FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Renée C. Lee
1111 North Loop West, Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008
Houston-area child care centers in low-income areas provided with innovative technology
Local nonprofit invests in new app for Harvey damaged centers
Houston, Texas (Feb. 25, 2019) – Collaborative for Children has launched a pilot program that gives 50 child care centers in low-income neighborhoods across the Greater Houston area access to a new high-tech business tool they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
Collaborative for Children has partnered with software developer brightwheel to provide its child care management app to select Harvey-damaged child care centers at no cost. Brightwheel agreed to subsidize its annual subscription rates enabling the nonprofit agency to pay the tab, plus provide child care centers with tablets and computers as needed.
Child care centers powered up the brightwheel app on Feb. 23, after staffs completed training provided by Collaborative for Children. The app is the next step of a bigger plan by the agency to help vulnerable centers keep their doors open so they can continue to provide high-quality early childhood education in the communities they serve.
The high-tech tool will allow centers to streamline business operations and become more profitable, sustainable businesses over time. Some of the app’s features include digital staff and student check-in, paperless invoicing and billing, daily reports, roster management, and parent messaging and alerts.
“The future of our region relies on the opportunities that we give our youngest generations, so Collaborative for Children has pledged to find solutions for child care providers to help them operate their businesses efficiently and successfully,” said Melanie Johnson, president and CEO of Collaborative for Children. “Our pilot program is designed to build resilience among our child care providers throughout our 13-county region.”
“Our team takes our mission seriously. We work every day to support teachers and parents in early education and provide them with game-changing tools,” said Dave Vasen, founder and CEO of brightwheel. “We are proud to work with Collaborative for Children on this critical initiative and to lend support to the communities that have been so deeply affected by Hurricane Harvey.”
The Early Resilience Alliance pilot is a continuation of Collaborative for Children’s Hurricane Harvey Response, Recovery and Resilience program, which was developed immediately after Hurricane Harvey. The agency assisted more than 600 damaged child care centers providing vouchers and reimbursements for repairs and equipment replacement over the past 18 months.
Collaborative for Children is now focused on helping child care centers build solid business foundations based on best practices and the latest technology. Over the next three years, the goal is for the centers to become capable, connected and prepared to survive the next big storm or major crisis – and thrive.
Child care centers selected to participate in the pilot had to meet certain requirements. For example, they must be licensed or registered with the state; participate in Texas Rising Star, the state’s quality improvement rating system; be located in a low-income area; and serve families who receive child care subsidies.
The brightwheel app, backed by investors Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca on ABC’s Shark Tank, is used by child care centers nationwide. Child care providers who use it say the software has resulted in time and cost savings, increased enrollment and referrals, and higher staff and parent satisfaction. With less time spent shuffling papers and managing multiple systems, they have more time to focus on improving curriculum, parent engagement and the quality of early learning, they said.
About Collaborative for Children
For more than 30 years, Collaborative for Children has meaningfully improved the quality of early childhood education and care for Houston-area children through those who are most influential in their lives. The agency works with child care providers and families to create high-quality learning environments and advocates for policies that benefit the early learning landscape in Texas. To learn more, visit www.collabforchildren.org
Brightwheel is the first all-in-one software platform for preschools, childcare providers, camps, and afterschool programs. Brightwheel helps teachers manage their day and communicate with parents, gives parents deeper insight into what their children are learning, and automates the process of managing operations for administrators. The platform has been shown to save teachers and administrators up to an hour per day while improving parent satisfaction and giving them a closer connection to their child’s learning. It is the fastest growing platform in early education, used across thousands of locations globally. Learn more at www.mybrightwheel.com.