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Jennifer Gill, Superintendent
1900 West Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62704
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District teachers make neighborhood visits and engage families

August 31, 2015

Call them superheroes or caped crusaders. Just make sure to answer the door when they knock. Staff at several District 186 schools have been walking neighborhoods recently to share information about the new school year and connect with students and families.

Matheny-Withrow Elementary staff donned superhero capes on a bus tour throughout their school boundaries at summer’s end, doling out snacks and hula-hoops and reminding families about registration day. They visited more than 55 houses in just two hours and passed out 100 informational bags. As a result, they saw a 60 percent increase over last year in students registering on time, with all students in class on time the first day and no one waiting to register.

“It was fun for the adults and the kids were excited to see us,” said Matheny-Withrow Principal Kathy Hulcher. “We learned more about our neighborhood and families. With a deeper understanding, it will be easier to build relationships and connect.”

Similarly, Feitshans Elementary staff did a neighborhood walk last week to visit families, welcome them back for the new school year and personally invite them to the upcoming Open House that will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

“It was a great experience,” said Feitshans Principal Chris Colgren. “We were able to successfully visit 141 families and encouraged them to join us for our Open House. Nearly all said they would. They were very appreciative of our visits and I anticipate this experience has helped to strengthen the home-school connection between families and staff.”

The effort mirrors a national movement of school staff making home visits, which serve to increase communication, trust and support between families and teachers.