Step Up To Quality Stories

Step Up to Quality 2.0: The same program, even better

In the years since we launched Step Up to Quality, Nebraska’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, in 2014, the early childhood education field has continued to advance and evolve. And our Step Up to Quality team here in the Department of Early Childhood has learned a great deal about what works about our process in addition to what could be improved.

For those reasons and more, it was time to formally update our process.

This decision was made before the pandemic, and no one thought it would take as long as it did. But after years of research, reflection and effort we have launched some exciting improvements to our 5 Steps.

First, we want to thank the hundreds of providers from across Nebraska who attended feedback sessions and filled out surveys, giving us first-hand insights on improvements they wanted to see. In addition, we worked with a committee of dozens of early childhood education professionals from various aspects of our profession, from nonprofits, advocacy organizations, universities and more. Their perspectives were invaluable, and we’re grateful for their insights as well.

We’ve called this project Step Up to Quality 2.0, but in reality, a lot hasn’t changed. We’re still Step Up to Quality, with the same goal of helping early childhood education professionals across Nebraska be the best versions of themselves to best care for the children and families who have placed their trust in them.

  • We still have 5 Steps, and now they’re more customizable and allow for even more — and earlier —support for providers going through the process.
  • We still have observations, except now providers can choose to forgo them to reach a Step 3.
  • We still have a detailed list of quality indicators, and now we have even more indicator options for lots of opportunity for personalization based on individual strengths and program types.

We also launched changes to Step 2, making it less overwhelming and time-consuming to complete. Learn more about the updates to the whole Step Up to Quality process and other new things we have in store for providers this year.

A special message to providers here in Nebraska who are not yet participating in Step Up to Quality: now is the best time to enroll! As part of Step Up to Quality 2.0, we’ve rolled out earlier coaching opportunities starting at Step 1.  Be sure to download the new Program Guide, which outlines our process in great detail and provides you with a roadmap of all the steps.

As always, we’re so thankful for each and every provider who is participating in Step Up to Quality. We are grateful for your continual commitment to quality care for our youngest Nebraskans. Thank you for all your support as we continue our commitment to making Step Up to Quality the best it can be for everyone connected to high-quality early childhood education in Nebraska. As our field continues to evolve, so will we.