According to Gorter Reu & Anderson (1998), teachers who make regular home visits feel that it is well worth the time and emotional effort due to payoff in the classroom setting. The idea has caught on in Henderson, Kentucky, and David Byrd, Ph.D., shared ideas for connecting with non-native English speaking families in the Journal of Curriculum and Instruction (PDF).
I’m curious how this could become a standard operating procedure in other districts. It feels like there are preparation, logistic, and follow-up pieces to the puzzle.
- Cultural Diversity – Establishing trust requires communicating the purpose of home visits and showing respect in ways that are meaningful to different families.
- Ensuring Safety – Our own backgrounds impact the home environments where we feel most comfortable.
- Division of Labor – Beyond elementary school, teachers often have well over 100 students.
- Priorities – Either determine which students are in greatest need of a home-school connection, or work toward visiting all families.
- Protocol – Parents and faculty alike need an inviting, understandable process to follow. Training may be required.
- Time – When would visits occur? How should we approach “outlier” experiences?
- Money – As a professional responsibility, could districts compensate staff?
- Follow Up
- Feedback – Measure the quality of home visits for continuous improvement. How did people feel about the experience?
- Communication – Where would home visits fit in the big picture of home-school connection?