To improve the academic achievement, attendance, classroom behavior, and homework completion of struggling students and to prepare them for the workforce, HOME WORKS! trains, supports, and helps pay teachers to make home visits to get their parents engaged in their education. HOME WORKS! improves student outcomes by building and/or strengthening relationships between teachers and parents – school and home – to give parents tools and strategies to use at home to complement instruction in school.
HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program founded in St. Louis in 2007 to partner families and teachers to improve the academic achievement, attendance, classroom behavior, and homework completion of high-need students. HOME WORKS! began in a handful of elementary schools, and this school year, 25,000 visits later, we are in 32 early childhood, elementary, middle, and high schools in nine urban, suburban, and rural districts, and in five charter schools in Missouri, and reaching more than 1,800 students on average annually.
Home visits aren’t a new idea. Parents as Teachers and Nurses for Newborns provide home visits to families of children from birth to age three, and many states in the U.S. require home visits before the first year of school starts. HOME WORKS! was inspired by a similar program in Texas and California that began in 1998. Teachers there recorded an increase in academic achievement and test scores, improved attendance and homework completion, a significant increase in family involvement, improved attitudes about school by both the student and the family, and a decrease in discipline problems.
HOME WORKS! defines parent engagement as a set of behaviors that parents intentionally and continuously practice that positively impact a child’s learning. Parent engagement acknowledges and focuses on the connection between a child’s learning at home and academic success at school.