Contact: Carrie Rose, Executive Director

Contact: Carrie Rose, Executive Director

Contact: Carrie Rose, Executive Director,

(916) 752-3206, .

For Immediate Release

August 15, 2016

Home Visit Project is High-Impact Engagement

Teachers and families on the same page for student success

MISSOULA–Teachers aren’t just going back to classrooms this month. A growing number of educators in Missoula are asking the families of their students if they can visit their home.

“We see parents and grandparents as the experts on their student. With a home visit, we can learn more about our student and make a stronger connection with their family,” says ______, __ grade teacher at ______school. “I tell the families I want to become a better teacher for their child, and I need their help. We share our goals and expectations, and become a team.”

Family engagement is widely recognized these days as a vital component of successful schools, and ______district has found a way to meet parents where they are - literally.Parent Teacher Home Visits are designed to help teachers, and school staff, make a relationship with the families of their students, starting with a voluntary home visit. The program has expanded from ______in ______to over ______teachers trained and ______visits in the past year.

Home visits are not a new idea, but historically visits were conducted as assessments, to deliver social services or were targeted at students with behavior problems like truancy. Unscheduled knocks on doors only exacerbated mistrust. Instead, this model, from the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project, was developed in Sacramento, CA by low-income parents who felt alienated from their school.Aided by a community organization, they created a unique partnership with their school district and their teachers’ union. Home visits are not “drop ins,” but rather an appointment set between two willing colleagues in a setting where teachers do not have an institutional advantage.The relationship-building approach leads to communication, trust and accountability between the most important people in a child’s life. Using what they learn from this relationship, both teachers and families become better at supporting the developmental and academic success of their children.

So how does this program make such a difference that this grassroots model has been adopted in rural, suburban and inner city settings in 17 states across the country? Word of results spreads fast. Evaluations show improved classroom behavior, increased attendance, reduced vandalism, improved school climate, and a rise in test scores. PTHVP-trained teachers report that home visits deepen their connection to their students, and help them improve classroom management and the learning climate. Teachers also credit home visits with their increased job satisfaction and decreased burnout. Parents report increased communication, increased understanding of homework and increased participation at the school site following a home visit. Schools that do home visits benefit not only from the professional development of their teachers and staff, but from increased parent and community support.

While the model is adapted to fit local needs, common values will be found in all locations: visits are voluntary for both staff and families, teachers are compensated for their time outside of the school day, staff visit in pairs, at a prearranged time, teachers reflect on their assumptions and bring new knowledge back to the classroom, and no targeting – they visit all or a cross section of families.

In fact, Parent/Teacher Home Visits are a cost effective and replicable strategy that strengthens all five components that research has shown are essential for school success- school leadership, professional development, relevant curriculum, safe learning climate and parent and community ties.

The PTHVP model got another endorsement when the US Department of Education commissioned researchers to study the salient elements of the most effective family engagement programs. The 2013 study, entitled “Dual Capacity Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships,” determined that in order to be “high impact,” engagement activities must build relationships, increase skills in both educators and families, and be linked to student learning. The report highlighted the PTHVP model with a case study of a Washington, DC school that used high-impact home visits to go from a failure in danger of closing to a thriving and well-supported site.

Teachers have reported that PTHVP has been more effective in helping them learn the home culture of their students than any other resource, workshop or training. Connecting acrossculture, race and ethnicity is more important now than ever before.The majority of teachers are white, middle aged and female. Even when a staff is diverse, a single teacher will likely be working with students (and their families) who are ethnically, racially, linguistically or culturally different than his or her own. These differences often lead to assumptions and missed opportunities, but teachers report that home visits help them question their own biases, and make the classroom more relevant to all of their students.

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Photos courtesy of The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project

The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project contact: Carrie Rose, Executive Director, (916) 752-3206, .