With national concern about students’ academic performance, some districts are turning to a Teacher Home Visit Program or Parent Visitation Program.  The idea behind this strategy is that parents (with the support of the teacher) will be more involved in their child’s education. A likely effect of this is that the student will feel support both at school and in the home and most likely, show marked improvement in grades. In fact, many educators employing this program are finding that attendance is up, academic achievement is up and discipline is down.

The visit usually consists of the teacher making introductions and establishing a relationship with the parents with intentions to learn more about the child and to gain insights into what could possibly influencing performance at school. The purpose is also to enroll the parent into their child’s education. Many educators believe that without a parent’s involvement, students are much less likely to succeed academically. It has been compared to that of a three-legged stool; with principals and teachers each representing a leg, a parent represents a leg and that leg is crucial to stability and strength in a child’s education.

Another visit from the teacher, usually later in the year, is to provide academic feedback to the parents. This is where “co-teaching” may take place. A teacher can request that parents reinforce certain lessons in the home, which could include reading with the child daily or using math flashcards. This process is one of building trust, respect, rapport and mutual support between teacher and parent.

According to Nancy Fong, a teacher who regularly does home visits, "Teachers today cannot close these gaps by themselves, it's just not doable. You need those partnerships to really make those gains. What's important to me is that they speak education talk at home, support their children in the home, read to them. ... I can handle it at school, but I need for them to really support me at home."

Although some teachers are reluctant and uncomfortable about entering a child’s home, many see the value of this strategy and find that the benefits far outweigh the possible discomfort from such a visit.

Parents seem to be praising this program too. Parents feel they have real partners; teachers who are dedicated to their child’s success. Parents can express their concerns in a relaxed and no-pressure setting. Children feel that their teacher is genuinely interested in getting to know them and many feel pride when a teacher comes into their home and meets their family.

What do you think of this program?