The following information is adapted from the Program Administration Scale (PAS). The PAS is an assessment tool designed to measure and improve leadership and management practices in center-based early childhood programs. The tool comprises 25 items (standards). Each standard contains 2–4 indicator strands (criteria) that are measured on a rubric of increasing quality. A brief description of each standard and the criteria included in the standard is provided here.
Staff Orientation assesses whether a program has a formal or informal orientation for new staff, whether there are written orientation procedures, and whether staff orientation is consistently implemented. Effective administrative practices include a system to ensure that orientation is a phased process, consistently implemented, and that written orientation procedures are periodically reviewed.
Supervision and Performance Appraisal considers how staff are supervised and how performance is evaluated at the center. Supervision and performance appraisal also looks at who participates in the process and what criteria are used to evaluate performance. Effective administrative practices include a system to ensure support for teaching staff utilizing classroom observations and ongoing feedback.
Staff Development assesses whether professional development opportunities are provided for all teaching, support, and administrative staff; whether the center has a policy requiring a minimum number of staff development hours each year; and whether staff are advised about publicly funded professional development opportunities. Effective administrative practices include an individualized model of staff development and a system to promote career development.
Compensation addresses whether there is a written salary scale guiding decision making about employee compensation and to whom it is available. Compensation also assesses whether the salary scale is differentiated by role, education, specialized training, years of experience, and professional credentials. Effective administrative practices include regular salary increases as well as a transparent reward system that is fair and equitable and promotes the professional growth of staff.
Benefits considers the availability and extent of different fringe benefits for staff. Benefits include health insurance, sick/personal days, vacation leave, a retirement plan, and reimbursement for professional development expenses. Effective administrative practices include an investment in the comprehensive well-being of staff promoting staff retention.
Staffing Patterns and Scheduling considers whether children are regrouped during the day, the availability of paid teacher planning time, whether staff are ever alone with children, and whether the Administrator spends time in the classroom to maintain required ratios. Effective administrative practices include a staffing plan that supports professional planning and preparation time for teachers, ensures adequate classroom coverage at all times, and promotes consistency of care for children and strong relationships with families.
Facilities Management addresses the standard operating procedures for the maintenance of the facility, whether the space meets the needs of adults working in the center, and whether the space supports effective program administration. Effective administrative practices include a system to ensure a safe and well-maintained facility that is equipped to meet the adult needs of teaching, support, and administrative staff.
Risk Management includes the components of a comprehensive risk management plan, how information about children’s medical conditions are documented, how emergency drills are implemented, and whether the staff are trained in CPR and First Aid. Effective administrative practices include systems to anticipate and respond consistently in different types of emergencies.
Internal Communications addresses the methods used to communicate information to employees, the type and frequency of staff meetings, staff involvement in planning and facilitating meetings, whether records are maintained documenting staff meeting proceedings, and whether the center has a written policy and procedures for conflict resolution. Effective administrative practices promote open and professional communication among staff and distributed leadership through frequent, inclusive, and productive staff meetings.
Screening and Identification of Special Needs assesses whether children are screened for the purpose of identifying special needs, whether the screening includes appropriate safeguards to protect against misidentification, and if families and specialists are appropriately involved. Effective administrative practices include a system to ensure collaboration with specialists when children are identified as having special needs.
Assessment in Support of Learning considers how teaching staff assess children’s learning and development, whether curriculum planning is aligned with standards for learning and development, and how the results of child assessments are used. Effective administrative practices include instructional leadership to ensure that teaching staff utilize individual child assessments to improve their teaching practice and that administrative staff utilize aggregated child assessment data for program planning and evaluation.
Budget Planning focuses on the Administrator’s involvement in the budget planning process, the components of the operating budget, and whether procedures are in place to ensure adequate cash flow. Effective administrative practices link a program needs assessment and goal setting to the annual budget planning process and include quarterly cash flow projections to assist in monitoring the organization’s financial status.
Accounting Practices looks at whether income and expense statements are generated and whether the Administrator has access to them, whether there are checks-and-balances in place to prevent fraud, and whether an independent review of accounting records is regularly conducted. Effective administrative practices include the Administrator using quarterly financial statements to monitor the fiscal status of the center.
Program Evaluation addresses the degree to which staff and families are involved in evaluating the program and how centerwide decisions are influenced by these evaluations. Effective administrative practices include a systematic process to ensure that data from family and staff evaluations are used to inform program improvement efforts.
Strategic Planning looks at whether the center has a written mission or vision statement as well as a written business or strategic plan, who was involved in the development and/or review of these documents, and how frequently these documents are reviewed. Effective administrative practices ensure multiple stakeholders’ perspectives are included in strategic planning.
Family Communications assesses how families are oriented to the center, the variety of methods used to communicate with families, and the frequency of formal conferences. Effective administrative practices include a system for ensuring open, respectful, and ongoing communication with families that values the family’s perspective and promotes a shared understanding of their children’s learning and development.
Family Support and Involvement looks at the variety of ways that staff support enrolled families and involve them in the life of the center. Effective administrative practices support active participation by families and is demonstrated by their participation in parent meetings, special events, field trips, routine classroom activities, and governing/advisory committees.
External Communications assesses the variety and quality of marketing and public relations tools utilized by the center. Effective administrative practices include utilization of a variety of different strategies to promote the center’s services and to ensure a prompt response to prospective families.
Community Outreach measures the level of involvement of the staff in local community organizations as well as early childhood professional organizations. It also measures the extent to which the center maintains positive relationships with its immediate neighbors. Effective administrative practices provide support for the Administrator and/or staff to play an active role in community and professional organizations and to build good relations within the local community.
Technological Resources assesses the center’s technological resources, including who has access to the Internet, and when access is available to teaching staff. Effective administrative practices ensure that multiple, fully functional computers are available for use by teaching and administrative staff.
Use of Technology assesses the use of word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications by administrative staff, the use of technology by teaching staff, and whether or not teaching and administrative staff have job-specific technology training. Effective administrative practices include a written technology policy that provides staff guidance on the use of social media, e-mail etiquette, personal use of the center’s technology resources, digital confidentiality, and use of media releases.
Administrator assesses the level of general education, specialized early childhood training, specialized management training, administrative experience, and professional contributions of the individual designated as the Administrator. Effective administrative practices promote an Administrator having a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, 24 semester hours of college credit in early childhood education or child development, 15 semester hours of college credit in management, three years of management experience, and making professional contributions.
Lead Teacher assesses the level of general education, specialized early childhood training, and teaching experience of the individual with the highest professional qualifications who is responsible for the care and education of an assigned group of children. Effective administrative