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Teachers Who Make House Calls

A group of teachers at Carney Academy in New Bedford, Mass., paid visits to their students' homes this past year, for no other reason than to get to know their parents better, reports the South Coast Today.

The teachers visited 30 (out of 500-plus) of their students' families once in the fall and once in the spring—a small start to a project which was only funded for the past school year and which aimed to "establish and build a relationship with parents outside of the school setting." As one parent told the paper, seeing her child's teacher "outside of class made it more than a teacher relationship. They became like friends or an extended family."

Carney's program operates under the umbrella of the Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project, a model that originated in Sacramento, Calif., in 1998 to "address the cycle of blame that existed between parents and site personnel" at the time, according to PTHVP's website. Since then, the project's model has been used by schools in 11 other states.

Many are hoping the program will continue in Carney. "I can call my son's teacher whenever I have a question or a problem, and he knows this," one mother said. She added that she wasn't as comfortable with her daughter's teacher because she didn't receive visits from her.

Lynn Garnett, a participant teacher in the project, told the paper that the visits she made to one student's home paid off. "This particular student's grades and attendance have improved since we had the first visit because he knows I would call his house, that I know his mom," said Garnett.

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