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Sacramento County Office of Education Sacramento County Office of Education

Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC)

​​​​Early Learning

Primary Contacts​

Natalie Woods Andrews, Ed.D., Director
(916) 228-2506

Ramee Serwanga, Project Specialist
(916) 228-2463

Silvia Cane, Project Specialist
(916) 228-2018

California was one of nine states to win a federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTT-ELC) to improve early learning systems and ensure children are ready to succeed in kindergarten, particularly those most in need. Sacramento County is one of 16 counties and 17 agencies that are participating in California's RTT-ELC. The RTT-ELC grant allows Sacramento County the ability to implement a Quality Rating Improvement System.

Sacramento County Office of Education is partnering with 210 early learning programs to implement the Quality Rating and Improvement System throughout Sacramento County. Sacramento County is mentoring Placer, Nevada, and Sierra Counties on the implementation of the Quality Rating and Improvement System.

A Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is a set of ratings graduated by a level of quality and used to assess early learning and care programs. QRIS consist of a quality continuum framework with five tiers that build upon the three statewide common tiers. The tiers contain achievable goals for improving program quality based the following:

  • Assessing child development and school readiness
  • Improving teacher effectiveness
  • Improving the quality and safety of learning environments
  • Guides providers in making quality enhancements to their programs
  • Provides objective ratings that help families identify quality programs
  • Provides policymakers with data and information to increase support for early care and education

This is a voluntary three-year pilot, which must be inclusive of both private and public programs. Programs will receive the following supports:

  • Provides on-site consultation and support to assist programs to navigate through the tiers
  • Provides access to professional development and higher education
  • Provides independent Environmental Rating Scales (ERS) assessments
  • Provides independent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) ratings
  • Creates and supports strong family involvement in programs
  • Provides support to directors and owners of programs
  • Receive support for early identification and intervention services for children
  • Become part of a learning community that will provide continuous support and resources


Participants will be selected from the following types of early learning programs:

  • Private child care centers and family child care homes
  • Head Start/Early Head Start
  • School Districts
  • Public Preschools
  • State-funded Preschool/Child Care
  • First 5 Sacramento early learning preschools


Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge will coordinate with existing early learning programs such as:

  • Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Education Standards (CARES)
  • Quality Child Care Collaborative (QCCC)
  • Preschool Bridging Model Plus (PBM Plus)
  • First 5 School Readiness Child Signature Program (CSP)
  • Preschools SHINE
  • California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN)

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Last Modified: 6/8/2017 2:42 PM