By LISA M. HOFFMANN
KINGSFORD - The Department of Early Childhood at the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District has been notified of its status as a 5-Star Program based on the Great Start to Quality Rating System.
Casey McCormick, director of the Early Childhood Department at the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District, is shown at the tot lot at the ISD offices in Kingsford. The department has been awarded a 5 Star based on Great Start to Quality Rating System.
The Great Start to Quality Rating System is a state-wide initiative that is designed to improve early childhood development services and outcomes for Michigan's families.
The Great Start to Quality Rating System helps early childhood educators; and those working in licensed child care, pre-k, family homes and pre-school programs such as Head Start and Great Start Readiness to improve the quality of their programs while also helping families find the best early learning settings for their children.
Casey McCormick, director of Early Childhood Education, said this rating demonstrates the quality of programming that is being offered through the district's Headstart and Great Start Readiness programs.
"It helps parents in the community who have preschool age children identify a program that is considered to be of high quality. It really gives parents a good sense of the quality of our program," McCormick said.
The rating system is tied to Michigan's quality standards for early learning programs, awarding quality stars from one to five, with five being the highest quality.
McCormick said each of the Department of Early Childhood's four early learning centers was awarded a 5-Star status following a rigorous assessment process.
The Quality Rating System is an excellent way for families to identify the quality of a child care or pre-school program they may be interested in.
"I feel that this rating shows the high quality of staff within the department of early childhood and encourage families to apply for preschool opportunities for their child," McCormick said.
This is the first time the DI-ISD received this 5-Star Rating. This is also the first time this rating system has been put in place.
"This is new to Michigan this past year, so this was our first opportunity to be rated as program, and resulted in 5 Stars in all four programs," McCormick said.
The Department of Early Childhood has an early learning center in Iron River, Kingsford, Norway and North Dickinson.
Head Start is a federally funded pre-school program serving children ages three and four, while Great Start Readiness is a state funded pre-school program serving children that have turned four years of age by Dec. 1, 2012.
The Department of Early Childhood utilizes the High/Scope Curriculum, which is research based and is grounded in developmentally appropriate practice.
Applications for the current program year are still being accepted.
To obtain an application, visit diisd.org or call 779-2695.
Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.