Quality Rating 5: Program Improvement Plan


To meet the requirements for Accreditation and Rating Scales: Program Improvement Plan: ACR 3.5, you will submit a Program Improvement Plan and a statement about your program’s improvement process.

The Policy or Statement Builder provides a step-by-step guide for creating your statement.

Program Improvement Plan

A Program Improvement Plan is a strategic approach to make sure that children and families receive the quality care and education they expect and deserve. By gathering and analyzing assessment data from external ratings, programs take a giant step toward the ongoing improvement that leads to high quality service. As part of Maryland EXCELS, programs align their strategic improvement plans with school readiness goals that put children on a path for success.

Use these tips to begin your Program Improvement Plan:

  • Plan how you will develop your PIP. For instance, how will you gather input from families and staff? Will there be quarterly meetings, surveys, a committee, etc.? How often will you seek feedback on progress? How will you determine your priorities? The answers to these questions will help you create your process statement!
  • Find your county’s school readiness scores. What learning domains have the lowest scores? How could your program enhance learning in those domains?
  • Use your self-assessment score sheets. Highlight the categories where your program could grow. Use these categories to create your goals. Learn the specific requirements for each quality rating by Viewing the Maryland EXCELS Requirements from within a Subcategory.
  • Are you planning on becoming accredited? If so, look at the accreditation standards of your accrediting organization. Identify areas where you would like to see improvement in your program and develop a goal to achieve more quality in that area.
  • Remember quality improvement is a continuous process!

For more information on the categories used in the PIP to form your goals, read Creating a Program Improvement Plan.

Use this Resource as a guide to develop your own PIP!

Creating a Program Improvement Plan Resource, Maryland EXCELS

What does the documentation look like?

The Program Improvement Plan will address:

  • Every Domain/subscale with an Average Score below 5.00 (from MSDE-approved assessment(s) uploaded in ACR 2)
  • Accreditation standards
  • School readiness goals and objectives
  • Other program priorities

The statement will describe how your program developed and implemented a Program Improvement Plan that addresses school readiness goals and overall program improvement. This statement can be uploaded separately, or as part of the Program Improvement Plan.

Policy or Statement Builder

Develop a Program Improvement Plan Statement that describes your program’s process for program improvement. The Reflection Questions below will help you think about what you do in your program and why you do it. Once you have spent time reflecting on the questions below, you’re ready to build your Program Improvement Statement.

Reflection Questions

  1. How will the program prepare to develop the program improvement plan?
  2. How will the program gather feedback for the plan?
  3. How will the program identify the goals for the program improvement plan?
  4. What process will the program put in place to ensure forward progress on meeting the program improvement goals?
  5. How will the program use the program improvement plan for continuous quality improvement?

Once you have spent time reflecting on the questions, you have the option to download and save the Program Improvement Plan Statement and create your statement.

Do you need more time to think about writing your Program Improvement Statement? Use Writer’s Tips and Prompts to find examples and get more guidance.

Where can you learn more?