Dear generous donor,
In our report this quarter I would like to share with you a short story that I was privileged to read on how your donation has impacted students, teachers and families all across America.
I have been teaching now for 13 years and in my 13 years I must say that home visits are the number one way to make connections with our students and families. It empowers everyone to work together, as a team. I also believe that it improves the student’s academic and behavioral performances in the classroom. This year has been a fabulous year for home visits, as I was able to meet up with at least 10 of my students before school started, and I have continued to meet with families throughout the school year. (Next school year, my goal is to meet ALL my students before the school year starts.) Home visits have been a great avenue to get to know your students beyond the classroom. This year I have one student whose home visit stands out in my mind. During conference time, I was unable to meet up with this particular family. I really wanted to meet up with his parents because his behavioral issues inside and outside of the classroom were increasing. Plus, in my opinion he wasn’t working up to his full potential academically. With the help of my school's parent advocate, we were able to get a time set up for the home visit. I had received a lot of previous information about the parents. I had heard rumors that the dad always believed his son never did anything wrong. When the boy was in 2nd grade the father was very threatening to his teacher. I was a little concerned about going over to their house, but I knew I needed to go. (I really should have gone before school started!) When we entered the house, the parent advocate broke the ice and dad seemed to be happy. We all sat down and I began commenting on all the good things I have witnessed about their son. Parents were really receptive to this. We were also able to ask the parent what they wanted and expected from their son (hope and dreams). With their information that they shared, I was able to start talking about the dreaded behavior issues I was having in the classroom. While the meeting was still positive, the child grew a little uncomfortable as the parents started questioning him on what was happening in the classroom. At this point the child realized that we (the parents, and school educators) were on same team and he had to join, by changing his behavior. He did this and has also started working up to his potential and made an increase of I believe 20% on ELA bench mark test. From that point on the parents have been more involved and checking in with me to see how their son is doing. When there is a behavior issue, it is much easier for me to call home because after that home visit I knew we were on the same team together. While the student still struggles with behavior and academics, he is improving. Home visits build a team that work together for the betterment of the students. In fact, we have one teacher who just recently had a line of parents trying to set up a time for her to come to their homes. I can’t stress enough how much it helps the communication for our school.
This story is just one example of how your donation to the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project has helped teachers to get trained and to continue to conduct home visits. Without your donation this work would not be possible in one state let alone 14 states. Please don't forget about us in the future; together we can make a positive impact for all students!
I believe the paradigm needs to be shifted in public schools, specifically schools serving the poor. Less energy needs to be spent on complaining, or at best brainstorming, how we teachers can get parents to step foot through our school doors. Instead, I challenge the shift to start with first asking if we would step foot through the parents’ front door. The Parent Teacher Home Visit Project makes such a shift possible for teachers.
Stephanie Smith, Oakridge Elementary School, Sacramento.
When school districts are under fiscal and accountability pressures, family and community engagement is usually the first thing to go. Given dramatic reductions in funding for public education these are challenging times for our colleagues across the country. In the midst of this, we went ahead and planned for our Sixth National Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project annual gathering in Denver, Colorado. We wondered if we should scale back our plans or trust our instincts that we needed to gather now, more than ever. We trusted our instincts as did our supporters - CS Mott Foundation National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and PICO National Network- and our many partners schools across thirteen states!
Thanks to a coordinated effort we were able to gather together 260 parents, caregivers, community members, educators and administrators for the Sixth National Parent Teacher Home Visit Project. Conference participants are directly involved in the experience of conducting or receiving home visits as well as leading the effort in their local communities. Whether it was Melissa Bryant , a veteran teacher, or Katrina Branch, a parent and former student, both from Stanton Elementary School in Washington DC who experienced a school that was a “hot mess” move into a place where students experienced dramatic increases in student test scores. Or Yvette Juarez, a middle school student in Denver CO, who talked about what it meant to her to have a teacher come to her home and talk about her success in school. Or the teachers who were on the verge of quitting or families on the verge of giving up on their local schools or the community members tired of seeing their children drop out and lose opportunity, the home visiting testimony and experiences demonstrated that relational home visits are a key foundation step leading to increased family engagement, better teaching and learning, and increased student academic and social success. The testimony helps us understand the power of the numbers.
Here’s what we tallied in our time together:
In just the past year, network partners under the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project trained 2577 teachers. We expanded to 209 participating school sites in 13 states. Together, we conducted 13,391 relational home visits! Given preliminary counts for this coming year, I expect our totals to go even higher next year- even with the challenges before us. At the conference we created the opportunity and space to deepen our work. Network partners from around the country paired up and led breakout sessions where we shared data and data collection systems, adaptations of home visiting (in rural communities, for those whom English is a second language, and in secondary schools) and new learning that covered topics as diverse as the impact of trauma on school communities and teaching and learning, as well as, the introduction of Academic Parent Teaching Team conferencing in home visit schools. We also explored resources and reviewed current national policy and trends regarding family engagement and education reform. We built our personal capacity to better sever students. We strengthened our local projects by sharing and learning. Mostly, we were inspired by each other and renewed in our commitment to this important work. We know that family and community engagement is an essential component for school and student success and we know that even in the face of difficult times, we must invest in this area for the sake of our students.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your conitnued support of the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project. Without your generous donations this project would not be possible.
From all the PTHVP staff we wish you a safe and happy holiday!
Thanks to your generous support of this project, we have had an extremely successful home visiting school year and summer. Here are a few highlights:
California- Sacramento City USD completed close to 5000 home visits in the 11-12 school year at 43 K-12 sites! Colorado- Denver has increased their home visit school sites to 35 for the 2012-2013 school year.Massachusetts- Home visiting action in New Bedford and Lowell. Of course, the anchor, Springfield, continues to be very busy as a leader for parent/teacher home visits as part of their NEA foundation partnership! Check out this great clip of a recent Springfield MA home visiting action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0qQBVwsAuk&feature=youtube_gdata_player . Minnesota- to date the PTHVP training team in St. Paul has trained over a 150 educators and expect the number to land closer to 200 before all is done this summer. Michigan- Romulus and Flint school districts are starting their first year of home visits. Good luck educators in Michigan! We will provide you more information on their journey as the school year progresses.Montana- has had a very busy month for home visiting efforts throughout the great state. They now have 4 training teams from 3 communities around the state ready to roll- Poplar, Helena and Great Falls! All three presented at the statewide conference in Bozeman in June with PTHVP staff , who also connected with two other home visiting communities- Anaconda and Lewistown. Helena is doing a great job with their expansion (district wide kindergarten readiness home visiting this year) and is developing policy language we hope to share soon!
New York - plans coming together to launch a middle school home visiting pilot in 2-3 middle schools in the 2012-2013 school year thanks to work by our union colleagues, the New York City Department of Education and the Coalition for Educational Justice. We are heading out East to train educators in October. As part of these meetings we met an inspiring principal from a school in the Bronx that is already conducting home visits- check out this great coverage of their efforts: http://engagingparentsinschool.edublogs.org/2012/07/05/learning-begins-at-home/ Nevada- Reno reports they are up to 20 sites where home visiting is taking place. Ohio- Columbus, another anchor in our national network, has led districts through kindergarten transitional visits for years and is now branching out! Folks in Columbus just reported that 60-70 new folks were trained and 600 home visits took place as part of the NEA priority schools campaign.Oregon- Salem Oregon has also had some great home visiting press recently: http://neapriorityschools.org/engaged-families-and-communities/home-visits-yield-hope-and-cooperation . In July, one of their support staff champions, Juan Trujillo presented on their local home visiting effort at the National Education Association Conference in Washington DC! More press due out this fall as well as plans for a train the trainer session.
Virginia- reports the Wakefield team conducted another training session for home visiting and has a team of 55 people assigned to make 245 transitional visits this summer. Wakefield HS staff have been great about reaching out to feeder schools and helping out with trainings in the DC area this past year.Washington DC- home visit trainings are off and running- folks there report that 12 sessions have been completed and another 5 are set to go. Additionally 3 middle schools are coming on board this year thanks to some additional federal funding that became available. If you haven't already seen it- check out this terrific clip of the DC home visiting effort: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4RKfzTskCI . Washington - In June, the PTHVP team from Sacramento traveled to Marysville WA to train members of a middle school who are piloting the home visiting effort this year as part of their relationship with the NEA priority school campaign.
As you can see, your generous donations are truly making a difference in the lives of students, teachers and families across the nation. We truly can not thank you enough for all the support! Please keep it coming!
The PTHVP team
Dear Generous Donor,
Here is the Big Picture on Our National Expansion:
Our model of home visits is already working in urban, suburban and rural schools and districts and while the demand for our work nationally has never been stronger-we are currently in a dozen states and are poised to launch in two more-we are at capacity with our resources for the national expansion. We have an exciting challenge to raise some funds in the next few days. Our partners at Global Giving are offering to match any donations for one day, but it is a first come first serve process. So, if you donate during a 24-hour period beginning March 13th 9pm PST/12am EST we qualify for a 30% match! Please read below to see what your donations have been able to help us accomplish so far.
This past October, our colleagues determined that we needed to take the following steps:
• First, we need to convene a National Advisory Committee- a one year commitment- to provide guidance, recommendations and access to resources to formalize our national effort;
• Second, we need to develop regional training teams in at least 4-5 communities throughout the United States to build training capacity;
• Third, we need to launch a national evaluation across multiple districts to further bolster the data needed to leverage significant policy and funding changes to support family engagement like our model of home visits; and,
• Fourth, we need to continue building our national presence with ongoing expansion, training, and outreach in the coming year to continue to assess the interest and need for our work.
Here Are Some Local Project Updates:
Alabama-information meeting in the fall of 2011 followed by a home visit training in Montgomery on February 24, 2012 as part of the Priority School Campaign led by National Education Association. Representatives from two middle schools attended and laid out a launch plan for a total of 50 home visits in the next month followed by a follow up reflection meeting in March of 2012. Not stopping there, one of the sites set their goals on 700 home visits before the end of the year!
California- In the first five months of the school year, Sacramento schools conducted over 2800 home visits and are planning their first regional conference for two days in May that will mirror the national conference but be focused on a county wide level. We’re continuing the expansion of the professional development and parent university plans as follow up to visits. San Juan USD- a neighboring district- launched home visits this year and plan to have 5 sites participating in the 2011-2012 school year. West Contra Costa has home visits going n and LAUSD is still exploring options.
Colorado- Denver is on the move! Denver Public Schools continues to grow the PTHV Program. Currently, 24 schools are participating. As of January 2012, all participating teachers and staff will record each home visit on Infinite Campus, the district student information system. This will enable us to assess students’ progress over time, and compare changes in attendance, behavior, and achievement. This month, we will be training our twenty fourth school, with 20 staff attending the training. Three other participating schools will be sending an additional 8 staff to be trained. This month, we will be sending a Request for Proposal to expand the program to additional schools. Due to the expansion, we will increase our number of trainers and establish school based training teams. Between August and December 2012, PTHV staff has completed 2,149 home visits!
Louisiana- Lafayette’s Alice Boucher World Languages Academy launched a home visiting effort following training by the Sacramento team last year.
Massachusetts- Springfield MA is busy with data collection and planning regarding the home visiting project in their area. Additionally, their local training team brought a training and project support to colleagues in New Bedford recently.
Michigan- Two exciting developments in March! First, the PTHVP team met with site leaders at Romulus Middle School as part of the NEA Priority School Campaign’s expansion of the parent/teacher home visits. The middle school is ready to go and has a training set for May of 2012 so they can launch visits this summer in partnership with a local elementary school! Then, the team spent 3 full days in Flint Michigan meeting with district, union and community members to begin laying the foundation for a launch of home visiting in that community. The most important of all meetings may have been a public meeting with over 100 attendees! All indicators were very positive and we are excited to see this grow under the leadership of FACT (Flint Area Congregations Together).
Minnesota- St. Paul Federation of Teachers successfully negotiated a contract that included a $50 per home visit stipend for teachers who have been through the PTHVP training. The language also includes requirements for attending 2 “debriefing” sessions throughout the school year in order to receive the stipend. The contract was approved on February 21 and is now awaiting ratification. Also, the Education Assistant contract contains the same language. SPFT has a cohort of Train the Trainer recipients’ who are ready to help the project grow significantly in St. Paul in the coming years!
Montana- continues to move home visiting in a variety of locations even in light of the defunding of the PIRC- the main driver of the statewide expansion. However, the relationships are strong, the Office of Public Instruction has also been connected to the PTHVP this past summer working with the schools of promise. We are getting ready to do a more intensive outreach this June in coordination with the annual MBI conference in Bozeman where we are able to connect with hundreds of educators throughout the state. The PTHVP team will be there to provide introductory and TOT sessions to further assist statewide expansion and local trainer capacity.
New York- in partnership with UFT and CEJ, the Sacramento based team is exploring possibilities to launch a pilot in several schools in the Bronx this coming year. An April videoconference is set and will provide an opportunity to expand that conversation and identify next steps to move forward.
Nevada- In Reno, 26 Title I sites are participating in spring home visits and word has gotten out to non Title I sites who are also expressing an interest in doing home visits. A fall evaluation report by Laura Davidson, Evaluator, PPA&A is now available to anyone who is interested. In Las Vegas, Yesenia Gonzalez recently partnered with the state and national PTA to provide a key note address to Spanish Speaking parents working in the Clark County area to improve schools. The day long conference was a big success and we expect parents will be bringing the idea of home visits back to their local PTA and sites.
Oregon- A training in January took place in Salem, Oregon with over 30+ educators attending. Members of the Salem Oregon home visiting leadership team are presenting with PTHVP staff at the upcoming NEA conference in Memphis on March 10th. The focus of this presentation will be to talk about the PTHVP in general and the specific leadership role the classified folks in Salem have taken to bring this project to the Salem community with the support of the NEA Priority Schools Campaign.
Virginia- Wakefield Virginia is planning to bring the PTHVP team to their community later this spring to do a train the trainer session and move their efforts up to the next level. The Wakefield teachers were very instrumental in participating in the trainings this past summer in the Washington DC communities!
Washington DC- over 400 teachers trained to date and 700 home visits so far this year! Two schools , Stanton and Garfield, struggling for years are reporting improved teacher morale and improved school culture and positive feedback from parents. DC will have local training team set up and ready to roll this year.
Please don't let the momentum stop! Donate on March 13th or March 14th or think about becoming a monthly donor-every amount helps!
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local project director/teacher