The Full-Rating Pathway is available to all licensed family child care and center-based programs, including tribally licensed programs, wanting to earn a One-, Two-, Three- or Four-Star Rating. Programs must be in good standing with state or county licensing, or with a tribal government to participate. Programs can sign up for Parent Aware up to six months before starting a Full-Rating Cohort. Cohorts are six months long and start on January 1 or July 1 each year.
Programs can also choose to receive 20-60 hours of free Quality Coaching by participating in the Building Quality for six to 12 months to learn and implement kindergarten readiness best practices before joining a Full-Rating Cohort. Each option offers a different level of Quality Improvement Supports.
The Accelerated Pathway is a streamlined process to earn a Four–Star Rating, and is available to licensed accredited child care, public school prekindergarten programs, and license-exempt charter schools recognized by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).
These programs already meet or exceed most of the best practices required for a Rating, so they are able to move through the Rating process more quickly. Eligible programs can apply anytime.
Head Start center-based programs and their partners, Early Head Start center-based programs and their partners, and voluntary prekindergarten programs are eligible to receive a Four-Star Rating through the Automatic Pathway. These programs are rigorously monitored on a regular basis and must meet federal regulations that match or exceed best practices required for a Parent Aware Rating.
School districts and charter schools that receive voluntary prekindergarten funding are eligible to earn a Four-Star Rating through the Automatic Pathway. The application for a Rating through the Automatic Pathway is embedded in the annual voluntary prekindergarten application process. Oversight and guidance is provided by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in accordance with MN Statute 124D.151.
The Expedited Pathway is designed specifically for owners who oversee multi-site centers with Three- or Four-Star Ratings and are expanding to offer child care in additional locations. Expedited Ratings are available to licensed child care centers that:
Eligible programs that apply will receive a Three- or Four-Star Parent Aware Rating that is valid for two years as long as programs meet two indicators, as described in the Expedited Pathway Quality Documentation Portfolio within six months of receiving the Expedited Rating: