DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As the new school year arrives many parents are buying school supplies and making plans to meet their child's teacher, but what if the teacher came to you? At home? Yikes or yay!
Perhaps a bit of both, but at different times.
"When they first started, I was like: make sure this is clean! Pick up this!" recalls parent Abigail Rodriguez with a laugh. "You don't want the teacher to see this!"
Now, Rodriguez, whose third child is a student at the Momentous Institute School in Dallas' Oak Cliff neighborhood, knows better.
"But, once you get through it, and you go through it for so many years, you know that's not what they're there for: they're not there to judge if your house is clean or not, they just want to be there for you and your child!"
"It really lays a foundation for us to build on," says Maria Christiansen of the Momentous Institute School. Christiansen has spent 15 years in the classroom and admits that teachers are sometimes nervous as well-- but, that families are always welcoming and eager to partner in their student's success.
"The payoff is great!" exclaims Christiansen. "Teachers have an opportunity to see how the families exist in their own environment, they establish a relationship quickly with the child, they have a point of reference for later in the year when they talk about being in the child's home: remember when I saw that trophy you showed me?"
She says for teachers, the home visits are "investments" in relationship building-- and makes the parents feel valued. And get this: younger students get monthly visits from staff.
"When they come, they have like a box of different activities... I think that's helpful, too," says Britny Ramos, who has two daughters at the school, including Ellie who turns 4 years old next week. "I think some families wouldn't be able to afford those activitIes, otherwise. She thinks that she's just playing; but, it's helping her learn certain things."
At Momentous Institute School, emotional learning happens alongside academics, so insuring that families feel valued and supported is key.
"All of the teachers help you," says Ramos' daughter, Emma Posada, who's entering her 3rd grade year. "Whenever you actually need help with something, they give you the attention that you need and take the time to help you do what you need."
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