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Case Study: Rock Creek Preschool

November 28, 2019

Rock Creek Preschool is a part-time preschool for children 2 to 5 years of age. At Rock Creek their goal is "to provide an outstanding preschool for their community; to welcome children and families from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds; and to emphasize academics while teaching values such as sharing, respect for others, perseverance, love of self and others." To say this center is a community based would be an understatement.

Bryan Rees and his wife Thuy moved to Marysville, Washington to pastor a small church that required new leadership. After having worked in another church that had a preschool program, they knew that this was going to be a huge focus for their new church. They had seen the amazing impact that their previous preschool had on the community around them, and they were committed to being a community-based church and school.

The Problem

As Bryan and Thuy started to dig in and saw how the preschool program was being run, they quickly noticed that this small town preschool was still operating mostly on paper printouts and excel spreadsheets. Having come from a center that used an online system, they knew this was one change that they needed to make. For them to be successful in growing their new center, they required online access to all of the financial and enrollment information.

They also noticed a huge lack of communication access from the parents in the center to the teaching staff. "Teachers would stand outside the class at the end of the day and try to inform parents of what they did and upcoming events" Thuy explains. This was a barrier to the center's success, and they were committed to changing it.

The Solution

Being a Preschool mom herself, Thuy already knew she wanted to move forward with Sandbox. The previous center that her children attended used Sandbox. As a parent, she loved how easy it was to check-in children, add enrollments, and update information. Shortly after they arrived at their new center, they made the call to Sandbox for a web demo.

Although Thuy didn't have much experience in childcare, she knew Sandbox was the right fit for their center. She was excited to close the gap of communication, and as she explains "Sandbox provides an avenue of clear communication" between the parents and the teachers. Between the backing that they received from the support team and customer advocate Thuy was up and running at their new center in no time.

The Director and Administrator/Bookkeeper at Rock Creek Preschool were both a little hesitant at the time of all the new changes, but as Thuy explains "one of the major factors of getting them on board was the training and ongoing support Sandbox provides." Within no time of the switch, they were both on board.

Upgrading to Online Registration
One of the first major changes that they made was to build a new website for the center. The old site was not user-friendly and out of date. Thuy explains "we knew this was going to be our first handshake with new families, this was a big deal for us. We also wanted Sandbox to be a part of that first handshake because the registration was easy to integrate and simple to use."

Quickly after starting their Sandbox trial, our team built out a new online registration form for their center. This new online registration form gave them access to accepting registration for the following school year with a few clicks from their newly designed website.

Model of Leadership
Bryan and Thuy are a great example of what it means to lead. Often as leaders, we need to make hard decisions that will not make everyone happy, but they are necessary for the health and growth of the center. They modeled this so well and continue as they are just finishing up their first year leading their team at Rock Creek.

To finish out the school year, they decided that a great picture opportunity was important for parents in their center. They decided to invest a little and go big with a Pre-K graduation cap and gowns. Bryan said, "Four parents came up and thanked me at the graduation," that is how he knew that it was a WIN and an excellent investment.

Final Notes

As Rock Creek plans for the 2020-2021 school year, they are more excited than ever to start the new school year. After much change and hard work, they are gearing up for a great school year with even more children than ever before. With only two months to go to the start of school, they already have 86% of their students enrolled!

With the Sandbox team by their side, they know that they can live up to their vision of growing the center and impacting the community around them. We wish them all the best in the season ahead.

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Julia Erman
Customer Advocate
Julia Erman was previously a Director of School Programs. She is now working with Sandbox as a Customer Advocate to help centers grow and reach their goals with the help of Sandbox.
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