In January 2017, QRIS will become Spark! Over the next few months you’ll see important changes in our name, logo and the beginning of the process to update standards and benefits to providers, partners and families.
We have been thinking and working on improvements to the Spark program in response to input and feedback from early care and education providers, parents and from our community partners. Over the next several months, you’ll see important updates (and not just the name!) in our quality program:
- Clarity on the tiers
- Streamlined language
- Simplified structure—fewer moving pieces and parts
- The potential to get partial credits or points for the quality work
- Languages translations
- Clarified professional qualifications for teachers
- Improvements in the ways we support and recognize providers’ work and programs, including financial incentives and recognition, referrals and additional training and professional development opportunities
To strengthen this work, we knew we needed a more welcoming and memorable brand that represents the dedication, accessibility and high quality of our program. Our goal is to provide professional development and inspiration for more providers, and to help more families find the care they need.
In comes Spark! Let me tell you more about it.
We started this work with clear guiding principles. They are:
- The creation of value for quality care is essential.
- Emphasis is on continuous improvement and growth rather than ratings.
- Education about the importance of early care in the lives of children is an important step in ensuring quality care.
- There is an explicit focus on equity, diversity and inclusion.
- The profession of early care and child care must be elevated and valued.
A “Spark” is the small, but mighty flicker at the start of something great. It’s a symbol of potential, of all that’s to come for the providers and families we support. It’s a reminder that our program is the inspiration for educators and parents to strive to do their best for their kids.
It’s crisp, memorable and professional yet playful. It’s not just me saying these things. We tested the name, logo and messages with partners, providers and parents in Malheur, Linn/Benton and Multnomah Counties and they told us the same.
When you look at our new logo, you’ll see that the “k” in “Spark” has five radiating bands of color. This means many things to people who have given us input:
- a spark (as in a tiny flame)
- a beacon of light
- a rainbow
- a spectrum or continuum in the path of learning
For our colors, our design team chose the five base colors to be uplifting and present the spectrum of opportunity for growth within the program. They reflect the stages in the rating system.
The type for the tagline is simple, which is important, since we’ll use it in 6 languages (English, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese). Our name will remain Spark in every language, and the tagline will be customized. The simple type works well for the various lengths and characters in other languages.
We’re very excited about this change. We think it’s going to help us reach and connect with providers and parents in a more accessible way. Our partners who have participated in the development of this new brand have been excited to hear about the changes coming.
This month we’re creating a small set of new materials under the Spark umbrella to help partners––Early Learning Hubs, Early Learning Council, CCR&Rs and others –– begin to talk about Spark. We are creating materials that will allow partners to easily co-brand communication materials, should they choose. As we move forward with program updates, we will be using the Spark name and regularly communicating with partners and current providers to keep you informed and to continue to receive valuable input.