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Divisions > Early Childhood Development
Maryland EXCELS Branch

    Maryland EXCELS Branch

Maryland EXCELS (EXcellence Counts in Early Learning and School-age Child Care) is a voluntary Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System that recognizes the accomplishments of early childhood and "school-age only" programs and providers through a set of standards with 5 levels that offer a pathway to high-quality.  Maryland EXCELS provides information to families on choosing high-quality child care and education programs and articulates to the public the level of quality in early and school-age only child care and education programs.  More than 30 states have developed quality rating and improvement systems and most states are in some phase of development.

The Maryland State Department of Education, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education, has developed the Maryland EXCELS website http://www.marylandexcels.org/.  The website serves a variety of purposes:

·     Programs use the website to register and apply for participation;

·     Participating programs use the website to upload documentation to verify they meet the criteria in the standards and to connect with their assigned Program Coordinator who assists with the process;

·     Resources and supports for participating programs are available through the website;

·     Families use the website to search for high-quality programs when choosing child care.  In addition to the website, a mobile app will be available to families to help them identify participating programs in their local area;

·     The public and community partners use the website to find, collaborate with, and support programs in their local area.

New!   Click here for a "Special" Invitation from Maryland EXCELS!

New!   Click here to learn about Early Childhood SEFEL Training.

Click here for the "Top 10 Reasons..." why you should participate in Maryland EXCELS!!

Click here to download a video about Maryland EXCELS!

Click here for an Maryland EXCELS trifold brochure that provides an overview of the program.

Click here to learn about Maryland EXCELS.

Quality Assurance Specialists are waiting to help you!
Click here to contact a Specialist in your area.

Click here for a Maryland EXCELS PowerPoint Presentation

Click on the following Maryland EXCELS News & Updates
    January 2013
    February 2013
June 2013
    July 2013

    September 2013
    October 2013
    November 2013
    January 2014

Click here for read about Maryland EXCELS Additional Achievements

Maryland EXCELS Standards

There are four program standards for Maryland EXCELS that describe the criteria to be met at each level.  The online system provides guidance to programs as to what documentation to submit to verify attainment.  Select the chart below to view the standards for each program category.


New! Child Care Center Standards (includes Head Start, nursery schools)


New! Family Child Care Standards (includes Large Family Child Care Homes)


New! School-Age Only Standards (programs serving only school-age children)

Public Pre-Kindergarten Standards

Maryland EXCELS Awards, Bonuses, and Incentives

To view the program/provider awards, bonuses, and incentives for participation in Maryland EXCELS, click on the following links:

o Kaplan
o Discount School Supply (downloadable order form)
o First Connection (ask about free/discounted trainings)
o Maryland State Child Care Association (contact Christina Peusch at mscca1@comcast.net, or 410.820.9196 to ask about membership discounts)

Tiered Reimbursement Program

Maryland EXCELS is the state’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System and the system for tiered reimbursement, which pays differential payments to providers who meet quality standards and accept Child Care Subsidy vouchers.  To be eligible for tiered reimbursement/subsidy differential payments, a program must have a published Maryland EXCELS rating at level 3, 4, or 5.  To learn more about the Tiered Reimbursement Program, click here.

NEW!  Maryland EXCELS and Child Care Subsidy Reimbursement

Providers: Have you heard about the new requirements for Maryland EXCELS participation for programs receiving Child Care Subsidy? Beginning January 1, 2015, Maryland EXCELS participation will be mandatory for programs receiving Child Care Subsidy reimbursement.  Participation is so easy – to learn more, simply click on http://www.marylandexcels.org/, enter your program information, and submit your application.

  • Click here to see what providers are saying about Maryland EXCELS and to get step-by-step participation instructions.

  • Click here to view the timeline and deadlines for all programs receiving Child Care Subsidy reimbursement.

  • Click here to learn more about Child Care Subsidy

PAS/BAS Program

The Program Administration Scale (PAS) for Child Care Centers and the Business Administration Scale (BAS) for Family Child Care providers promote the development of leadership and management skills in early childhood programs.

  • New!  Click here for a PAS Training Announcement
  • Click here for an overview presentation on Continuous Quality Improvement Through PAS and BAS
  • Click here for a brochure about the PAS
  • Click here for a report about the Continuous Quality Improvement Project for Child Care Center Directors Using the PAS
  • Click here for a brochure about the BAS

For more information about Maryland EXCELS, e-mail a Quality Assurance Specialist at


Contact Information
Lindi Mitchell Budd, Manager, Maryland EXCELS Branch
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  (410) 332-4623
Fax:  (410) 332-0810
Email:  lbudd@msde.state.md.us
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