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Nebraska® Scholarships

A limited number of T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) Early Childhood Nebraska® scholarships are available through the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children. Scholarships assist professionals working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree or a certificate or diploma.

Child Development Associate

Limited funds are available to assist early childhood professionals who want to apply for a Child Development Associate (CDA), a nationally recognized credential for early childhood professionals. Funds help pay the initial assessment or renewal fees and are made available through the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood.

Program Accreditation

Limited funds are available to help programs pay part of the costs for recognized national accreditation. Financial assistance comes from the Nebraska Department of Education, Office of Early Childhood.

School Readiness Tax Credits for the Early Childhood Workforce and Step Up to Quality Program Participants

Through the recently passed LB 889, tax credits are now available for Nebraska’s early childhood professional workforce and quality early childhood programs that participate in Nebraska’s Step Up to Quality Program. These credits are available for the 2017-2022 tax years to qualifying early childhood education programs. Additional early childhood professional development is required to be eligible for the tax credit.

Learn more about the School Readiness Tax credits and find out if your program qualifies!

Family Child Care Homes

Steps At–A–Glance: Family Child Care Homes

Step 1

Step 2

  • Complete required trainings:
    • Safe with You Series (4 hours)
    • Early Learning Guidelines Domain Series (42 hours)
    • Getting Down to Business (20 hours)
  • Complete Go NAP SACC orientation (20 minutes) and submit Pre Self-Assessment
  • Complete Coach Interest Questionnaire

Steps 3-5

Director of Record Change

To update or change your Director of Record information, please fill out the online form.

Early Learning Connection

Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection (ELC) is an integrated system of early childhood professional development. The ELC consists of a statewide hub at the Early Childhood Training Center and seven regional ELC partnerships, along with other state and regional partners. It is designed as a system that supports the career and professional development of all who provide programs and services for young children, birth to 8, that includes:

  • Professional development for early childhood and school–age
  • Supports for implementation utilizing early childhood coaches
  • Program quality assessments
  • Strategic planning with higher education and other adult learning organizations
  • Community engagement and outreach

Click here for more information about ELC.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)

The early childhood care and education field in Nebraska continually strives to improve the quality of programs for young children and their families. The use of environment rating scales is a widely accepted method of evaluating and improving the quality of home- and center-based programs.

Environment Rating Scales is broadly defined and currently includes Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3), Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R).

Training by Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) staff on the Environment Rating Scales is designed for early childhood educators working in Nebraska and is for the purpose of quality program improvement of Nebraska early childhood programs.

For information about upcoming ERS trainings, click here.

The ERS Self Assessment Form can be used by directors and teachers to internally identify strengths and focus on changes the program plans to make. Click here to access the ERS Self Assessment form.

Child Care Subsidy

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services can help with the cost of child care via Child Care Subsidy. Child Care Subsidy provides benefits to providers and parents alike, providing assistance to families who are working hard to support themselves and serving as a reliable source of income for providers.

Click here for more information about Child Care Subsidy.

Licensing

Click here to learn about the types of child care licenses and regulations for Family Child Care Homes.

Child Line

The Child Line is a statewide, toll-free telephone resource for those working with young children and their families. Any person in Nebraska interested in issues that affect young children and their families may call.

The Child Line provides information, resources and support concerning early childhood care and education. You might call for answers to your questions about:

  • A local conference or training in your area
  • Funding information
  • Help with a challenging situation at your early childhood program
  • Media materials for in-service hours
  • Licensing information
  • Information on starting a child care program
  • Child care resources and referrals
  • Any other issue affecting young children and families

The Child Line can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. 1.800.89.CHILD (1.800.892.4453)

Other Resources

Nebraska Extension – Early Childhood Development

Go NAP SACC

Resources

For Enrolled Programs

Update My Information

Update My Information

Programs that participate in Step Up to Quality must have a professional record for the director/owner of the organization, whether the director oversees one or multiple sites. This person is known as the Director of Record. Note: In public schools, the Director of Record may be the lead classroom teacher.

The Director of Record can change after the initial applications are completed. Organizations must first update their information with Child Care Licensing. To update or change your Director of Record information with Step Up to Quality, please complete the form below or download and complete the Director of Record Change form.

  • Director of Record Change/Addition

  • Director of Record Assistant (optional)

    Directors may designate other staff access to the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System organizational or site information to assist staff as they enter their education and training documentation. The designated staff must enter their own professional record into the records system, must be in a leadership position in the program and must be employed by the program.

Paper forms can be mailed or emailed to:

Nebraska Department of Education
Step Up to Quality Office
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509

nde.stepuptoquality@nebraska.gov

Forms

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Self Assessment

Curriculum Alignment Form

Director of Record Change

Environment Rating Scales (ERS) Self Assessment

List of Aligned Curricula

Program Guide

Quality Action Plan

Rating Readiness Tool