One of the best parts of my job is to hear about the impact our project has had on the various educators that we have trained around the country. I received this story a month ago from Nicole Matoon, a first grade teacher from Sunnyside Elementary and I wanted to share with you our donor the impact your generous contribution has made.
"When I first learned about the home visit program, I was resistant to the idea. I was not willing to spend more of my personal time on school-related business, even for pay. Three years later, when I became a first-grade teacher at Sunnyside, all three of my teaching partners were planning on doing home visits. I reluctantly took the training, and during August I started calling families and visiting their homes. I was surprised at how many families were receptive, even excited, by the idea of me coming to their homes. They were grateful that I would take the time and make the effort to get to know them outside of school. It was the beginning of an exciting new phase of my teaching career. By visiting students and their families, I was able to learn an amazing amount about them, and forge bonds that would continue into the school year. Not only do I have a better understanding of my students and where they are coming from; I can relate classroom concepts to familiar things at home. The kids were thrilled to have their teacher come to their houses and because of the home visit, communication between school and home is much smoother than it has ever been for me. Parents are more involved in the classroom and with helping their kids at home. They are now comfortable contacting me with questions and concerns. The partnerships I have built with parents and students has changed the climate of my classroom in so many positive ways. It has definitely been worth the investment of my time outside of the school day. Once unenthusiastic about this program, I am now eager to continue it for as long as I am able."
Dear generous donor,
The Parent Teacher Home Visit Project is on the move and we want to truly thank you for all the support. As the warm summer months came to an end, the home visit training team naively thought our schedule would wind down too, when in fact, it was just the opposite. September came upon us and we began training like crazy all over the regional Sacramento area. In Sacramento alone our project launched at 47 school sites and then regionally spread out to the San Juan Unified School District. In San Juan we have developed a partnership training educators in their district over a 6 week professional development course. We are currently on week 4 and are hearing that it is a huge success.
Nationally, our project continues to build momentum. In September and October we visited Salem, Oregon training teachers from kindergarten through high school. In October we traveled to both St. Paul, Minnesota and down south to Montgomery, Alabama to train educators on how to build relationships with their students and families by doing home visits. Both trips were extremely positive and great cultural learning experiences for our team.
Finally, words cannot express the success of this year's PTHVP national conference last week in Reno, Nevada! Parents, teachers, administrators, school board and community members from eleven states came together to share our common efforts, expertise, challenges and opportunities. Our model is growing in leaps and bounds- just last week we were asked to help train and launch a pilot in NYC.
As the Sacramento model continues to spread nationally, we balanced the time together between the nuts and bolts of launching, expanding and sustaining a project and the need to formalize our national collaboration to better leverage funding and policy changes. We focused on our national network, building and sustaining our regional partners, and creating and nominating our national advisory board. The testimony we heard from principals in California, teachers in Colorado, parents in Massachusetts, and project partners in Washington DC provided inspiration and guidance as we framed and made our national call to action!
In your spare time we encourage you to please take a moment to read the two articles attached below, one is from a newspaper in Minnesota and the other is from the Washington Post, just click on the link type in local, education and home visits. Both are excellent representations of the work we do around the country.
Finally, we could not possibly do this local and national work without the support from you our donor. As the holiday season approaches please remember to keep our nonprofit in your heart and mind.
As stated in a former report we have been extremely busy during these past few months.
Locally in Sacramento (where the project first started) 45 sites in the Sacramento City Unified School District were officially funded to do home visits. Trainings have begun to happen too as schools begin to reopen. Thirteen elementary sites are currently conducting preschool into kindergarten transitional home visits, thanks in part to some of your donations. Five of our comprehensive high schools are working on transition into high school home visits. Many of the schools have found this initial contact vital to keeping the students in school and on the path to graduation. Terrific connections are being made between the school and the home; therefore providing a less intimidating and more relaxed first day of school for many students.
Regionally around Sacramento PTHVP has contracted with the San Juan Unified School District for the coming year to provide training and consultation support for the professional development track and for 4-5 sites that will be kicking off home visits this fall. Natomas High School is also planning a parent teacher home visit training and launch in September.
Finally nationally we continue to be extremely busy training and consulting with various districts and schools around the nation. In August alone we are training at eight sites in DC, several sites in St. Paul, Minnesota and four reservation communities in Montana.
We also continue to receive positive press. Most recently, this article regarding our New Bedford partners popped up!http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2011/07/building_relationships_with_students_parents.html?qs=home+visit
Just a quick update on our efforts so far this summer: Our team has been very busy throughout California and around the country training educators on how to do relationship building home visits.
In California we trained Pittsburg High School in the bay area and held a phone conference with LAUSD California educators, union and community colleagues in May 2011 to explore and plan for PTHVP to be piloted at Belmont HS and perhaps some other locations. Things appear to be moving forward and we expect a fall launch. The expansion into LAUSD is obviously very exciting given the size and scope of possibilities! In Sacramento City Unified School District we had over 50 K-12 schools apply for home visit funding and in June we launched our preschool into kindergarten transitional home visits, as well as the 9th grade transitional home visits.
Across the country our team conducted a “Train the Trainers” session in both Anchorage, Alaska and Denver, Colorado. “Train the Trainers” is an eight hour interactive training session led by experienced home visiting trainers and is designed to fully prepare selected parents and teachers to become regional trainers for other colleagues and school community members who would like to launch home visit efforts in their areas using this proven model.
We also traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota where we trained over 20 teachers. St. Paul has become a big focus for support from our AFT colleagues. Their interests in home visits have rapidly increased over the past year. The PTHVP team is heading back to MN in August to complete the trainings for interested educators at several sites. The PTHVP also conducted a week's worth of trainings at several Montana communities in June, including a new pre k-12 effort in schools throughout the state. We also connected with the communities that have launched in the past year via a panel of educators and parents who provided ground level expertise on successes and challenges as the model is adapted in their local community. This session was very positive and productive and will help us continue to shape our expansion into rural communities. We will be returning to Montana in August to work with several SIG sites that serve primarily Native American students. For some press on our work see: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/article_bf29493e-9c8e-11e0-82e7-001cc4c03286.htmlArlington, Virginia and Washington DC- the interest in Washington DC schools is nothing short of astounding from the early childhood to high school levels! We've trained educators at five sites within the district and have been invited back in August for several additional training sessions. We also trained a group of educators at a high school in Arlington, Virginia.
Thanks for your support!
I wanted to share with you a great story that one of our families shared with us. Sarah’s story is an excellent example of the power of a relationship building home visit.
My name is Sarah Gebre. I am from Ethiopia. I have lived in Denver, Colorado for the past 6 years. I am married and have four children. All of our kids attend the same elementary school in Denver. Here is my experience with the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project.
The first time the teachers called me to do the parent teacher home visit it seemed a little bit uncomfortable to me and I asked my husband why they would want to come to our home. I thought maybe they wanted to see how we take care of our kids and then say our son would be unable to attend the school. I next called one of my friends and asked her about home visits and she told me to keep my house clean and to take the TV out of my kid’s bedrooms because teachers didn’t like televisions in kid’s bedrooms!
On the day of the home visit when the teachers came to my house, it was a totally different story. During the visit we discussed how my son will be successful in his education and they asked me to be their partner in helping with my son’s education. They invited me to participate in the multicultural festival and they told me I was welcome to contact them anytime I had a question.
After the home visit I felt very respected and comfortable. I started to participate in my child’s school. I felt more comfortable talking to the teachers and asking them questions about my son. The home visit project is a very helpful project for people like me who are new to the United States. It has worked very well for me and I’m sure it would work well for other families too. The home visit project is a great bridge to connect families and schools. It is a wonderful program to help our kids be successful in school and in our future.
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local project director/teacher