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Letter to Congress on the Sacramento Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project

March 22, 2012

Dear Senator/Representative:

The Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project is one of 16 exemplary efforts profiled in Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0, a comprehensive research-based report on the role of families and communities in raising student achievement from the National Education Association, which represents more than three million educators nationwide.

The Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project trains teachers to make home visits to families, a proven means of building relationships and fostering parent-teacher collaboration. Started in 1998 in Sacramento, California — by the school district, the Sacramento City Teachers Association, and a faith-based community group called Sacramento ACT — the program has since spread to other school districts in California; Washington, DC; and 10 states: Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington. Evaluations have found that home visits by teachers lead to better student attendance, higher test scores, and lower suspension and expulsion rates.

The link between parental involvement and student achievement has been studied and documented for more than 40 years. The evidence is consistent and conclusive: how children live and what they experience outside of school — even before they start school — are major factors in academic success. Parents who are involved in their child’s school tend to be more active in their community and take advantage of local learning resources — everything from libraries and museums to adult learning programs.

Noted researcher Joyce Epstein, director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships, sums up the findings this way: “Schools, families, and communities all contribute to student success, and the best results come when all three work together as equal partners.”

NEA members play an active role in every initiative profiled in Family School Partnerships 2.0. Other common elements include mechanisms to evaluate student outcomes, reasonable cost, and potential for replication. Successful strategies identified by the researchers include:

  • Setting high expectations for students
  • Using data to determine priorities and strategies
  • Tailoring programs to local needs

The full profile of the Parent-Teacher Home Visit Project is attached and available online at http://bit.ly/s4EZ5f, along with the rest of the report. We urge you to check it out!

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson
Director, Center for Advocacy

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations