Family engagement.  For years, it has been recognized by both researchers and practitioners as having a non-negotiable role in education.  In Texas, it is now more than a suggestion for district prekindergarten programs.  House Bill 4 was authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2015. According to the TEA, the goal of the new ruling is to “provide districts with an opportunity to expand or enhance high-quality prekindergarten programs for qualifying students”. The amendments and additions to the Texas Education Code include funding for a high-quality prekindergarten grant program based on districts’ commitments to select and implement curriculum and establish ways to measure the progress of students according to the revised state guidelines.

However, House Bill 4 extends beyond standards, curriculum, and assessment: TEC, §29.168,

as added by HB 4, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, requires a school district or charter school to develop and implement a family engagement plan to assist the district in achieving and maintaining high levels of family involvement and positive family attitudes toward education. The local family engagement plan must be based on the family engagement strategies established by the TEA in collaboration with other state agencies.

In the past five years, ReadyRosie has partnered with school districts across Texas and throughout the US to support educators in implementing family engagement plans such as those now encouraged by the legislature. As a mobile tool that equips parents and caregivers with tips and ideas to do with their children, ReadyRosie is unique in that all of its tips are modeled on video so families see how to help their children with early literacy and math skills. Videos are delivered in English and Spanish via text, email, or app so families are gently but consistently reminded of their role as partners in their child’s educational journey.

This document has been provided by TEA to outline five family engagement strategies that must be addressed in district plans. We are providing a brief explanation below of how ReadyRosie supports each of these strategies. To see more details of how ReadyRosie specifically aligns to the Components and Strategies of a Family Engagement Plan, please view this document. To see how ReadyRosie aligns with the 2015 Texas Pre-K Guidelines check out this document sorted by each guideline and this document detailing how each video aligns with the standards.

1. Creates a foundation for collaboration of mutual partners.

ReadyRosie enables school districts to partner with community resources like pediatricians, social services, faith-based organizations, and libraries, families of infants and toddlers to register families to begin receiving ReadyRosie communication via text, email or app.

As parents and caregivers are equipped by ReadyRosie to identify and appreciate the developmental growth of their children, they are more likely to be receptive to other available support if needed and to recognize the importance of their role as advocates and champions for education in their community. 

2. Embraces the individuality and uniqueness of families.

ReadyRosie’s daily video-based messages connect families with other real families from a variety of racial, cultural and economic backgrounds. Videos from the library can also be shown on kiosks in school entryways or waiting areas. They are used during family events and parent conferences as exemplars of real families engaged in learning. Parents and children are invited to create their own videos as they try out the activities and think of unique ways to implement the concepts being learned. 

Because ReadyRosie believes in the value of parents using their home language to bond with their child and develop his/her understanding of basic concepts, we provide all of our videos and supplemental resources in English and Spanish. Even for families whose native language is not Spanish, the videos provided by ReadyRosie can help diverse parents learn to be teaching partners. They send powerful visual messages that can inform families regardless of their language.

3. Promotes a culture of learning that is child-centered and family driven.

ReadyRosie was not created for a specific demographic. It was created for and is being used by ALL types of families, from low education backgrounds to highly educated households. We recognize that every person brings assets that can positively impact the young children in their family. 

Although the content of most ReadyRosie activities is driven by early cognitive, literacy, and math standards, the contexts for modeling these games and conversations provides families with real-world examples of learning environments that support social-emotional learning. 

With the ubiquity of mobile technology, schools no longer have to wait and hope that parents will come to them for guidance and training. They are now capable of reaching families where they are and model for them everyday occurrences. As families receive their daily videos, they begin to understand the developmental expectations for children at their child’s age. 

4. Establishes and articulates expectations.

ReadyRosie provides schools with various data points to see how families are receiving and interacting with the resource. In order to know how the tool is being utilized and where it is making an impact, districts can log in at any time to see data by zip code, campus, or classroom. 

5. Evaluates and improves family engagement efforts.

Whether it is through in-person trainings, online webinars, or on-demand videos and research always available on our Resources page, ReadyRosie is committed to helping all school and community stakeholders understand the WHY behind parent engagement. We have found that when teachers and fully understand how parent engagement can support their students’ academic success in the classroom, they truly become the crucial gateway to a successful collaboration between the home and school.

ReadyRosie also provides resources to help connect the videos to common early childhood assessments. As teachers conference with parents on their child’s progress throughout the year, they can refer to ReadyRosie videos that will help a parent better support their child’s growth as well as videos that will allow a child to demonstrate new strengths and advances.

For more information on the Family Engagement component of House Bill 4 or how it aligns to ReadyRosie, please contact Melissa Nast.