Sonoma County Office of Education

Child Care Planning Council


Assessment Services in Sonoma County

Quality Counts is the Quality Improvement and Rating System (QIRS) for early care and education programs in Sonoma County. Quality Counts Assessment services are administered by the Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County (CCPC). CCPC contracts with Assessors who have been trained to provide objective, reliable observations using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) tools.

Sonoma Quality Counts (QIRS) observes early care and education programs countywide and out of county, as needed, using the Environment Rating Scales (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observation tools.

Who is Assessed in Sonoma County?
Any program participating in Quality Counts is required to have an external assessment.

How Often is an Assessment Required?
Programs participating in Quality Counts are required to be assessed every two years. The scales used for the assessment will be one of the following:

ERS Scales

  • Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R)
  • Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R)
  • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised(ECERS-R)
AND One of the following:

CLASS Scales
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System Pre-K (CLASS Pre-K)
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System Toddler (CLASS Toddler)
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System Toddler (CLASS Infant)

The Environment Ratings Scales measure environmental quality in the classroom. Each scale is used in care environments that serve children of various age groups and settings as described below:

  • FCCERS-R is used in family child care programs serving children ages birth through school age.
  • ITERS-R is used in center-based child care programs serving children ages birth through 30 months.
  • ECERS-R is used in center-based child care programs serving children ages 30 months to five years.
Please be sure to review the Resource Handouts found in the Resources tab before your assessment.

The assessment process consists of three steps:

Step 1: An assessor will be in contact with you 24 hours prior to the observation.

Step 2: Conduct observation - an assessor will observe your program a minimum of three hours; interview required (approximately 30-45 minutes)

Step 3: As part of Quality Counts you will be assigned a Coach; your Coach will be in contact with the lead teacher/director/provider in approximately 2-4 weeks to review your assessment results with you. The Coach will go over the strengths and areas of improvement in your program. Methods for improvement will be addressed by your assigned Coach.

Prior to your ERS Assessment

It is important that you review the Resource Handouts provided to you carefully prior to your ERS assessment. Additionally, we would like to encourage you to review the ERS tools, and to visit www.ersi.info to learn more about the Environmental Rating Scales as well as access any Updated Notes for Clarification.

What are Updated Notes for Clarification?

Updated Notes for Clarification were developed by Thelma Harms and Debby Cryer (the original authors of the scales) to provide additional information to help in accurate scoring as needed. Updated Notes for Clarification are posted on the Environment Rating Scales Institute webpage when there are new updates affecting our interpretation and scoring of the scales. It is important to check the webpage periodically for updates and to reference them as needed.

What to expect during your ERS Assessment

  • The assessor will arrive at the child care program to conduct an Environment Rating Scale (ERS) assessment (approximately 3 hours).
  • Photographs may be taken during the observation (children will not be photographed).
  • Upon arrival, the Assessor will ask you some questions regarding the program and schedule.
  • More than 50% of the children enrolled in the classroom/family child care home (FCCH) must be present in order to conduct the assessment.
  • The Assessor will spend most of the time observing the facilities, and will do so in a non-obtrusive manner, so as to not disrupt the flow of activity.
  • The Assessor cannot be counted in the staff ratios
  • At the end of the observation, the Assessor will conduct an interview to gather additional information about the program (approximately 30-45 minutes)

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) measures the quality of teacher/child interactions using one of the following tools:

  • CLASS Infant is used in settings serving children birth to 18 months
  • CLASS Toddler is used in settings serving children 15 to 36 months
  • CLASS Pre-K is used in settings serving children 3 to 5 years


The assessment process consists of three steps:

Step 1: An assessor will be in contact with you 24 hours prior to the observation.

Step 2: Conduct observation - an assessor will observe your program approximately 2-3hrs

Step 3: Receive report - As part of Quality Counts you will be assigned a Coach; your Coach will be in contact with the lead teacher/director/provider in approximately 2-4 weeks to review your assessment results with you.The Coach will go over the strengths and areas of improvement in your program. Methods for improvement will be addressed by your assigned Coach.

  • The Assessor will arrive at the child care program to conduct a Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) observation (approximately 2-3 hours).
  • Photographs may be taken during the observation (children will not be photographed).
  • The Assessor will use the appropriate CLASS scale based on the age range or the children enrolled in your program. In family child care it is likely that a mixed age group will be present. In this case the observer will use the scale requested by the requesting agency or will utilize two scales to measure the range of interactions in both scales.
  • For Centers, a minimum of 4 children enrolled are required to be present during the assessment
  • For Family Child Care Homes, a minimum of one child is required to be present during the assessment

Environment Rating Scales Institutes (ERSI) – information related to the Environment Rating Scales http://www.ersi.info/

Teachstone and CLASS Materials – Information related to the Classroom Assessment Scoring System http://teachstone.com/

Resource Handouts

Diapering and Handwashing

Meal guide ages 1-12

Meal guide infant-toddler | Espanol

Playground guidelines | Espanol

Table washing

Supervision Tips

ERS and CLASS assessments are also available on a Fee for Service basis. The cost for an ERS assessment is $600 and the cost for a CLASS assessment is $450 (rate includes observation and report; does not include mileage). For more information please contact smarron@scoe.org or 707.524.2639.

 
Quality Counts Assessors

Gateway to Quality was first launched in 2008 and is formerly known as a mini-grant program that served child care providers and early childhood educators who had previously received a First 5 Sonoma County mini-grant. As of January, 2016 the Gateway to Quality Mini-grant program will no longer exist, however assessors will continue to provide externals assessments for Quality Counts. The Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County contracts with 6 reliably trained consultants to provide external assessments using the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) in Sonoma and other neighboring counties.

Sharon CeasareSharon Caesare: Sharon Caesare has been working in the field of Child Development for over 20 years. She has worked as a Teacher, Program Director, Resource Specialist and Consultant. In the past, she served as a Validator for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). She has been working with Quality Counts (formerly Gateway to Quality) as an Assessor since it began in 2008. She is a member of NAEYC and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Sonoma Community Child Care Council (4c's). She is married and lives in Santa Rosa with her husband and three daughters.

Robyn FisherRobyn Fisher-Tachouet: Robyn Fisher-Tachouet has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for almost 30 years. She knew from the time she was 8 years old that working with young children was her passion. Professionally, she was the Site Director and Head Teacher for two different Sonoma County schools each for ten years. She has been an Assessor for Quality Counts, formerly G2Q, since 2008. In addition, she worked as a Selection Committee Member for the Early Childhood Education Program at Santa Rosa Junior College for 12 years. As an East Coast transplant, she has been fortunate enough to have lived in this beautiful area for most of her adult life and is the proud the mom of two.

Lisa GrocottLisa Grocott: Lisa Grocott has worked in the Early Care and Education field for the last twenty years and is currently the Director of the Head Start Program in Sonoma County. Her passion around quality services for children and families comes from the knowledge that investment in the early years of a child's life provides a lifetime of returns! She has been the ERS Anchor for Sonoma County's quality improvement efforts since 2008. She says the best part of this role is the ability to assist programs in reaching their full potential in meeting the needs of the children that they serve.

Jynx LopezJynx Lopez: Jynx Lopez has been working in the early childhood education field for 28 years. She was a family childcare provider for eight years and at STARS Preschool for 20 years where she is currently the owner and director. She also teaches in the Early Childhood Education field at Sonoma State University. She has been an assessor for Quality Counts (formerly Gateway to Quality) for nine years. She was fortunate in that she was originally trained by Thelma Harms on the ECERS tool. She is a mother of two sons and three beautiful grandchildren. She is also on the Quality Counts Consortium where she is proud to say she is a part of creating and supporting Quality Counts in Sonoma County.

Kaye Moore, CCPC Program Assistant
(707) 524-2658, kmoore@scoe.org