University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development
Department of Human Development & Family Studies
Delaware Department of Education
Delaware Office of Early Learning
Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood

Stars Program Spotlights

We are proud of all of the early childhood and school-age care educators in Delaware, for opening their doors to young children and providing early learning and nurturing to our youngest citizens. We enjoy celebrating the achievements and success of our shining stars. Send us pictures and a brief description of your program, why you chose early childhood as a profession, what you love about early learning and caring for children, how you connect with families and your community, and we will “Spotlight” you! Please send to

Program Spotlight: Raising Hope Child Care Center

Raising Hope Child Care Center is an early childhood center located in Newark, Delaware. They currently serve 26 children including toddlers, preschoolers, prekindergarteners, and school-age children. The center welcomes and diligently works with a diverse population of children including those with IEPs, IFSPs, Dual Language Learning, and Behavior Management Plans. Raising Hope Child Care Center originally started in Delaware Stars in 2013 as part of a Stars Plus cohort. While participating in the cohort, staff worked on creating environments consistent with the Environment Rating Scales, completing the Aim for Excellence program to earn the Administration credential, participating in Curriculum & Assessment Specialty TA, and implementing the Creative Curriculum. As a result, the center advanced from Star Level 2 to Star Level 4 in 2015.

In July 2016, Raising Hope Child Care Center underwent significant program changes including new ownership, a new administrator, entirely new staff, and even new students. Neither the administrator nor the staff had prior experience at a Delaware Stars program. Due to the center’s significant program changes, Raising Hope was required to re-verify their star level. In order to prepare, staff at the center established classroom-level action plan items focused on classroom management, supervision, interactions and access to many and varied materials. Additionally, the staff and administrator worked diligently to learn the Environmental Rating Scales – staff attended evening trainings on each scale as well as met with their DE Stars Technical Assistant to review individually. Classrooms also underwent weekly observations and debriefings to monitor and reflect on their improvements. The administrator, Brigitte Minks, worked tirelessly on getting her new staff up and running, increasing enrollment, and learning the Delaware Stars standards for verification. Staff members completed their action plan items, and the program was able to request verification within 4 months! When the classroom ERS scores were shared, they were very pleasantly surprised. Every classroom earned scores in the SL5 range! Since the center still has essential standards to meet, they verified at a Star Level 3. The program celebrated their overall success and also focused on those improvements made in the classrooms, as recognized by their fantastic assessment scores.

Raising Hope Child Care Center staff members have already set a goal to be able to request verification to move to a higher star level, and they are currently working very hard on completing requirements to meet the Essential Standards. Staff are working with a Curriculum & Assessment TA to help staff focus on learning how to fully implement the Creative Curriculum. Additionally, Ms. Minks will be taking courses to achieve both the Administration and Curriculum & Assessment Credentials. This program demonstrates a true commitment to continuous quality improvement. A great success story of hard work paying off!

from left to right: Kathy Garrett, Grace Grabowski, Briana Threadgill, Brigitte Minks, Ryan White and Rosetta Elgendy

If you are thinking about joining Delaware Stars or would like to talk to someone about joining, please contact us at 302-831-3239 or email

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Thank you for visiting the Delaware Stars for Early Success website. Delaware Stars is a program funded and administered by Delaware Department of Education, managed by the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (DIEEC) in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.