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IdahoSTARS continues its project to showcase the accomplishments of the highest quality child care facilities in the State. Meet real-life examples of quality child care, celebrate their successes, and see the possibilities for other child care providers reaching the same goals. 

Please join us in celebrating Dana Russell, Owner and Director of Bright Stars Child Care in Caldwell. Russell has earned a Steps to Quality, Step 5 rating and showed us that in home facilities can provide the highest in quality child care.

In this question-and-answer series with Russell from September 18, 2021, learn more about her experiences becoming recognized as a high-quality child care facility:


IdahoSTARS: What are you most proud of about your facility?

Russell: That I serve 90% first responders. I have never shut down. I have had children since birth, and they are in school now. I rarely have to advertise or pull from my waitlist.

IdahoSTARS: What are your future goals for your facility?

Russell: I would like to build an actual facility instead of being in my house and be able to serve more families.

IdahoSTARS: Can you describe your journey through the Steps to Quality program?

Russell: I started about 4 months after I opened and went through the steps yearly moving up. I have been on step 5 for over 3 years now because I don’t want to pay for accreditation at step 6. I had my person from IdahoSTARS helping me out throughout my whole journey. Heidi is a rockstar, and I couldn’t have done it without her.

IdahoSTARS: What attributes does someone need to be successful in reaching the higher steps of Steps to Quality?

Russell: Organized, persistent, focused, have time to put into the work, open minded because things can change all the time, and don’t give up.

IdahoSTARS: Knowing “success” is not only being measured by step advancement, in what ways other than a step rating have you measured your success in Steps to Quality?

Russell: Feedback from parents and staff after implementing things from Steps to Quality. If it helps my job to be easier, then it is a bonus.

IdahoSTARS: What challenges did you face to reaching the higher steps of Steps to Quality?

Russell: Not always being able to change some of the physical environment that they wanted. I knew which hits I was going to take. Examples are the ground on playground being dirt and using playpens in nap room and not having a sink in my living room by the changing table.

IdahoSTARS: How did you overcome those challenges?

Russell: I did better in other areas to overcome those mark offs.

IdahoSTARS: What motivated you to participate in Steps to Quality?

Russell: I am an OCD type person, always striving to do better so when I heard about the program, I just went for it. Also, I was told in home facilities can’t get much higher than 3 so of course I had to prove them wrong.

IdahoSTARS: In what ways did you utilize regional office or coaching supports to help you increase quality in your facility?

Russell: I rarely used regional office, but I utilized my coaching staff continuously throughout the time I have been in the program. I still do to this day. She helps me to understand what they are looking for and bounce ideas off of.

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, please join our Steps to Quality (STQ) program for free coaching support, a transparent process, eligibility for grants and monetary recognition, and your center name promoted on our website.  Where to start? 1. Login to your RISE account. 2. Select the Help tab. 3. Click on Steps to Quality.