Bright Spot: PASO (Providers Advancing School Outcomes)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This bright spot was originally published in the 100 Million Healthier Lives Change Library and is brought to you through partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.


Detailed Description

Providers Advancing School Outcomes (PASO) improves the quality of care provided by home-based Spanish-only-speaking family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) child care providers who have had little or no training in early childhood education. Prior UWWC-facilitated cohorts have worked with providers in Greeley (4 cohorts with 65 total participants) and Fort Lupton (2 cohorts with 40 participants), impacting 250+ children and their parents (this only includes children in the providers' care during their time in PASO and not all of the families they continue to impact presently). PASO participants are female, unlicensed child care providers who typically care for 1-5 children of their friends, family, or neighbors. Participants face the challenge of speaking only Spanish and having very little access to community resources. They often have scant support in their career from their spouses/partners and families. Transportation to attend PASO classes is regularly a challenge. A major focus of the program, in addition to improving the quality of care a participant provides, is to increase the women's confidence and self-esteem. After graduation, participants have increased self-efficacy and understand the importance of the work they do. They are more passionate about their work, and driven to continue their improvement, be it formal education, obtaining their CDA credential, attending more professional development opportunities, and/or continuing to build their professional support network. Each of the PASO-trained women is a bright spot, as well as the UWWC staff that oversee the program.

Expected Outcomes

  1. Providers are equipped with increased knowledge of how to provide a high quality early care and education setting so Latino children will enter school ready to learn.
  2. A community-based training for FFN providers is developed with resource sharing, linkages, support, qualified personnel, and local planning, so that providers have a concrete network of colleagues and professional consultants on whom they can rely for day-to-day support.
  3. Parents are equipped with the knowledge of the importance of early childhood development so they are involved and effective with their children's early learning at home and at school, showing increased involvement in their child's early learning.


Practice-tested bright spot (good evidence)

Key Principles

A major focus of the program (in addition to improving the quality of care a participant provides) is to increase the women's confidence and self-esteem.

Key Lessons Learned

  1. Culturally relevant staff: It's incredibly important that the all PASO staff have the cultural knowledge and relationships to make this program successful, especially the Trainer/Tia
  2. Management vs. Implementation Team: It is very important that the Coordinator that runs this program has different skills and abilities. It is equally important to have PASO Trainer/Tia's that know the community and have relationships within the community, as it is for the lead staff to have good organizational and grant reporting skills. The program is expensive and typically requires braided funding to run each cohort. Each funder wants to see different outcomes and requires different reports. It's imperative that the Coordinator can manage the complexity of braided funding.

Cost Details

A rough budget: $130,900 staffing, $16,100 food for sessions and events, $6,100 supplies and training materials, $2,000 staff development/self care, $20,000 quality improvement supplies, $1,200 promotion materials, $9,100 space rental for trainings and events, $2,100 event supplies, $1,200 storage space for materials, $1,000 copy/printing/postage, $2,000 technology, $4,300 milage for staff to trainings and events and home visits, $13,400 child care at trainings and events, $6,800 teachers for special trainings such as First Aid/CPR, $6,700 CDA certification, $2,000 translation service, $1, 000 evaluation, $44,300 shared and occupancy (ie. office space, technology, management, financial services, etc.).

Key Steps for Implementation

During the 10-month program participants complete 120 hours of early childhood training based on the Child Development Associate (CDA) curriculum. Topics include: child development principles (cognitive, language/literacy, social-emotional, physical/motor), school readiness, child safety, nutrition, learning environment, etc. Child care is provided at each session using a PASO-style curriculum, creating a learning laboratory.

In addition to the classroom, each participant receives 2 monthly visits from a PASO staff member. This mentor observes the provider's child interactions, reinforces and models activities taught in class, and provides support to ensure clarity and understanding. Quality improvement supplies such as books, educational toys, and a childproofing kit are provided at these visits demonstrating appropriate usage. Each cohort also participates in 4 events that build the FFN community, celebrate provider achievements, encourage family buy-in, nurture family unity, increase parental involvement, and share provider learning. One of these events is the Parent Conference, which is planned/delivered by the current PASO cohort providers; teaching the parents of the children they care for about the early childhood development and care best practices about which they are learning increases provider knowledge retention and results in a more sustainable behavior change (while simultaneously teaching parents.) Finally, after graduation PASO staff work with interested participants to attain CDA credentialing.

Policies, Laws and Regulations

PASO staff will help any participants who wish to become licensed, however that has not occurred to date. FFN providers are unlicensed, or "exempt," child care providers.

Required Staffing (FTEs)

Currently PASO utilizes 3.7 FTE; this has changed in the past depending on funding. At bare minimum|the program requires 1 FTE program coordinator and 1 FTE trainer.

Special Funding

This program is particularly expensive, and can only be completed with adequate funding. Each year-long PASO cohort costs roughly $270,000.


The Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition founded the program and provided training for PASO. The program's trainers need to be trained before they can teach the classes and do the home visits.

Types of Staff

Spanish speaking women who have strong ties to the Latina community and have child care provision experience. Two current staff members are past PASO participants who graduated the program. Staffing is possibly the most critical component as the program is extremely relationship-based - a high level of trust needs to be formed with participants. No specific education level or background is required; some combination of experience and education in child care is highly desireable.

Return on Investment Details

PASO collaborates with 3 other FFN training programs in the state-including the Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, which founded the PASO program-and attends quarterly meetings to share ideas and learning. PASO also collaborates with local organizations to connect participants and families in need to available resources. Additionally, PASO works with community partners who provide specialized trainings for the providers including First Aid, CPR, Medication Administration, Pre-Licensing, and Universal Precautions.

Evaluation Strategies and Data Collection Tools

PASO staff evaluate outcomes using 3 data points:

  1. Provider Assessment Tool (PAT): Providers complete the PAT 3 times during the 10 month training, administered by the program coordinator. PAT measures whether participants demonstrate learning over time in 6 competencies and 13 content areas of the CDA. According to a report by an independent evaluator, past cohorts' PAT scores "demonstrate significant learning over time for the thirteen content areas." The greatest area of growth in the last study was in self-esteem, illustrating the ability to make and implement better decisions; the providers also demonstrated a significant increase in knowledge between the beginning of the CDA training and completion, illustrating growth over time.
  2. Protocol to Estimate Progress of Environment and Interaction (PEPEI): The PEPEI is a rubric-based observation tool developed according to quality child care environment best practices; it scores the progress/changes of each provider's development in the home learning environment. The PEPEI assesses all 13 functional areas within the 6 competency standards of the CDA. The PEPEI is administered by the FFN associate every 3 months.
  3. Parent/Provider Assessment of School Readiness (PASR): PASO staff administers and parents and providers complete the PASR at program beginning and end to gauge strengths and weaknesses in how providers and parents are supporting a child's school readiness. *Additionally, a pre/post evaluation is completed by each participant after each class session. This data is used to evaluate the effectiveness of that particular session, as well as to gauge interest and how applicable the content is.

Outcome Measures

Evaluations of cohorts to-date show that PASO programming increases:

  • Quality of the early childhood learning environment
  • Child care provider early childhood education knowledge base
  • Provider participant self-esteem

Process Measures

Output data recorded by PASO staff:

  • Number of provider classes held
  • Attendance at classes
  • Families/children served
  • Hours each provider cares for each child
  • PASO wait list.


 Related Topics

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Early Childhood Education

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Hispanic and Latinx People