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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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FINE Newsletter, Volume I, Issue 1
Issue Topic: Home–School Communication

Voices From the Field

When community organizations, schools, and local government work together with families, they can help children learn. Carrie Rose, executive director of the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project, writes about how her program fosters purposeful relationships between families of school-age children and schools through teacher home visits. A national model for home visiting, the program encourages parents and teachers to unite as equal partners across a student's developmental years.

A Community Collaboration
Ten years ago, a faith-based community organizing group called Sacramento Area Congregations Together joined forces with a local teachers union, the Sacramento City Teachers Association, and the local school district, the Sacramento City Unified School District, to form and lead a unique K–12 home visitation model: the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project (PTHVP).

Based on a community organizing model and a commitment to parent empowerment, PTHVP is a unique program that trains teachers across all school grades to conduct home visits.  Unlike many assessment or disciplinary home visit programs, this model is specifically designed for teachers and parents to come together as equal partners, and unlike home visit programs that focus only on the early childhood years, PTHVP encourages and builds partnerships between parents and educators across a child’s developmental years. Through these partnerships, parents and teachers build trust, form relationships, and take the time to share dreams, expectations, experiences, and tools regarding children’s academic success.

How Does PTHVP Work?
Visits are voluntary for all, and participating staff members are trained and compensated. The training includes a step-by-step guide and a discussion of barriers and resources to ensure effective home visits. Generally, teachers visit families once in the fall and then again in the spring.

The focus of the first visit is on building a relationship. In this visit, teachers and parents (known in the model as co-educators) get to know each other, and teachers learn about families’ and students’ strengths. The focus of the second visit is on building capacity. During this visit, teachers shares important and meaningful tools and information with families. 

Home Visits and Adolescents
Evidence shows that family involvement is a particular challenge once students enter secondary school (Bridgeland, Dilulio, Street, & Mason, 2008)), and it is one that PTHVP seeks to overcome. To address the challenges of connecting families with teachers at the middle and high school level, we adapt our basic model to meet the students’ needs at key transitional times in their lives. In some high schools, for example, teachers reach out to families of incoming ninth-graders during the summer before the ninth-grade year to help students prepare for the important new beginning. Some schools, meanwhile, are planning to begin junior-year home visits for students who are college eligible but who may need more information or encouragement to realize their potential.

Independent evaluations of the project show increased parental involvement and improved student academic and social success as a result of participation in PTHVS, which is now a statewide and national model, thanks to the commitment and contributions of its three founding partners.   


Bridgeland, J. M., Dilulio, J. J., Streeter, R. T., & Mason, J. R. (2008). One dream, two realities: Perspectives of parents on American’s high school students. A report by Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises.

To learn more about the Parent Teacher Home Visit Project partnership efforts and evaluations, visit or call 916-448-5290.

This article is part of the January 2009 FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family involvement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the FINE Newsletter Archive, visit

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project