Daycares earn four stars

Pictured from left are Chiniqua Hill, Pre-School for Little Zebras; Dr. Jennifer Quong, Texas Rising Star Mentor; Julie Craig, Child Care Contracts Manager, Workforce Solutions Texoma; Mary McDowell, Children's Tree Learning Center; Beverly Bethel, Footsteps and Fingerprints; Angela Magers, Montessori Academy of North Texas; Haleen Parrish, School Zone Academy; Cassie Troxtell, School Zone Academy; Sheila Smith, Lil Leopards Learning Ladder; and Kitie Hermes, Lil Leopards Learning Ladder.

Two daycare providers in Gainesville and Whitesboro each received a $2,750 incentive recently as a reward for reaching the highest level in the state’s voluntary childcare certification program.

The daycares were designated four-star providers in the Texas Rising Star program. The quality accreditation program assesses childcare facilities based on five categories and awards points for exceeding minimum standards at various levels.

Lil Leopards Learning Ladder at Edison Elementary and The Children’s Tree Learning Center in Whitesboro were among six childcare centers in Cooke, Grayson and Fannin counties to earn the four-star level, according to a press release from Texoma Workforce Solutions, which runs the Texas Rising Star program in those counties.

Each four-star daycare received a $2,750 incentive from Texoma Workforce Solutions. One other daycare, in Sherman, reached the three-star level and received a $2,000 incentive, according to the press release.

The incentive is expected to be used to help the daycares maintain their current accreditation level or reach a higher level, if applicable, the release indicated. Childcare providers are reassessed annually to ensure they still meet the standards for their accreditation level.

Childcare centers are assessed in five categories: director and staff qualifications and training; caregiver-child interactions; curriculum; nutrition and indoor/outdoor activities; and parent involvement and education.

The Texas Rising Star program has three levels of accreditation — two stars, three stars and four stars. Three other facilities in the region are working toward their accreditation in the program, according to the workforce agency.