HVP provides training, planning, implementation, reflection, and support to teachers, staff, and school administrators to cultivate the building of trusting relationships where student wellbeing, learning, and success are the focus. We help staff identify and remove barriers to engagement and partnership. We believe building trusting relationships with families begins with confronting and understanding our own biases and assumptions. Intentional two-way communication that focuses on listening and learning from families about the hopes and dreams they have for their children is essential.

The training addresses what many educators perceive to be barriers to family engagement – lack of time, concerns about safety, and language and cultural differences – and offers concrete steps to overcome those barriers. The training also addresses the assumptions teachers might have about families, how those assumptions impact relationships, and how to confront them. After addressing barriers and assumptions, the training outlines a protocol for scheduling and conducting home visits in a way that demonstrates respect for parents and families.

These home visits are scheduled (rather than impromptu) meetings between families and teachers as partners – the teacher as the expert on the curriculum and the family as the expert on the child. The goal of these visits and the resulting relationships is to illuminate a more complete picture of every child, as well as to understand a family’s unique hopes and dreams for their child concerning both academic and personal development. Teachers conduct one visit with each selected family in the fall to build trusting relationships and a second visit to the same families in the spring to help them build their capacity to support schooling at home. During these visits, teachers are asked to follow the relationship-building protocols shared during the training. They are also asked to contact the students’ families at least once every six weeks throughout the school year to further strengthen their relationships with the families.

To bring HVP to your school or district, email svanhoy@stand.org.