Academic journal article Education

Project Reading and Writing (R.A.W.): Home Visitations and the School Involvement of High-Risk Families

Academic journal article Education

Project Reading and Writing (R.A.W.): Home Visitations and the School Involvement of High-Risk Families

Article excerpt

Introduction and Purpose

When we take a serious look at the education of America's youth, it becomes immediately evident that there is much work to be, done. Educational research has proved to be valuable to improve some of the ills that exist in our educational system. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to ascertain, from the perception of the high-risk families, if home visitations are effective in enhancing the school involvement of these families. If home visits are perceived to be effective, then, are home visits by some educators more effective than home visits by other educators.

Rationale and Background

School Involvement

For the purpose of this study, school involvement is defined as positive actions by key family members to support the efforts of the school by performing these positive acts in the school, in the home, or in the community (Reglin, 1993). The results of these positive acts will help the children to achieve success in the educational process. Examples of positive acts of family school involvement are:

1. Providing assistance with school assignments and projects in order to improve performance,

2. Providing the necessary time and space for study,

3. Becoming involved in a regular Home Visitation Program, and

4. Maintaining regular communication with teachers and school officials.

Demographics on the Population

The participants in the survey were parents/guardians who were the head of their households. The parents/guardians had children in the fourth and fifth grades at an urban school in Escambia County, Florida. Escambia County is a County located in Northwest Florida. The school is located in a zip code zone classified by the Department of Juvenile Justice as a high juvenile crime area. The school has 98.9% of its students enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, and 96% of the students are African-American students. The mobility rate of the school is 63%. Thus, 63% of the students change residence in a school year, mostly because of an inability to pay the house or the apartment rent. The families are forced to move to a different home, usually with a relative or a boyfriend. More demographics are in the section of this paper on findings and conclusions.

Seven years ago, Title I funds established the Neighborhood Learning Program (NLP) at the elementary school. The NLP is an after-school program. The NLP targets more than 80 low-achieving students and provides seven teachers to work with the students in reading, math, and language on Monday afternoons and Thursday afternoons for two hours and on Saturday for five hours. Community and business volunteers are recruited and trained to assist the teachers and students. This researcher wrote a grant proposal to the Florida Learn and Serve agency for a Learn and Serve project to attach to the NLP. The Reading And Writing project was funded to support the NLP's activities in reading and writing and to help the students pass the FCAT test and the Florida Writes test. Additional funds were received from the Target Stores Foundation to fund a Parent Education Program (PEP) for the families of the RAW project's students.

Reading And Writing (RAW) Project

The RAW project has four distinct phases. For the service learning activities in the preparation phase, the RAW project staff recruit and train mentors. Mentor and tutors help mold students' oral presentation strategies, reading strategies, and writing strategies. In the action phase, with the guidance of adult tutors, students tutor other students, teach small classes, and conduct presentations. In the reflection phase, students meet with adult mentors and adult tutors to review tutoring notes, journal entries, and to write essays and to conduct short presentations on their experiences. The Parent Education Program (PEP) added parent training, home visitations, and parent surveying for he families of the RAW project students. …

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