As stated on the ECLKC’s website: “The requirement for a non-federal match to a Head Start or Early Head Start grant reflects the partnership and commitment between the federal government and local community to support children and families served in the program.” While compliance language and federal requirements can be exhausting, the purpose of the requirement–to strengthen partnerships between programs and the local communities within which they exist–aligns closely with ReadyRosie’s mission to “equip and inspire schools and families to work easily together to change the lives and trajectories of children.” Building strong partnerships with students’ families is foundational to building partnerships with your program’s community and the broader local community while maximizing impact for children. Engaging the people closest to your students in meaningful ways that highlight their contributions as incredible assets to your program can help you make the most of the in-kind match requirement.
Capturing allowable in-kind can be challenging! Where to begin? We asked Patty Hinojosa, ReadyRosie Partner Success Manager and former Head Start Family Engagement Manager at Community Action Partnership of Kern Head Start Program, to share about her experience using ReadyRosie as a partner as well as three tips for using ReadyRosie to maximize in-kind impact.
Capturing in-kind is integral to the operation of a Head Start Program. Families also play an integral role in their child’s well being. I realized pretty quickly ReadyRosie could meet our agency’s Family Engagement Goals, Family Goals and capturing Parent Volunteer In-kind. Families received a fun and informative introduction to ReadyRosie at our center’s monthly parent meeting. As ReadyRosie was introduced to families the very first introduction was at a Parent Meeting. We demonstrated easy, fun activities that families could provide in the comfort of each family’s home! Families were provided with a goal of a minimum of 5 videos to watch on a weekly basis. This created enthusiasm as well as an opportunity to introduce in-kind and the opportunity to support our Head Start center’s goal. An example was provided of spending 2 minutes to watch the modeled moment activity and then 12-15 minutes per day doing the activity with their child at home and how this supported the center’s overall in-kind goal. When families recognized their individual contributions they were eager to further engage with ReadyRosie. The classroom Volunteer In-kind contribution form included a category to support “home learning activities.” It’s important to note, 15 minutes was mutually agreed upon between myself and our Head Start designated T/TA as we wanted to ensure the time captured was allowable. ReadyRosie data reports further provided documentation of families activity easily by filtering by date viewing data daily, weekly and/or monthly basis. ReadyRosie Parenting Curriculum was an integral resource to support our agency’s Five Year Plan, School Readiness Goals and classroom lesson plans. In addition, The ReadyRosie Modeled Moment activities directly supported Parent/Teacher educational goals and Family Partnership goals! We also created customized playlists to align with activities that directly supported lesson plans in the classroom and our agency’s School Readiness and Family Engagement Goals.
Patty’s 3 Tips for Maximizing In-kind Impact
1. Dive Deep into ReadyRosie Data and its Meaning
Our ReadyRosie Share Platform captures family engagement data in real time. This data supports the on-going partnership between educators and families to discuss new learning and funds of knowledge families already possess. In addition, our filter by date feature not only allows educators to celebrate, view, and print data by week, month, or year but also provides a small window into family engagement taking place when educators may not see families on a regular basis. Here are a few ways you can take your data to the next level:
- Communicate Intentions and Set Goals: Communicate with families your expectations around weekly usage goals. For example, you’ll receive a playlist each Monday and by Friday we’d like you to watch 3 videos, share the activity, and check “We did it.” Build conversations around data into your regular touchpoints with families and come back to the goals each time. Clarifying your intentions for using the data for in-kind reporting will help make sure everyone is on the same page. For example, if your Head Start T/TA has set a limit to the number of minutes ReadyRosie can be used as in-kind per day, be sure to let families know.
- Link to Learning: Use customized playlists to support school-readiness goals and individual lesson plans in real time. By utilizing the ready-made and custom playlists, educators can provide families with home learning opportunities that extend the learning that’s happening in the classroom to the home.
- Talk with your Partner Success Manager: As a Partner Success Manager, I have heard of a variety of ways that programs have started utilizing ReadyRosie to support their in-kind requirement. Some programs are reporting monthly by classroom, monthly by agency, and also viewing and printing each individual child’s view. At any given time your program’s Partner Success Manager is working with dozens of Head Start Programs across the country. Each program structure is unique and your PSM will be able to provide guidance on how you can make the most of the data ReadyRosie is collecting to support your program goals.
2. Have Conversations around Best Practice with your Regional Head Start Designated Training and Technical Assistance Specialist
Be prepared to discuss your own systems and be able to share what ReadyRosie has to offer. Your systems must be consistent with federal regulations as well as your own internal policies and procedures. Highlight data view reports, filter by date, and share the individual family profiles with all of the co-created data. This individualized data would also include the valuable home learning anecdotal notes (the family comments). Ask for clear guidance on what’s allowable and be prepared to share with your designated Head Start T/TA why you chose ReadyRosie as your Research Based Parenting Curriculum. Be sure to also share how our research based child development activities are supporting your School Readiness and Family Engagement Goals through meaningful center and individual family data! These conversations will further support preparing for your Head Start Focus One and Head Start Focus Two Monitoring Visits. It will be easy to demonstrate by agency, center, classroom, or individual families the co-created data that identifies families needs, strengths, and progress with Learning and Family Outcomes!
3. Check Out Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center’s New Training Modules and Best Practices
In-kind (Non-Federal Share) is critical to keep programs in compliance, however, there are a wide variety of ways in which Head Start Programs capture, document, and report this information to their funding source. At the end of October, ECKLC released three new training sessions that focus on non-federal match. They use interactive activities and real-world scenarios to explore non-federal match requirements, what’s allowable, how to value donations, and share guidance around supporting documentation for submission. As programs have the responsibility to report 20% back of non-federal share these newly released training modules provide extensive interactive activities and real life scenarios that take place in Head Start Programs to further explore examples of allowable volunteer contributions. It’s exciting to see specific examples provided with a wide range of examples to support capturing in-kind. The detailed information will also further support creating your own agency’s policies and procedures which can include ReadyRosie as an example of a resource that contributes to your agency’s in-kind documentation.