Teacher Home Visits
How to Engage Hard-to-Reach Parents: A Successful Teacher's Story
Sharon Johnson, a veteran teacher of at-risk children, knew from experience that family engagement played a crucial role in students' academic success. Ms. Johnson had heard about National Parental Involvement Day and decided to use the occasion as the start of an effort to promote parental involvement to her student's families.
As she set out on her mission to engage parents who are traditionally difficult to reach, she was well-prepared with her school's Title I learning compact, the Parent Engagement Pledge. This pledge had been provided to her during the school's recent professional development sessions, emphasizing the importance of parent engagement and collaboration. Armed with the pledge, she hoped to inspire parents to actively participate in their child's education and create a strong partnership between home and school.
After carefully selecting the families to visit, Ms. Johnson set out to meet them in their homes. She introduced herself and shared her vision of building a partnership between parents, students, and educators to create a supportive learning environment. She explained the Parent Engagement Pledge, which asked parents to take personal responsibility for their child's safety and education, as well as the safety and education of the children in the community.
"Would you be willing to take the Parent Engagement Pledge with me?" Ms. Johnson asked each parent.
At first, some parents were hesitant, but as Ms. Johnson explained the pledge's requirements, they began to see the benefits of becoming more involved in their child's education.
At Maria's house, Ms. Johnson sat down with her and her child and showed them some reading strategies and games to help with vocabulary and comprehension. When they were finished, Ms. Johnson handed Maria the pledge form and explained what it meant.
"By signing this pledge, you are committing to taking a more active role in your child's education," Ms. Johnson said. "You'll volunteer at least five hours of your time to the school each semester, and you'll spend a minimum of fifteen minutes each school night reading with your child or working on homework and enrichment activities."
Maria read the pledge and then looked up at Ms. Johnson with a determined expression. "I'll sign it," she said. "I want to do everything I can to help my child succeed."
Over the next few weeks, Ms. Johnson continued her home visits, meeting with other families and sharing the Parent Engagement Pledge. Parents were moved by Ms. Johnson's dedication and the power of the pledge. They saw that their involvement could make a difference in their child's life, and they were eager to take part.
As a result, the children began to thrive in the classroom, and the parents felt more connected to the school community. Ms. Johnson's home visits, combined with the Parent Engagement Pledge, had transformed the lives of at-risk students and their families.
Ms. Johnson knew that there was still much work to be done, but she was heartened by the progress she had made. She had succeeded in building a bridge between home and school, and she knew that it would make all the difference in the world for her students.
Project Appleseed's teacher home visit program yields a significant outcome by generating thousands of hours of volunteer time through the distribution of the Parent Engagement Pledge. This unique aspect sets it apart from other home visit programs, as the volunteer time represents a valuable resource that holds potential economic value. By engaging parents through the pledge, Project Appleseed not only strengthens the bond between families and schools but also taps into the power of volunteerism, which can contribute to the overall success of the program and the broader community.
What are three essential aspects of parent engagement?
Connect, engage and sustain.
One-Day Traveling Workshop and Two-Hour Toolbox Training
After a three year study of 14 schools engaging in teacher home visits for students, researchers at the California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) found evidence that home visits could increase student performance, jumpstart high-impact family engagement, reduce
discipline problems and increase overall positive attitudes toward school. If done correctly, a home visit program can give teachers, parents and students a better opportunity for connection, communication and collaboration.
Introducing Project Appleseed's Traveling Workshop on Teacher Home Visits! This dynamic and transformative workshop is designed to empower educators and school administrators with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to implement effective teacher home visits and strengthen family engagement for enhanced student success.
Led by Kevin Walker, founder and president of Project Appleseed, this workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from one of the most influential figures in parent and family engagement. With over 30 years of experience, Mr. Walker has collaborated with schools, educators, and families to develop and implement successful programs that support student achievement.
During the engaging workshop, participants will explore the powerful impact of teacher home visits on student behavior, academic achievement, and parent involvement. Through interactive sessions, group discussions, and practical activities, you will gain insights into the key principles and best practices of successful home visits.
Home visits have numerous benefits for both parents and teachers. Firstly, parents often feel more comfortable in their own space, which can foster a more open and trusting environment for communication. Meeting in a classroom setting can be intimidating, but when a teacher travels to the student's house, parents may be more inclined to voice their concerns and allow the teacher into their lives.
Secondly, home visits contribute to building closer partnerships and positive communication between parents and teachers. It provides an opportunity for them to meet and collaborate solely for the benefit of the child they both care about. By interacting in a more personal setting, home visits help break the "cycle of blame" that can sometimes arise between parents and teachers of struggling students. This shift in perspective humanizes the relationship, turning finger-pointing into teamwork and understanding.
Furthermore, home visits allow teachers to gain deeper insights into their students' lives and the environment that may impact their learning in the classroom. Understanding a student's home life can help teachers tailor their instruction and support to better meet individual needs.
For students, home visits provide a sense of belonging and support. Knowing that their teacher is willing to make the effort to visit them at home reinforces the idea that they have a network of caring individuals who are invested in their success. This sense of comfort can positively impact their overall well-being and academic performance.
Moreover, home visits have the potential to increase parental involvement in their child's learning, school activities, and volunteering. When parents feel more connected to the school through these personal interactions, they are more likely to actively engage in their child's education. This increased involvement creates a more vibrant and engaged school community as a whole. The program involves the following steps:
Setting Goals: Teachers establish specific goals for home visits and create plans to achieve them.
Building Relationships: Strategies are provided to help teachers build positive relationships and effective communication with families during home visits.
Gathering Data: Teachers learn to collect data during home visits to gain insights into family engagement, student needs, and school-home connections, informing decision-making and identifying areas for improvement.
Reflecting and Improving: Regular reflection on home visits allows teachers to analyze collected data and make necessary adjustments to enhance their approach.
Collaboration: Collaboration among teachers, families, and administrators is encouraged to ensure collective support for student success.
Safety and Boundaries: Guidelines and training are provided to ensure safe and appropriate conduct during home visits.
Scheduling: Strategies are provided to help teachers plan and schedule home visits to accommodate their busy schedules.
Evaluation and Assessment: The program may include evaluation tools to measure the impact and effectiveness of home visits.
By implementing a teacher home visit program using Project Appleseed's approach to high-impact family engagement, schools can empower teachers to build positive relationships with families and gather valuable data to support student success. Project Appleseed offers additional tools, including training and professional development for teachers, a Parental Engagement Report Card, a Parent Engagement Pledge, and the Family Engagement Toolbox, to support teachers and families in the home visit process.
Enrolling in Project Appleseed’s Traveling Workshop on Teacher Home Visits is your opportunity to revolutionize family engagement in your school. Act swiftly to reserve your date for this transformative workshop, as scheduling is limited. Join us in creating a school community where every parent, grandparent, and caring adult is actively involved in their child's education. Together, let's pave the way for student success and meaningful family engagement.
For inquiries or assistance, reach out to our dedicated team. Don't miss out on this opportunity to bring positive change to your school community. Enroll in Project Appleseed’s Traveling Workshop on Teacher Home Visits today!