Why teacher home visits help dropout prevention

Parent Teacher Home Visits in Sacramento and other similar organizations are once again popularizing home visits, a practice commonplace in the 1960s. Each school year, the group facilitates at least two visits from school faculty members to a student’s home. During these exchanges, families and school staff discuss their goals and expectations for the student’s education.

Sacramento parent Theresa Hernandez characterized her first teacher visit as life-changing. “I got involved in my daughter’s school, where I met a great woman who gave me a helping hand,” she says.

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education has found that underprivileged students whose parents are active in their schools are more likely to graduate. That proved true for Hernandez, a domestic worker. Her daughter is now a college freshman.

Parent Teacher Home Visits began in 1998 in Sacramento when tensions between families and schools escalated.

“The community was pointing the finger at the school because none of the staff lived in our community, and the school was blaming the parents,” says Yesenia Ramirez, the group’s training director.

Students dropped out in droves, so focus groups were held to find solutions. Teachers suggested home visits to families to build trust, and Parent Teacher Home Visits launched to train school staff to make the (consensual) visits. Today, the organization operates in 26 states and Washington, D.C.

Main story: Dropout prevention gives students reason to stay


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