Georgetown South Early Head Start Child Development Center Receives Virginia’s Highest Quality Rating of Five Stars

(March 8, 2013)  Georgetown South Early Head Start Child Development Center is the first center in the state to earn Virginia Star Quality Initiative’s highest star rating of five stars. Georgetown South, located in Manassas, Virginia, is a program of Northern Virginia Family Service organization. Georgetown South and NVFS have been working with The Early Childhood Partnership, a non-profit early care and education organization that manages a VSQI Star Grant, to provide centers and programs with support during and after the rating process.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from VSQI, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Isha Barrie, director of the Georgetown South Early Head Start center. “This rating lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.”

Each participating program is given a rating, from one to five stars. The star rating serves as an indicator of the quality of care provided at each center and of their commitment to go beyond basic expectations and licensing requirements.

To earn the five star rating, Georgetown South went through a voluntary and extensive review process that includes documentation review and on-site classroom observations in four standard areas: teacher qualifications, interactions between teachers and students, learning environment, and instructional practices.

The Virginia Star Quality Initiative was established in 2007 through a partnership between the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Virginia Department of Social Services’ Office of Early Childhood Development to help families find high quality child care programs throughout Virginia. The Early Childhood Partnership has been working with VSQI for three years to manage the VSQI Star Grant in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

Participating centers receive feedback on their classroom interaction and access to mentorship on the principles of interacting with children in ways that support learning and development. Through the VSQI Star Grant, the Partnership provides support to programs to improve the qualifications of their teachers, including increased access and financial support for training, and professional development scholarships to teachers to continue their education about the latest research and techniques to help children prepare for Kindergarten. The Early Childhood Partnership is currently working with 20 centers, including Georgetown South, going through the rating process.

“We are so excited to be a part of Georgetown South’s success,” said Paul Schuessler, Chairman, The Early Childhood Partnership. “The Partnership is committed to elevating the quality of early child care and education in our area, and we couldn’t be more proud of that same commitment to quality at Georgetown South.”

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The Early Childhood Partnership serves early childhood centers and family providers in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. It is a partnership of public and private organizations that work together to provide training and education for early and school-age childhood professionals, to assure that parents and educators understand the importance of high-quality child care, to promote public awareness to citizens and policy makers regarding quality child care, and raise awareness in the business community of the impact of high-quality child care on both children and their working parents.