What is going to “transform” your school? It’s not a new gadget or buzz-word of the day non-sense. This is back to basics. Such a simple idea that you imagine couldn’t possibly be that powerful. Stick around, and I’ll show you how you can take advantage of these\ techniques for free.
Developing a relationship with the student’s family is the way to increase achievement and attendance and reduce disruptive behaviors. When parents feel involved and students know that their parents and the school are on the same team, the game changes.
In Washington, a non-profit company named Flamboyan, is working to build a connection between schools and families by paying teachers to conduct home visits in the summer before the school year begins. The teachers, administrators, and parents participating in the program all say that doing home-visits has “transformed” their school.
The teachers are given specific questions to ask to build rapport with the families. They are advised not to bring any papers to sign, but to make the visit more casual and conversational to make parents feel heard and that their child is cared for by the teacher.
Here is an example of some of the questions the teachers ask:
“Tell me about your child’s experiences in school.”
“Tell me about your experiences in school.”
“Tell me about your hopes and dreams for your child’s future.”
“What do you want your child to be someday?”
“What do I need to do to help your child learn more effectively?”
Can you imagine your child’s teacher coming to your home and asking you what goals you have for your child? That level of caring and service is unheard of for any organization, much less a school.
Last summer, I drove an extra two hours to see my daughter’s allergist because he personally called me after her last visit to see how the medications he’d put her on were working. I know that doctors are busy and when he called, I felt he cared for my daughter and our experience because he personally took the time to reach out.
It seems that the “personal touch” is often the piece that is neglected, but I know that for me, it is the piece that makes me feel engaged. Doing visits to the home take the pressure off of the parents to “patron” the school. As an educator, it is invaluable to see what a kid’s life is like at home.
Perhaps your school is not able to replicate the home visits, but using these questions at your next parent meeting or at the beginning of the year conference would be a solid start toward building relationships and a sense of community at your school.
Flamboyn has several resources on their website HERE if you’re interested in learning more.
It’s about being curious, not presumptive. We all have a lens through which we see the world. What if we were able to peek through the lens of another? It might be something close to empathy and it might change everything.