About this page: How BrightStars Works - Applying for a BrightStars Rating

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BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

How it Works

Licensed child care centers, family child care homes, preschools in public schools and stand-alone school-age programs are eligible to apply for a BrightStars rating. Programs that participate in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are required to participate in BrightStars to maintain their CCAP Approval.

Applying for a BrightStars rating

The first step in participating in BrightStars is to review the application materials and select the rating that your program will be applying for. BrightStars assesses program quality by two methods: document review and onsite observation. Follow these steps to apply to BrightStars:

  1. Submit a complete application and all required materials to BrightStars.
  2. Your application will be reviewed by BrightStars, and you will be contacted if there are materials missing.
  3. Once your application is complete, you will be contacted by someone from the Assessment Team to schedule a site visit assessment. Site visits are completed for programs applying for 2 -5 stars. An application for 1 Star does not currently require an onsite assessment.
  4. After the site visit is completed and all of your reports are finalized, your program will be awarded a star rating ranging from 1 to 5 stars.
  5.  A Quality Rating and Improvement Specialist that is assigned to your program will contact you and will conduct a feedback visit to provide your program with star rating certificate and share any assessment findings and reports. Programs that are rated as a 1-Star will receive a feedback visit mailing. Programs that are rated as a 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-Star will receive an on-site feedback visit. At this visit, you will begin to discuss goals for improvement and also receive referrals for resources available to your program.
  6. Your program’s BrightStars rating is posted online and you will also receive materials from BrightStars to market your program in your community to parents and stakeholders.
  7. Your program is required to submit a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) within three (3) months from the date star rating is awarded that should include the goals that your program will address over the next year and in the future.

Ongoing support and Requirements

A BrightStars rating is valid for three (3) years. During those three years, a Quality Rating and Improvement Specialist will offer support to help programs advance along Rhode Island’s Quality Continuum and achieve their desired goals.

During these three years programs:

  • May apply to increase their star rating at any time, and are encouraged to do so
  • Submit Annual Reports that are due on the first and second participation anniversaries
  • Submit an updated annual Quality Improvement Plan

To continue participating in BrightStars programs must submit a renewal application and be re-assessed on the third year of BrightStars participation.