TALLADEGA -- Talladega’s Frank Curry Child Development Center has just been awarded a third star from the Department of Human Resources and the University of Alabama.
“Alabama Quality STARS, Alabama’s quality rating and improvement system, is part of a national systematic approach to assess, improve and communicate the levels of quality in early care and education programs,” according to a brochure. “The STARS standards represent an early care and education program’s quality above state minimum requirements."
“Alabama Quality Stars is a five Star building block system. Programs must meet all standards at a Star level before moving on to the next level.”
Those qualifications cover everything from staff qualifications and professional development, management and administrative practices, learning environment and curriculum, and family involvement and community partnerships.
Since the program began in 2016, only 27 of Alabama’s 998 licensed day care centers have earned one or more Stars, and only about half a dozen have earned three or more.
Talladega, Clay, Randolph (TCR) Child Care operates the day care at Frank Curry Child Development Center.
“A three may not sound like a lot, but it is, especially for this rural area,” said Kay Jennings of TCR Child Care. “Per the Department of Human Resources, within the state of Alabama, there are only 27 child development centers participating in this quality initiative, and of this 27, only six centers are ranked as high as a three Star, and only two go above a three to a four. The Star system is a rating scale that shows licensed child care centers are meeting and surpassing the minimum standards.”
Frank Curry Center Director Jamie Lang said the facility was part of the Stars pilot program and began with a one Star rating, which indicates it was already exceeding the state minimum standards. The third Star, which also encompasses the requirements of one and two Star facilities, was awarded last month.
“The credit really goes to the staff,” Lang said. “They worked really hard on this, and it would not have happened without them. I should also mention all the support we got from TCR, but the staff really worked hard to create this distinction, and I’m really proud of them.”
Frank Curry also operates a pre-kindergarten class in cooperation with the Talladega Housing Authority. The pre-k is also covered in the new rating, Lang said.