School’s in Session
LeafSpring School’s Staff and Students Shine During the Pandemic
Writer / Matt Keating Photographer / Robby Berry
Steven A. Ramos, president and owner of LeafSpring School’s Geist location, is inspired every day by how his staff and students have persevered during the pandemic.
“We were really blessed to be able to stay open during such a stressful time,” Ramos says of the early education center. “The National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], the nation’s largest early childhood accrediting body, estimated that 50% of the early childhood facilities have closed. Many were home care and ministries, but a large number were also centers like LeafSpring.”
Ramos says LeafSpring was fortunate to stay open for many reasons.
“We were committed to helping our parents and our staff,” Ramos says. “We were in a stronger financial position to make it through the storm. We did not close. We stayed true to our cause. We provided deep discounts to parents to keep their spot for summer. We took tons of precautions to keep COVID out with a hand-washing station, hand sanitizer and temperature checking in March. We didn’t wait to be told. We also have nurses on staff to assess every child, every day. With those schools that closed, their parents had to take the kids somewhere else, and it is difficult to rebuild your clientele.”
Ramos says there have been times at LeafSpring when there were more teachers than students, but luckily no one was laid off.
“We also put all of the teachers into continuing education that wanted it,” Ramos says. “For others, we came up with all kinds of projects to keep them busy and contributing to our school. They worked ahead on lesson plans for future months. They did deep cleaning. They helped organize our art closet and storage. They made face masks to give out.”
Ramos adds that parents have also been highly supportive.
“They sent memos of encouragement to the teachers, and they would bring in pizza and donuts for the staff every week to keep their spirits up,” Ramos says. “We truly have amazing parents.”
Ramos says these efforts throughout the pandemic have been a testament to the collective commitment to LeafSpring.
“We look at our team, our kids and our parents as a big, happy, loving family, and we have a firm belief that we are always there for our family,” Ramos says. “We are blessed to be with our kids five days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. We love them, care for them, and teach them. Our teachers are amazing. There is no question that the early education teachers have the most important job in the world. We doubled down on our team instead of bailing on them. We have a belief in our mission to be the best, and in our team to continuously improve to demonstrate our excellence. It was the right decision. We are a stronger and closer team.”
LeafSpring has also assisted teachers interested in obtaining child development associate (CDA) credentials.
“Not only did LeafSpring pay for their coursework, but continued to pay them while they were taking and doing their coursework while working at LeafSpring,” he says. “Seven teachers completed the course. I laid out a structured game plan for them that included 120 hours of coursework over five weeks, portfolio development, NAEYC assessment and state testing.”
Ramos says the goal was for teachers to complete the CDA coursework by the end of July in 2020.
“I provided $25 incentives along the way, with a $200 bonus and a raise at the end,” Ramos says. “Having the structure and peer support helped them to accomplish their goals. We are very proud of our team. We helped them further their education and become better teachers. This is an investment in their future, which is a win-win for all.”
For further information on LeafSpring School, located at 10408 Olio Road in Fishers, call 317-401-3800, or visit leafspringschool.com.