Home Works! trains, supports and pays teachers to conduct home visits, and is designed to improve academic achievement, attendance and classroom behavior. The school-based program has grown to over 400 teachers in 33 schools in seven districts across Missouri, including eight schools in the St. Louis Public School (SLPS) District. The program is based in schools ranging from early childhood centers to high school. Schools are selected when at least 50 percent of classroom teachers agree to participate in the program.
HOME WORKS! goals are:
- Improved academic achievement and test scores
- Improved daily attendance
- Improved classroom behavior
- Increased parental/guardian and teacher engagement
The long term goals of HOME WORKS! are to support the development of an educated, trained workforce; to support parents to read, talk, and listen to their children every day; and to become invested in the quality of their children’s schooling.
Home Works! is a voluntary program for both teachers and parents.
Home Works! incorporates a comprehensive 2+2 model: two mandatory trainings for teachers; two home visits per student, per year; two teachers on every visit; two site coordinators; and two family dinners at each school. Family dinners are held at school and serve as another form of relationship-building between students, parents and teachers.
For more information: https://www.teacherhomevisit.org/
Training & Performance:
The hallmark of the training for HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program is high engagement using a variety of instructional strategies that deepen participants’ understanding of the factors that lead to a successful teacher-home visit.
This training rests on the following instructional principals. Teachers, as learners, must:
- Experience high engagement to deepen understanding of new material.
- Develop effective communication strategies if they are to form meaningful relationships with parents.
- Acknowledge and confront assumptions and fears they have about parents and home visits.
- Respect the culture and dignity of all parents.
- Believe that parents are still their child’s first teachers and are valuable allies in their child’s education.
The training utilizes research-based adult education principles that connect the experiences and knowledge of teachers, their academic goals for children, and their own moral purpose in becoming a teacher. Trainers use small-group interaction, whole group instruction, cooperative learning strategies, opportunities for reflection through journaling and reading, video and direction instruction. This instructional model facilitates teachers developing the skills, awareness and attitudes needed to conduct a successful visit.
Once the trainer has introduced and explained the components of a successful home visit, teachers form small groups and experience several rounds of role-play where they fulfill the role of visiting teacher(s) while a co-worker assumes the role of the parent in a specifically designed scenario. A fourth teacher serves as a process observer to provide feedback on the exchange. The scenarios are drawn from previous home visits, which become a wealth of case studies to work from. While teachers are given talking points for each visit (1st visits focus on building relationships and 2nd visits focus on academics), role-play prepares teacher to communicate more effectively and more naturally. During the role-play, teachers go through each step involved from the time they enter a home until they complete the Home Visit Evaluation Form.
As a result of the training, teachers come to understand the value of empathetic listening and develop the skills to paraphrase parental comments, and, when necessary, redirect a conversation to focus on the child’s education if distractions should arise during the visit.
Borrowing from the tenets of culturally responsive teaching strategies, teachers are challenged to address their personal assumptions and fears about engaging parents in their homes. This period of reflection has been shown to be pivotal in teachers’ own perceptions about being prepared to do the visits.