Opinion: How home visits strengthen school-community relationships

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Home visits can help break down barriers of comfort and personal bias between schools and families, especially in marginalized communities.

(Chris Samuels | Salt Lake Tribune) Students and parents arrive at Glacier Hills Elementary in Sandy for the first day of the school year, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

At the beginning of one school year, I was told that I had a historically disruptive and disruptive student at our school. Although this reminder was tiring, I knew exactly what to do. I initially scheduled a home visit with this family before anything negative happened. The student said nothing during the visit, but the rest of the family was welcoming and informative.

After our visit, my co-teacher and I talked about what we had learned and ways I could adjust my teaching practice to help with classroom management.

Conducting home visits with my students and their families is one of the most effective ways to build strong relationships within my school community. It not only helped to increase parental involvement but also to support classroom management.

I have conducted home visits with elementary and middle school students for over five years. I’ve done tours at their homes, public libraries, McDonalds, food court malls, city parks between soccer practices. Through home visits, I created a network of families who supported my class, made lasting friendships with families, and most importantly, gained the families’ trust.

As parents share their hopes and dreams with their students during home visits, I reinforce those goals and hopes in the classroom. I love the visits because they show students that both parents and teachers are invested in their academic success. These practices help create a safer and more inclusive classroom for students.

One of the unique experiences of home visits is learning from families of diverse backgrounds and cultural backgrounds. They teach me verbal and non-verbal social cues that help with classroom management. Through home visits, I learned to be more empathetic to my students. Knowing more about their history and whether or not they have access to educational support at home is critical information for a teacher. This helps in planning and identifying academic support in schools to meet the needs of students. Home visits can help break down barriers of comfort and personal bias between schools and families, especially in marginalized communities.

Teachers often express fear of the unknown, loss of personal time, and question the impact of home visits on academic achievement. However, families have mixed views about having teachers in their homes. I urge teachers to consider their fears and doubts about visits. Then learn that students may feel the same way about attending school. But if you are afraid, they will feel it. Because of home visits, it is best to address student issues with parents throughout the year. Parents are more open to listening and more involved in their child’s education.

The student who didn’t say anything during the home visit became my biggest advocate, the student of the month who showed outstanding academic progress. Comments about how the student was less disruptive and disruptive at the school were more frequent than other staff members at the school. Relationships with family have grown positively. Without that home visit, I would have had no idea how to handle the student’s behavior throughout the school year.

If you make open house visits to learn from families, they will return the same courtesy. Home visits cannot solve all problems in the classroom, but the return on investment in these practices is immeasurable. The impact of strengthening school community relationships can be felt outside the classroom.

Fangaafa Fataiomemanu Tu’ifua, said by her students, Mrs.

A single cemeteryknown to her students Ms. Fatay, is currently a 5th grade teacher in the Canyons School District and serves as a Hope Street Group Utah Teaching Fellow. Her biggest investment as a teacher is building positive relationships.

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