Promising Practices to Reduce Chronic Absence

Parent-Teacher Home Visits

A child’s parent is their first teacher and parent engagement is vital for a child’s success in school. For that reason, educators founded the Sacramento-based Parent Teacher Home Visit Project. The program, which is voluntary for educators and families, brings together teachers and families within the home. Teachers are trained and compensated for visits outside of the school day. These paired visits are not targeted for a specific demographic of students; rather they seek to build the relationships between schools and families. This research-based model has proven effective. A Johns Hopkins University study found that students whose families received a home visit attended school on a more regular basis than those who did not have a home visit. Students whose families received a home visit were absent, on average, 2.7 fewer days than students whose families did not receive a home visit. This difference represents a 24% reduction in school absences.


In 2015, Windsor Public Schools piloted a program in which educators conduct home visits the Parent Teacher Home Visit project model. Seeking to strengthen relationships with families, pairs of district-trained teachers visited 111 homes of kindergarten and third grade students as well as students who were new to the school district. This successful pilot will be scaled up in 2016-17 with support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.


The features of the Windsor Parent Teacher Home Visit model are:


  1. Building relationships through Parent Teacher Home Visits - Teachers do one home visit around the start of the school year, starting in August and ending in October.The focus is on listening, learning and building relationships. Each teacher asks students and their families about their hope and dreams for their child for that school year. Feedback from parents and staff has been tremendously positive. Says Russell Sills, Director of Family and Community Partnership, “Some parents said that this was the first time anyone had asked them about their hopes and dreams for their child.” According to district data, 96 percent of parents and one hundred percent of participating teachers would recommend a home visit to their peers.
  2. Focus on transition years - Windsor targets their home visits for the critical transition years in which students enter a new school: prekindergarten, kindergarten, third grade, sixth grade and students who are new to the district.
  3. Scaling up success - After a successful first year of the program, the district found a philanthropic partner to assist them with scaling up. With support from The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, the district established an Office of Family and Community Partnership.Their goal is to grow from 111 home visits in 2016-17 to 500 in 2017-18.

As a result of Windsor’s successes, districts including Meriden and Vernon are piloting Parent Teacher Home Visit Project programs in 2017-18


Engaging Families

Strategy: Parent-Teacher Home Visits

District: Windsor Public Schools

District Snapshot: 3,214 Students; 521 Hispanic/Latino; 902 White; 1457 African American; and 334 Other; 10 Schools, PK-Grade 12; 8.7% chronic absence rate (2015-16) and 9.7% (2016-17)

Contact Information:   Russell Sills, Director, Office of Family and Community Partnerships,


Sheldon, Steven and Sol Bee Jung. Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships. (2015, September). The Family Engagement Partnership Student Outcome Evaluation. Retrieved from Parent Teacher Home Visit Project: