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D.C. school gets high marks for home visits

A program that takes teachers into their students' homes is getting high marks. (ABC7)

A program that takes teachers into their students' homes is showing success in improving reading and attendance.

Every teacher at D.C. Scholars Stanton Elementary in Southeast is expected to conduct a home visit between July and October with their students' parents.

Stormiyah Denson is a fifth grade student at Stanton Elementary and was initially surprised by the practice. "I never thought a teacher would be coming to my house," she said.

A new study shows home visits are having an impact. The study done by Johns Hopkins University researchers involved 12 D.C. public elementary schools and more than 4,000 students in the 2014-2015 school year. Researchers concluded that students whose parents received home visits, had 24 percent fewer absences and were more likely to read at or above grade level than those whose families did not receive a home visit.

Stanton Principal Rena Johnson says having teachers visit parents at home has helped improve attendance and parent participation. "Our families feel welcomed in our school. This year we're totaling 97 percent of our kids coming to school bottoms in seats and they're engaged in learning every day and they're coming on time, she proudly stated."

The program is part of the Flamboyan Foundation's Family Engagement Partnership. President and Founder Kristin Ehrgood says what makes home visits effective is the concept of teachers and families working together. She explained, "Educators are experts in education. Families are experts in kids and they're getting together and working on behalf of children."

Stanton teacher JaRonda Gumby enjoys home visits and believes her students are performing better as a result of them. "It makes a tremendous impact on them behaviorally and academically," she told ABC7.

Katrina Minor says connecting with her son Brian's teacher at home has blossomed into a valuable relationship. "If you don't have that triangle, things sometimes spring off. But I have that triangle where we're all communicating all the time," she expressed.

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