Home Visits: Strengthening the Partnership between Family and School
Purpose and Goal:
Educational research indicates that the more engaged a parent is with their child’s education the greater the chance a child will learn and experience a higher level of success. Furthermore, the research also indicates that to foster a respectful student- teacher relationship, which is an essential component to advance learning, a teacher should be knowledgeable of a student’s background and unique interests. The student’s first place of learning is at home and, by working together, parents and teachers can make a very positive impact in a child’s life and send a message to our students that education and academic success are valued greatly both at school and home. Our annual parent surveys clearly state that parents would welcome more communication and information about their child’s educational program.
All teachers and administrators will visit the homes of three students during the course of the school year. Visits should be mutually agreed upon and scheduled with the parents of the students that you have targeted to visit.
Targeted students should be those students that you feel would benefit by having their parents more knowledgeable of the classroom expectations and the standards that are being taught. The visits should focus on the student’s work, highlighting the positives and offering suggestions and strategies to reinforce the classroom instruction at home. Parents of students that are not learning to our expectations should already have frequent contacts scheduled with school personnel.
During the home visits, it is important that school personnel also allow parents to share their observations about their child’s education and ideas should be solicited from parents on how we can better work together in the interest of their child. As we work towards establishing a better working and trusting relationship with parents, it is very important that we follow through with parent questions or other requests that cannot be answered or provided during the home visit. The student should be present during the visitation and be part of the conversation.
Schedule your visits early and contact the parent a day or two before you are planning to visit to make sure they can still meet during the mutually agreed upon time and day.
Two teachers or a teacher and administrator can visit a child’s home at the same time. More than two educators will make the visit much more “formal” and potentially overwhelming for the parent. We must remember that we are guests and, to the parents and student, we will be viewed as very important and special guests. Some of the homes you may visit might look different than yours, but I know all of us will remain non- judgmental and will focus on the positive aspects of a child’s environment. The first few minutes of the home visit may be “strange”, but a positive comment about the home or student will help break the ice.
Teachers should review with their colleagues what homes they will be visiting so a parent is not visited more than twice during a school year and more parents have the opportunity of a school visitation. If a child’s parent does not speak or understand English, please make sure a member of the LEP department visits with you or someone who can help facilitate communication.
Home visits can be scheduled during the weekends or any other time that you and the parent have agreed upon. You should not agree on a time that you have questions about your safety. It is more than appropriate to ask a colleague to join you if you have any doubts about your safety. If you schedule a visit during your planning period or any other time during the school day, just let your building principal know. We have scheduled two early release days during the school year to help facilitate the home visits; however, for some parents this time may not be convenient.
The three home visits will count as one of the six unassigned professional development days, even if they are completed during the “regular” school day.
A follow- up letter or phone call to a parent after a visit thanking them for opening their home to you is a very nice gesture.
Please keep a log of the three homes you have visited and your principal will collect this log in early June. A school-wide log will document all of the homes that were visited during the school year.
As you complete the visits and have comments about the process or interesting stories to share, please don’t hesitate to let me know. We will review the entire process after the school year is complete.
You are still highly encouraged to make three contacts with all of the parents of the children you are teaching. Postcards, emails, phone calls, etc., highlighting something positive about their children means a lot to both the parent and student.
Thank you for your cooperation and willingness to try something new in order to increase the chances that our students will learn to higher levels.