Writer / Matt Keating
The attention to detail and excellence at Rainbow Station, a premier provider of early education, school age recreation, emergency backup care and leadership development, can be seen everywhere. That’s exactly what owners Steve and Debbie Ramos want.
“We saw a need in the community and we wanted our school to differentiate from the others,” said Steve. “We looked at a lot of franchises and wanted one that would provide high standards of excellence in pre-school education. Rainbow Station achieves those standards, our vision is to be the standard of excellence in early education, school age recreation and mildly ill care.
“Rainbow Station is a family franchise, we are small-town family people that will foster a loving, caring environment for children, families, staff and the community,” Steve added.
Steve and Debbie have partnered with Becky and Jay Brammer to help make this dream come true. The Brammers run a 60-person team called Mission Possible providing funding for multiple sclerosis research. “This fulfills one of my life’s ambitions,” says Becky. Jay also runs Crown Management LLC.
Rainbow Station, founded in 1989 by registered pediatric nurse Gail W. Johnson, now has 14 locations in North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, China, and now Indiana. The Fishers location will employ up to 40 full- and part-time employees. Its mission statement is that teachers and nurses partner with parents to promote the success of each child. Rainbow Station promotes strong leadership in its children as well as staff.
“We want to not only foster the love of learning, but also prepare our students with critical problem-solving and creativity to prepare them for the future. We want to be the best. We will lead in excellence in early education with our unique curriculum to help our students learn early, live well, and lead,” said Debbie.
Steve spent several years as an executive at the IBM Corporation, working globally while living in Illinois, Germany and Minnesota, before he settled in Indiana in 1993. He later became a non-profit CEO focused on higher education at The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (the largest Hispanic professional society). He is also a School Board Chair of a K-8 elementary school in Indianapolis.
Debbie, who worked as a second-grade teacher at Geist Elementary School for 14 years, is an award-winning teacher. She received District Teacher of the Year awards in Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota. She also graduated from the Teacher Leadership Academy. She has served as a committee member of the Hamilton Southeastern Corporation’s Balanced Literacy Committee and Young Hoosier Book Award Committee, as well as many others. “I fell in love with the franchise, and its strong, engaging curriculum,” Debbie said. “Parents live such hectic lives, and Rainbow Station serves families by accommodating their schedules and offering high-quality education with a strong curriculum.”
Steve and Debbie were fortunate to have Director of Operations Shannon Foster move to Fishers. Shannon was the director at Rainbow Station’s flagship preschool in Richmond, Virginia. Shannon noted, “Rainbow Station is among the few franchises to achieve national accreditation based on stringent standards set by The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National After School Association.” “Rainbow Station empowers children to discover their individual gifts and talents, so they will learn more and become strong leaders. We will also achieve the 4 Star – Paths to Quality rating from the State of Indiana. Indiana’s highest rating,” Steve said.
Rainbow Station is the first to provide care for mildly ill children. According to Emily Knotts, a former neonatal intensive care unit nurse at St. Vincent Hospital, “The Get Well Place is a unique addition to early childhood education. We offer the services of a pediatric RN not only to the enrolled children of Rainbow Station, but to our community children, as well. We are available to our enrolled students throughout the day to attend to their bumps, bruises, and any other illness as they arise. For our community children, we offer a safe nurturing environment for mildly ill children that are excluded from school due to mild illness. The Get Well Place allows parents to limit time missed from work with the comfort of knowing that their ill child is receiving individualized and loving care from an RN. Rainbow Station strives to accommodate and make each child successful, even when faced with illness.”
During a tour of the school, Steve highlighted a wide variety of rooms. A Nursery School is available for infants six weeks old to children 2 years of age. We offer a nationally accredited nursery school program specifically designed for the unique needs of very young children.
Rainbow Station’s teachers and staff spend every day opening new worlds of discovery for each child in a safe, nurturing and creative environment, full of exposure to language, music, art, and sensory stimulation.
A preschool for children ages 3 to 5 is where Rainbow Station’s staff provide a nationally recognized preschool program where students acquire academic readiness skills through play. It involves learning centers with math, science, dramatic play, music, art, manipulatives, and technology.
A Private Kindergarten has multiple learning spaces and features a low student-to-teacher ratio, enabling state-certified educators to meet children at their individual developmental levels. It promotes intellectual curiosity and motivates children to achieve academic success.
Rainbow Station Square is a large inside play area that provides an engaging after-school experience, in which children participate in programs designed to encourage and promote independent choice. Children are given the ability to self-select how their free time is spent, building leadership skills and values through the village’s theme-based centers which include: Café Rainbow, library, puppet theater, a construction zone, a toy shop, and a playground.
Café Rainbow has its own chef, Seiji Bryant, running the community kitchen.
“I make everything farm-fresh and stay away from processed food,” Bryant said. “We will be eating natural, and we have planted our own trees for apples and peaches. We will have our own little orchard and planting garden. It will be nice to be able to teach the kids to think organically.”
Steve stressed that security measures at Rainbow Station will go above and beyond to ensure that children and staff are safe. “We always want to stress safety,” Steve said. “Parents use a thumbprint to enter and drop off their child at the front entrance. We have panic buttons to notify the police and ‘lock down’ the facility to deter intrusion. We have 11 cameras throughout the building and exterior. We went the extra mile and spent a lot of money to make sure everyone is safe so they can spend the day in a nurturing and fun environment. Rainbow Station really is a unique place that both children and parents will love.”
Rainbow Station is located at 10408 Olio Road in Fishers, just across from Geist Elementary. For more information, visit www.rainbowstation.org/geist/ or call 317-336-7500.