I canNOT believe that there is only one more week of summer break! In DC, teachers go back on August 19th, and our new little loves come to us on August 26th. Literally two weeks from Monday I will be greeting 27 brand new first graders. Yikes! I don’t know if it’s been how busy my personal life has been this summer, or if the space/time continuum has really started to move forward at a faster pace, but this summer has really flown by. Really, it feels like I just packed up my classroom last week.
Over the past few years, my school has tried out several different parent engagement initiatives. One of the ones that has been pushed the most intensely is the home visit program. (If you’re interested you can check out their website here.) We partner with the Flamboyan Foundation to support this initiative, but the basic idea is this: before the school year, or early in the school year, teachers go to visit the homes of all their students to build a relationship with the family. There’s obviously more nuances involved than that (you’re supposed to take a partner with you; you schedule the visit, and call to confirm, etc.), but that’s the basic core. It’s a very interesting program, and I feel like sometimes it really pays off and sometimes it doesn’t as much. I usually do my home visits with my grade level special ed teacher, since she’s in my classroom often and all of my students will interact with her on some level. I will say the one thing I like the most about the program is that it’s really nice to already know and recognize kids before the school year starts.
One thing that I’m really working on this year is to have a small base of parents who will volunteer/support our classroom throughout the year. I’m thinking that I’ll start them out with preparation tasks, like prepping materials and work stations, maybe organizing the library? But what I’m wondering is: how do you get parents into your classroom? What do you ask them to do?