Canadian family engagement expert Dr Debbie Pushor (University of Saskatchewan) is trialling a program of Parent Teacher Home Visits in Canada, modelled on a successful program that has been running in the USA since 1998.
Home visits are a high-impact strategy for family engagement. A study by Johns Hopkins University in 2019 found that schools that systematically implemented Parent Teacher Home Visits experienced decreased rates of student chronic absenteeism and increased rates of student English Language Arts and math proficiency.
Home visits also interrupt bias and judgment, and have demonstrated benefits for teachers, parents/families, as well as students.
Through this project, Debbie and her collaborators are aiming to foster connections and relationships between educators, students, and their families. Further, they are striving to create inclusive, safe, and welcoming school environments. The pillars of connections and relationships drive the goals through which students learn what they need for their future, feel safe and supported, belong, are valued, and can be themselves.
How home visits work
Parent Teacher Home Visits connect the expertise of the family on their child with the classroom expertise of the teachers. The visit is not a “drop-in,” but rather an appointment set between two willing parties in a setting outside of the school. The student’s home provides the most opportunity for learning and sharing, but teachers also may meet families at the library, a park or a coffee shop if needed.