Aug 8, 2018

Teachers Head Out Into Community to Meet Families Before First Day

Tussing staff passing out Popsicles

Summer break is winding down, and Pickerington teachers are busy setting the groundwork for an amazing year. Staff members from several Pickerington schools are taking time during back-to-school preparation to head out into the community to meet students and families before the first day of class.

For six years, the staff at Tussing Elementary has been going on home visits. Teachers split off into groups and head out into neighborhoods to introduce themselves to their students and their families.

So, why home visits? Well for Tussing Principal Matt Dansby and his staff, it’s important to make great connections with the students and families.

“Sometimes students don’t know what to think when they first come to school,” Dansby said. “Home visits are our first opportunity to introduce ourselves and say, ‘Hi! I’m going to be your teacher’.”

Feeling nervous for the first day of school is common for students and parents, whether it’s a child’s first time at school or just a new year with a new teacher. Home visits can provide a sense of comfort on the first day in that the parents and students have already met the teacher at home.

Tussing students get a letter in the mail that tells them who their teacher is going to be, but with home visits the school is taking the extra step of going to their door, Dansby said.

“Home visits are a favorite for the staff at Tussing,” said Dana Day, building secretary at Tussing Elementary, who visited a neighborhood last week. “We like to go the extra mile to reach out. We are a family and a team at Tussing, and we like to extend that to our students’ families.”

Teachers and staff members at both Lakeview Junior High and Ridgeview STEM Junior High are also going on home visits before the first day of school.

“We like to reach out to our families and get the students excited to come back,” said Ridgeview STEM Junior High Principal Eric Koch. “Building positive relationships right from the beginning is our goal.” In addition to benefitting families, home visits have a positive effect on teachers, Koch added. The teachers get to know the family better and it helps them relate to the student.

In today’s fast-moving world, something as genuine as a knock on the door, a hello, and an introduction begins building the foundation of very important partnership between teachers and families. Home visits help create an encouraging and motivating atmosphere for the students, families, and schools.

In a similar fashion, teachers and staff from Harmon Middle School are going to several local spots on Friday, Aug. 10, to meet students and families to host “Popsicle Pop-Ups.” Staff will be there to meet families, hand out free Popsicles, give school supplies to any student who needs them, and get students excited to come back to school.

“Going out into the community will help set the tone for the year,” said Harmon Middle School Principal Jared Moore. This is the first year Harmon has done pop-ups, but the goal is to promote togetherness and gratitude, and continue that attitude and sense of community into the school year, Moore said.

Locations of some of the Popsicle Pop-Ups Harmon Middle School will be hosting  Friday, Aug. 10, from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.: 

Pheasant Run Apartment Office
Tussing Elementary School Play/Court Area
Fairfield Elementary School Play Area
Barnes & Noble Pickerington
Roosters Pickerington
Harmon Middle School (out front)
Pickerington Pool
Chevington Pool
Brentwood Lakes Apartment Pool House
Brooksedge Apartment Pool House