SERK is one of six regional keys working in partnership with the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to develop and implement an integrated and coordinated system of program quality improvements and professional development supports for early childhood education.
As the Southeast Regional Key, PHMC offers technical assistance and professional development to childcare providers in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery Counties through specialized staff as well as subcontractors. PHMC also evaluates providers to assess their quality levels based on the Keystone STARS system, an initiative of OCDEL to improve, support and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. Participating providers are ranked on a scale from STARS Level 1 to STARS Level 4, with Level 4 representing the highest level of quality. Providers receive grants or merit awards from SERK for achievement of higher STARS Levels. They also receive higher subsidy rates through the state’s Child Care Subsidy program. Keystone STARS is managed through a partnership among OCDEL and the Pennsylvania and Regional Keys.