“Ready for School! Ready for the World!”
These are the words that first captured my attention about Ready Rosie in my role as an early childhood school administrator exactly one year ago. My early childhood school principal and I first learned about Ready Rosie in February of 2015 when we attended TAASPYC’s annual Symposium (a yearly gathering in Texas of administrators and directors of early childhood schools and programs). In essence, the mission of Ready Rosie is to deepen school and family connections by empowering parents to have increasingly meaningful interactions with their children. The beautiful byproducts of Ready Rosie are strengthened relationships between children and their caregivers, families feel empowered by viewing “everyday interactions in familiar environments with other real parents”, and both the school, family, and children are supported in their school readiness efforts.
How do they do this? Ready Rosie creates these benefits via the power of a simple yet remarkable 2-3 minute daily video. They use 3 D’s to explain exactly How they do it. They Deliver to family subscribers via a daily email or text message. A caregiver views the video Demonstrating a brief interaction and activity between a parent and their child. As a result, families are Developed to “turn everyday situations into learning opportunities” by doing the activity together using the video as a model.
As school leaders of a large early childhood campus, my principal and I left the 2015 TAASPYC symposium excited about Ready Rosie and the possibility of being able to provide such a powerful resource to our school community! We knew our families, students, and staff would love Ready Rosie! Our first step was to begin seeking the funding necessary to bring Ready Rosie to our school community. We were fortunate to access funding through a supporting department within our school district. Once funding was secured, we were full steam ahead with making roll out plans.
The following is a summary of the steps my school took to go from thinking about Ready Rosie as a great idea to making it a reality for our school community. Our Ready Rosie funding was confirmed some time mid-fall semester. It was then up to us as a campus to decide, do we roll it out immediately or do we look for a strategic time in our calendar to introduce it to our school community? We decided to take advantage of the timing of the approaching new year and a January family engagement night called IMPACT to serve as our big launch event. With our target launch date in mind, we contacted Ready Rosie to sketch out our official roll out. Their support staff was extremely helpful as they walked us through the technical steps they go through to upload our parent contact information and ensure families would be ready to access it on our launch date without any glitches. We simply provided them our database and they uploaded the information into their system. It was that easy!
Our important next steps involved communicating about Ready Rosie with our staff and creating the buy in for it with our teachers. We did this by sharing Ready Rosie first with our Team Leaders during our December Team Leader meeting and later with our entire staff on January 4th as a part of a Waiver Day training. When sharing with our Team Leaders, we unpacked the why for Ready Rosie. We discussed how our families would use it and our Team Leaders shared ideas about they could contribute to building the excitement for Ready Rosie among their teams, students and their families. Following their meeting, Team Leaders started communicating about Ready Rosie with their teams. This gave teachers some familiarity with Ready Rosie and built their excitement to learn more about it from a Ready Rosie representative during the upcoming January 4th Waiver Day training.
On January 4th, Melissa Nast, a consultant with Ready Rosie came to our campus and provided a one hour training to all our teachers. She enthusiastically shared the story of why Emily Roden created Ready Rosie as well as what it is. She walked us through the development behind it and data being currently collected by researchers at Penn State that supports its impact on the “quality and quantity of language” being used between parents and their child. She also demonstrated what it is, how our families would use it, and we learned about how we, as a school, could support the use of it by our school community.
Finally, January 26th, the eve of our launch date arrived! We hosted a big parent engagement night on campus that night and Melissa Nast returned to our school once more to introduce it, this time, to our families during the IMPACT event. She presented about Ready Rosie tour students and their families in our library. We were sure to have a bilingual teacher present to help translate for our Spanish speaking families. We had a great turn out that night. It was a great forum for introducing Ready Rosie to a large number of families!
The next day, Ready Rosie was activated for our school and it started going out to our families via a daily email messages. That first day, every student wore a colorful sticker label home to remind parents to watch the daily Ready Rosie video. Leading up to our launch day, we also advertized about it through our school’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, the school’s weekly family newsletter, Remind text messages, automated call outs, and through individual teacher newsletters. Recently, while doing mid-year home visits with our Head Start families, we were able to personally help individual parents, who were not registered in the initial roll out, sign up to receive the daily Ready Rosie videos.
We are currently monitoring our usage data and, as we look forward into our Spring semester, we are brainstorming ways to increase our usage. Several ideas include holding a friendly viewership competition between our individual classrooms or programs (Pre-K, Head Start, or PPCD), hosting a Ready Rosie booth at our Summer emphasis IMPACT Night (family engagement event) aimed at signing up parents who do not currently receive the videos and demonstrating the activities, or holding a school wide Spring campaign to keep awareness up about Ready Rosie with our families.
Ready Rosie is fast becoming a beloved family engagement and school readiness component for my school. Since our launch, we have received a generous amount of positive feedback from our families about how much they love watching the daily videos and doing the activities with their child. As a school administrator and parent of my own Pre-K age child, I sincerely believe and stand behind their slogan, “Ready for School! Ready for the World!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Heidi Veal. I am a teacher disguised as an administrator, on a mission to make the biggest impact possible as an educational leader by convincing the world that Anything is Possible! I compassionately serve students, staff, and families as an instructional and connected lead-learner.
Education is a calling and I am honored to fulfill my calling to make a difference in the lives of the school community I serve. This is my 15th year in education and during those years I have taught multiple grades at the elementary level, served as a Response to Intervention Specialist, a K-5 Instructional Coach, and currently as an Assistant Principal at Lawson Early Childhood School in McKinney ISD.
As a digital leader, I co-founded and co-moderate #ECEchat (a weekly Twitter chat for early childhood teachers, leaders and experts), am a founding member of the #LeadUpChat Professional Learning Network (PLN), co-host the LeadUpTeach video podcast on Blab, and blog on BAM Radio Network’s blog EdWords, LeadUpNow.com, and with my husband, Jeff on jhveal.com.
I am passionate about Leadership, Instructional Coaching, Curriculum Design, Ed-Tech, Special Education, Innovative Teaching & Learning, Growth Mindset, and all things Early Childhood!