900 South Pine Street
Spartanburg, SC 29302
First Steps

“The Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM) is a deep believer in the work of Quality Counts.
It is the launch pad for the transformation SAM is pursuing: all children in Spartanburg County educated to the level of their full potential … cradle to career.”

John C. Stockwell, PhD, Executive Director, Spartanburg Academic Movement

Our Story

Chapter 1: Tackling Big Questions for South Carolina’s Youngest Citizens

Quality Counts represents a public-private partnership that was initiated by a group of key stakeholders in the Upstate of South Carolina including Spartanburg County First Steps, Greenville County First Steps, South Carolina First Steps, Greenville United Way, United Way of the Piedmont, and the Mary Black Foundation. The group met for more than 18 months searching for answers to the big question of how to improve school readiness in the Upstate. They began asking: Does the quality of early care and education directly relate to school readiness? Can an initiative create, support and sustain high quality early care and education programs?

Chapter 2: Finding the Answers

Three of the most well-known studies in the field of early childhood development are the Perry Preschool Project, the Chicago-Parent Child, and the Abecedarian Project. All three of these longitudinal studies resulted in research that supported children who participated in high quality learning environments were more likely to be prepared for school success.

Chapter 3: Quality Counts is Created

Identifying the potential of the public-private partnership, Spartanburg County First Steps and the Mary Black Foundation worked together to create a solution designed for Spartanburg County to address school readiness. The result was the development, pilot, and implementation of Quality Counts.

Chapter 4: Bringing Quality to a Child Care Program Near You

Today, Quality Counts is steadily growing in Spartanburg County increasing from 30% of eligible programs participating in 2013 to more than 40% involved in 2014. This directly translates to:

• Every Monday-Friday, more than 2000 children in child care, birth to 5 years of age, benefit from quality enhanced learning environments.
• More than 400 directors and teachers are invested in a Quality Improvement Plan using a Continuous Quality Improvement framework and achievable goals that support quality environments.
• More than 400 directors and teachers attended 64 hours of high quality training on best practice taught by college professors, SC Certified Trainers, and SC Master Certified Trainers this past year.
• Thirty-six early care and education programs collectively received more than 1900 hours of technical assistance from highly qualified Quality Counts coaches.

Chapter 5: To Be Continued . . .

Practice and policy implications from four decades of research make it clear that by creating and implementing effective early childhood programs, like Quality Counts does, we can provide children with a solid foundation that will result in a productive future and in turn build a stronger, more prosperous community!