This was the slogan Thursday for 45 Black Fox Elementary teachers as they went to students’ homes delivering information and smiles.
“Our main mission is to make every family feel welcome,” said Dr. Kim Fisher, principal.
This is the first time the Bradley County school has had such an event. Fisher said visiting students’ homes provided an opportunity for parents to ask questions and for students to find out what teacher they will have.
The principal said sometimes parents are not comfortable coming to the school to ask questions. She hoped visiting the homes would help parents feel more at ease.
Not every teacher was visiting their own students. Groups were given the best route of houses to visit that were geographically closer together. Teachers were divided into groups of three or four.
Kindergarten teacher Emily Jones received an excited hug from Sayde Blaylock when the first-grader saw her at the front door. Jones said Sayde had not been in her class, but the classrooms were on the same hall.
Jones said the teachers had found out about the opportunity to visit students’ homes back in May.
“I think it’s really neat. You get to see the kids and they get really excited when you come to their houses,” Jones said.
Jones and fellow kindergarten teacher Michelle Policastro were able to visit some of their future students’ homes during Thursday’s home visits.
The teachers along with fourth-grade teacher Kevin England and instructional coach Lisa Armstrong visited 28 homes.
Armstrong said she had visited students’ homes in the past when she needed to talk to a parent. However, she said she had never visited so many in one day.
“It lets the families have a positive connection with the school right off the bat. Maybe they will feel more comfortable coming in and interacting with us at the school,” Armstrong said.
The day also provided teachers with an opportunity to see a student’s home environment.
“I think getting an observation of their home life even if it is just a snapshot on the front porch, I think it gives us more perspective of where they are coming from and gives us more ability to teach them in a more effective way,” England said.
Fisher said this is something she has wanted to do for a long time.
Fisher said she learned the value of visiting a student’s home back when she was a second-grade teacher. One of her students had broken his leg and she went to visit him.
“It really turned my heart a lot, so I started making it a point to get more involved with the families (of my students),” Fisher said.
As a principal, Fisher said she has tried to continue knowing the families of Black Fox students.
“We all have the same interests — the child,” Fisher said.
The idea to visit every student’s home began when Fisher attended a Model Schools conference and heard about a school in Kentucky that was doing something similar.
Each house received a bag with a Black Fox school calendar, a pen with the school’s website address on it and a pizza coupon.
Fisher said she was also excited for the opportunity the event provided for teachers to develop relationships.
Thursday evening students and parents had a chance to meet the students’ teachers for the year, at a meet-and-greet event at the school.