CFVI Announces Launch of Ready4K in the USVI

Simply text the code CFVI to 70138 to start receiving messages today

As children and families in the Virgin Islands struggle with the social distancing required in response to the threat of COVID-19, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) is excited to announce the launch of Ready4K in the USVI. Developed by educational researchers, this text-based family engagement curriculum promotes child development from birth to fourth grade. The program furthers the Foundation’s portfolio of efforts supporting children and families in the Territory.

According to CFVI President, Dee Baecher-Brown, “The launch of Ready4K has been in the works at the Foundation for several months. Before moving ahead, we wanted to check in with our community partners – early childhood care and education serviceproviders and other stakeholders such as physicians – to enlist their assistance and support in enrolling parents and encouraging school and center-based engagement with the platform. As it turns out, this is the perfect time to provide this wonderful tool to our Virgin Islands families!”

Each week, parents and caregivers receive three texts (one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) that consist of fun facts and easy tips on how to promote their child’s development by building on existing family routines – such as pointing out letters on the cereal box at breakfast, counting the number of steps as you walk to the car or bus, or making feeling faces in the mirror after you brush your teeth. In addition, Ready4K is incorporating additional support messages focused on COVID-19 topics like hygiene, coping with pandemic anxiety, and social connection in a virtual world. The Ready4K curriculum covers the whole child from birth through 4th grade and is available in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

Getting started is easy. Simply text the code CFVI to 70138 to start receiving messages today. By entering your cell phone number you agree to enroll in the program and receive ParentPowered text messages from 70138. While there is no cost for enrolling, data and message rates may apply. You can cancel the text messages at any time by texting STOP to 70138. 

Ready4K helps break down the complexity of conscious, positive parenting into bite-sized pieces that are easy to implement by providing helpful information, encouragement, and support to parents continuously over prolonged periods of time,” said CFVI Director of Grants and Programs, Anna Wheatley Scarbriel, Ph.D. “It empowers families with the information and emotional support to act as their child’s first and most important teacher. The whole child curriculum promotes family wellbeing, positive relationships, child transitions, and involvement at school. It’s all about supporting entire families as lifelong learners and leaders.”  

CFVI has made an initial three-year commitment to offer the Ready4K platform to families in the Territory, with funding support for years one and two coming from a grant awarded from ParentPowered PBC, the company that operates Ready4K. The Foundation is partnering with local Head Start programs to enroll parents and family members of close to 900 children ages three to four in the Territory. In addition, CFVI is working with the Department of Education to enroll thousands more parents of USVI students in grades kindergarten through fourth.  

“Our commitment to early childhood education remains steadfast, as does our desire to strengthen the resources available in the USVI, especially during this challenging time” said Scarbriel. “Through our support of initiatives such as Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Little Free Libraries, TFC Kindercamp, the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum’s ‘Museums for All’ program, and others, we continue to do what we can so that all children and families in the Territory are provided with the tools, support and opportunities that lead to healthy development.”  

Other features of the robust Ready4K technology platform include data and analytics on demand, the ability to send custom messages, and teacher newsletters that complement the text messages and loop teachers into the conversation. Ready4K also supports ESSA Title 1 Parent and Family Engagement Requirements as well as all of the requirements of the Head Start Compendium of Parenting Interventions.  

In addition, Ready4K has the strongest evidence base in the field. In a series of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), Stanford University researchers found that the Ready4K approach increased parental involvement at home and school, driving two to three months of child learning gains over a school year (York & Loeb, 2014; Doss, Fahle, Loeb & York, 2017; York, Loeb & Doss, forthcoming). This research has been highlighted in The New York TimesEducation Week, and Huffington Post

Scarbriel says results like that would be great in the USVI, where in school year 2018-2019, nearly half (48%) of children entering public kindergarten were six months to over a year behind developmental age-expectations in language and comprehension skills (source: 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book). She also pointed out that Ready4K is designed to complement and reinforce – not replace – more intensive parenting support such as workshops, classes, clinic visits, and home visits.  

For schools and other community organizations interested in signing up their parents to use the platform, please contact Anna Scarbriel at annas@cfvi.net. For more information about Ready4K, visit ready4k.com

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