Teacher Home Visits

From WAMU in DC:

Natalie Gordon, principal at Jefferson Middle School and Academy in Southwest D.C., says she's already seeing the benefits of what she calls the "exhausting but awesome" effort.

Gordon says these (teacher) home visits are a "huge priority" for her, especially since about half her staff is new this year.

Last year her school had 250 suspensions. This year, she says they're on track to cut that rate in half. "There are students that are surprised that teachers are coming into their homes, so they check their behavior a little bit more in the school building because they think, 'oh my god, my teacher might come back!"

Rena Johnson, an assistant principal at Stanton Elementary School in Southeast D.C., says her teachers are conscious of how they talk even while setting up the visit, calling the parents 'mom' and 'dad' rather than 'Mr. and Mrs.' She says that helps set an informal tone. Because of safety concerns, teachers always go in pairs. And she says they don't take notes.

"For some of our families when folks are writing, it's social services, and for our families they don't want someone checking to see if their clothes are washed, or clean."

1. Congrats to Kristin Ehrgood and her team. Kristin is a proud fellow Wilson Bulldog from Sinking Spring, PA. Also she is

the founder of the Flamboyan Foundation, which is working with teachers in 20 D.C. schools. She says she envisioned a two-way exchange where teachers learn from parents. "What are your hopes and dreams for your child? What do I need to do so I can be a great teacher for your child? That in and of itself changes the dynamic radically."

2. Geek alert. You might have noticed as an aside that the principal at Jefferson mentioned: half her staff are new this year. You'd think: wow, that's big turnover!

The cause is a federal rule about "turnaround schools." Does this widespread teacher "replacement" work? Here's a study about that.

3. Bonus Arne Duncan action in 6 minute video below.