- Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews urges whoever takes over for outgoing DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to maintain the district’s home visiting program, which has ballooned from 848 visits during the 2011-12 school year to 12,095 last year.
- Mathews writes the program is rare, as other districts often say teachers don’t have time for the visits and that they could be dangerous — but in the last five years of the DC program, home visiting has been tied to higher attendance, higher reading proficiency and better parent engagement.
- DC teachers set up visits with parents in advance and go in pairs, getting paid $34 per evening or weekend visit, and while they do more listening than talking, they don’t take notes and sometimes meet parents at local cafes or restaurants if that is more comfortable for parents.
Parent engagement is critical for student success. Research has made that very clear, yet it's something many schools struggle with. Home visiting is one way to make the teacher commitment to student success clear and create a deeper connection between home and school that can lead to better outcomes.
Home visiting is much more common in the early childhood years. Programs send parenting and medical experts to the homes of infants and toddlers to help create good habits. Parents learn how best to support their children’s reading and speaking skills. But home visiting dwindles as students age. DC is a good example of why that shouldn’t happen.