Types of TRS Program Assessments
Texas Rising Star conducts various types of on-site visits to assess and monitor ongoing quality of TRS providers.
Initial Certification Assessment
The Initial Certification Assessment is a full, on-site assessment of all TRS measures. Required measures such as written policies regarding nutrition and parent engagement are verified. Points-based measures involving teachers, such as caregiver-child interactions, are assessed in observation blocks (typically one to one and a half hours per classroom).
TRS assessors will assess these classrooms using the Facility and age-appropriate Classroom Assessment Record Forms (available for review here) and the scores will be calculated to determine the overall star level designation. Scores are not calculated on-site; TRS assessors enter assessment ratings into the online TRS Assessment tool, which generates the final score. The online system then uses the scores to generate and refine technical assistance plans. Click here for more information about scoring.
Annual Unannounced Monitoring Visit
During the unannounced on-site visit TRS staff will observe 50% of the classrooms, including at least one classroom for each age group, plus any new classroom added since the previous visit. Priority for observations will be classrooms with caregiver turnover. TRS staff will also complete the appropriate TRS Screening Form prior to the visit.
TRS assessors will assess these classrooms using the full TRS assessment tool and the scores will be calculated; however, the results of the annual monitoring will not affect the provider’s star level rating. Rather, the scores are used to generate and refine technical assistance plans, or, if deficiencies in TRS standards are found, are used in service improvement agreements. More information on technical assistance and service improvement agreements can be found on this webpage.
Annual monitoring can also result in the observation of significant improvements in the provider’s quality of care. TRS staff will work with the director to determine if a full assessment to increase the star level is appropriate in these cases (see Star Level Evaluation below).
If, during the on-site visit, TRS staff discovers that a change in director was not reported immediately as required and the current director does not meet the providers’ current star level, then the star level will be determined at the on-site visit using the current director’s qualifications (see Ongoing Responsibilities of the TRS Provider below).
The Recertification Assessment will occur no later than three years to the month of the previous full site assessment and certification. This assessment mirrors the Initial Certification Assessment in that 100% of classrooms are assessed, all required measures are verified, and all points-based measures are scored. The provider’s star level designation prior to the Recertification Assessment does not affect the assessment result; providers may lose, gain, or maintain a star level rating and its respective reimbursement rate.
Star Level Evaluation
A provider may make significant improvements across TRS measures that could result in a higher star level designation upon reassessment. In these cases, the provider may request a Star Level Evaluation to determine the new star rating. Star Level Evaluations are conducted upon mutual agreement between the TRS provider and the local workforce development Board and can occur at any time. Like the Initial Certification Assessment and the Recertification Assessment, Star Level Evaluations are full, on-site assessments of all classrooms.
Because the Star Level Evaluation is a full site assessment that results in a new star level designation, the three-year recertification cycle resets to the date of the Star Level Evaluation (i.e., the date of the Initial Certification Assessment is no longer used to determine the recertification date).
Facility Expansion or Split Assessment
Facility expansions are defined as a facility continuing to operate at an existing location with the existing classrooms and age groups served, while the owner/provider opens a new facility within the same county to expand and add classrooms or age groups served. Facility expansions require a new director at either the existing or new facility.
Facility splits are defined as a facility continuing to operate at an existing location and the owner/provider opening a new facility within the county and moving a subset of the staff and the children served to the new facility.
Both facility expansions and facility splits involve establishing a new director at either the existing or new location. A facility split also involves a modification of the current classroom structure and staffing. For licensing purposes, CCL considers both facility expansions and facility splits to be new facilities.
A TRS provider that expands or splits its facility within the same county is treated as a new facility and requires a new permanent license in order to begin the TRS-certification process. Licensing history for the certification will be based on CCL monitoring conducted while the facility was operating under the initial license.
Facility Move Assessment
Facility moves are defined as a facility closing and relocating to a new location within the same city, zip code, or county in which the provider is currently operating. A facility move does not alter the current composition of director or staff, but may involve an increase in capacity or age groups served.
When a facility moves locations, it must initiate a new CCL facility application and obtain a new license number from CCL. A facility does not carry its 12-month licensing history with it to the new location.
A TRS provider that changes ownership or moves locations within the county or to a contiguous county and within the same city or zip code in which the provider is currently operating will retain its star level during the move and undergo a full TRS reassessment within the initial three-month period after the move. The provider’s new TRS star level will be based on the results of the full reassessment.
Facility Changes Assessment
Facility-type changes are defined as a provider changing facility type (e.g., changes from a registered child care home to a licensed child care home). The facility does not carry its 12-month licensing history to the new facility type.
Additionally, facility ownership changes usually require a new CCL facility application and for the new owner to obtain a new license number from CCL. A facility does not carry its 12-month licensing history with it to the new owner or the new facility.
A TRS provider that changes ownership or facility type will retain its star level during the change and undergo a full TRS reassessment within the initial three-month period after the change. The provider’s new TRS star level will be based on the results of the full reassessment.
Ongoing Responsibilities of the TRS Provider
In between assessments and annual monitoring visits, the TRS provider must remain in good standing with the Child Care Licensing (CCL)(i.e. not be placed on Corrective or Adverse Action).
TRS providers must also report to TRS staff immediately if there is:
- a change of director
- staff turnover that causes the TRS provider to fall below its current star level based on the provider’s completion of the Staff Qualifications and Training section of the TRS self-assessment tool.
All other staff turnover should be reported to TRS staff during their annual monitoring visits.
Reported Staff Changes
In the event of staff change, if the loss of a director or staff turnover causes the TRS provider to fall below the provider’s current star level for the Director and Staff Qualifications and Training standard, TRS requires that:
- the provider will retain its current star level for no more than six months; and
- provider staff qualifications will be reassessed by TRS staff at or before the end of the six-month period to determine appropriate star level or loss of TRS certification.
Unreported Staff Changes
If a staff change was not reported immediately, a provider’s star level will be redetermined at the annual monitoring visit using the qualifications of the facility’s new director or staff.
Section §809.135 of the TWC Child Care Rules requires local Boards to ensure a process for reconsideration of facility assessment at the Board level. The TRS program is not subject to TWC’s Integrated Complaints, Hearings, and Appeals rules (Chapter 823).
The reconsideration process may include scheduling a second assessment with the same assessor or a second visit with two assessors, or with a different assessor. The reconsideration may also involve a reassessment of a particular measure as requested by the provider. Further, local Boards can coordinate with other Board assessors for a second review of the provider. Additionally, in responding to the reconsideration request from the provider, the Board may make additional mentoring services available to the provider to assist the provider in meeting TRS standards.
Policies regarding the reconsideration process, time restrictions on requesting reconsideration, and the elements eligible for reconsideration may vary across local Boards.