Public Schools

Steps At–A–Glance: Public Schools

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

Step 3

Step 4-5

Steps 4 and 5 (including ERS or CLASS observation)
Programs may request a rating review to advance to Steps 4 or 5 including an on-site ERS or CLASS observation. A minimum of 50 points must be earned from the indicators selected on the Rating Request Form and a minimum observations score threshold must be met for Steps 4 and 5.
Step 4 = Minimum of 50 indicator points earned and at least a 3.75 Program Overall observation score (Both thresholds must be met to achieve a Step 4 rating)
Step 5 = Minimum of 50 indicator points earned and at least a 4.75 Program Overall observation score (Both thresholds must be met to achieve a Step 5 rating)

Director of Record Change

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

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 (ITERS-3), and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS-3).

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.

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.

Learn more about the ERS and training options.

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.

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.

Learn more about the CLASS tool and training options.

Nebraska’s 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

More information about Nebraska’s Early Learning Connection

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