Supported by the Flamboyan Foundation, DCPS’s Family Engagement Partnership (FEP) helps school leaders and teachers engage families in ways that benefit student learning. Participating schools have seen significant academic growth, along with more active and engaged school communities. One of the most popular family engagement strategies is the use of home visits. In teams of two, teachers and staff visit families at home or in a location of the family’s choosing and focus on getting to know the family and child. During the visits, teachers and families share their hopes, dreams, and expectations for the student. During the 2016-2017 school year, more than 11,000 DCPS families in FEP schools received a home visit from their child’s teacher.
A parent of a sixth grade student at Jefferson spoke highly of the school’s efforts, explaining: “The amount of fear I had prior to my daughter leaving elementary school to attend middle school was massive; yet after meeting with her teachers and principal, my anxiety dissipated. Jefferson Academy has shown me that they enjoy learning about the child and family to build on what is needed to ensure all students have a productive learning experience and environment.”
A Johns Hopkins University study found that families and teachers believe FEP activities are helpful in improving student and school outcomes and that participation in FEP activities was positively associated with parents’ confidence to help their children in school as well as parents’ perceptions of schools and teachers. Researchers also found that students who received a home visit missed 24 percent fewer days of school than those who do not, and that students who received a visit were 1.5 times more likely to read on or above grade level by the end of the school year.