Goals of the Ohio Ready Schools Initiative
Click each heading below to learn more about the goals of ORS:
The Ohio Ready Schools Initiative (ORS) is a result of a statewide partnership formed in 2006 between the Ohio Department of Education's Office of Early Learning and Readiness, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, and the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators (OAESA). The initiative aims to develop enduring ties between early childhood educators and public school districts that will lead to cohesive educational programs for early learners, pre-K–3. Elementary schools in the Ready School journey work to be ready for all children by partnering with feeder early childcare providers and preschools as well as local service agencies. Ready School sites strive to utilize resources to:
- align curriculum, standards, and teacher expectations pre-K–3 in order to bridge the early childhood divide;
- improve services to children and families; and
- monitor system changes and document effective practices and lessons learned.
Growth and Development
During the 2008–2009 school year, eight Ohio elementary schools were selected to participate in a two-year pilot project supported by the Kellogg Foundation. During the 2009–2010 school year, through a competitive process, an additional 10 schools were supported through the Kellogg Foundation. In addition, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation supported five new sites; the United Way of Greater Cincinnati supported four; and the Sisters of Charity, Canton supported eight sites. In 2010–2011, the Ready School two-year pilot became the Ready School Initiative and a new funding/support structure was created. School sites selected to participate agree to earmark $3000 dollars toward the initiative through actual cash commitment and/or in-kind contributions. The Lucas County ESC holds grant dollars to match support services for up to 50 participating school sites during the 2010-2011 school year. All participating schools are guided through an eight-step process that allows achievable implementation. The eight steps require each to do the following:
- have its school district sign a formal agreement committing to the work of the initiative;
- form an ORS Leadership Team composed of local stakeholders, including early childhood educators;
- administer ORS self-assessments as pre- and post-measures to identify the site's status on the seven components of being an Ohio Ready School;
- develop and implement an action plan that identifies the site's goals, indicators of progress, activities, persons responsible, timeline and budget allocations;
- identify and arrange technical assistance with the ORS coaches;
- identify a site data coordinator and a process for evaluation;
- plan for sustainability of the program; and
- disseminate the site's progress and learning to the site's staff, district personnel, other Ohio Ready School sites, and interested schools in Ohio and other states.