Roy Gilbert

Teachers try home meetings to help students

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Katrina Ohlemiller spends most of her afternoons and weekends, not at home, but at the homes of her students.

To get ready, the Hoover Elementary School teacher dedicates dozens of hours a month preparing school supplies, scheduling meetings and traveling to where families are most comfortable.

She’s part of a growing movement of Salem and Keizer educators to make Parent Teacher Home Visits more common practice, with local organizations doubling the program’s funding and providing incentives for staff to foster deeper relationships with their students’ families.

The benefits of the visits extend beyond eliminating barriers and ensuring families are involved in their children’s education. Students become more likely to attend school and score higher on standardized tests.

About 650 staff across Salem-Keizer Public Schools have been trained for home visits. And they want that number to grow.

“That phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ is something that I strongly believe in,” Ohlemiller said. “I am trying to build community and find out how we can work together to best support their child.”

Making time for studentsLast year, Ohlemiller — affectionately known by her students as Ms. O — made three 30- to 60-minute home visits for almost each of her 19 students. She also made certain every student got between 40-75 books.If families aren’t comfortable meeting at home, she meets them at public spaces like a park or coffee shop. If they don’t have school supplies, she buys them crayons, scissors, glue sticks and pencils. And when families […]

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