DANVILLE — The Danville District 118 school board on Wednesday night will consider a recommendation to pilot a Parent Teacher Home Visit program next school year.
The home visit project will be in collaboration with the Danville Education Association, who brought the idea to the school district two or three years ago, according to Superintendent Mark Denman.
Earlier this year, DEA President Derrice Hightower, Danville High School teacher David Covey, North Ridge Middle School teacher Tony Montgomery and Associate Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat attended a conference about the home visit program in Minneapolis.
“We were very, very impressed,” Desmolin-Kherat said of the success seen with the program. “We heard from parents on the receiving end, teachers and students.”
The program, which is part of the National Parent Teacher Home Visit Program, will be piloted at both North Ridge and South View middle schools and DHS during the 2015-2016 school year.
Desmoulin-Kherat said she believes Danville will be the first school district in Illinois to participate in the program.
During the pilot of the program, “We will focus on the difficult transitional grades of fifth, sixth and ninth grades,” she said.
“It will strengthen partnerships between parents and educators,” Desmolin-Kherat said. “It will help us to increase communication and trust, which will lead to increased attendance rates and test scores.”
The teachers who voluntarily participate in the program will be trained at a cost of approximately $4,500, which will be paid by the DEA.
Desmoulin-Kherat said the program usually starts with a phone call to the parent from the teacher asking to meet at the student’s home.
“They won’t meet with everyone in the class; only the ones that need support,” she said. “It’s more about learning more about the child from the parents’ perspective and setting goals.
“It will let us be more creative with assignments and do things differently to help the child learn,” she said.
Desmoulin-Kherat said teachers would make two one-hour visits per child, one in the fall and one in the spring. She anticipates that among all of the participating teachers, they would make a total of 800 home visits a year at a total cost of $14,800 for non-contractual time, which will be paid by the district.
She said Covey and Montgomery have been conducting home visits on their own for some time.
“After the pilot, we will collect data, which we will report to the board in the spring and see if we want to expand the program,” she said.
Also on Wednesday, school board members will:
• Recognize Danville resident Rose Gates who started the weekend backpack program at Cannon and Meade Park elementary and North Ridge and South View middle schools.
“She started it as a community effort,” Denman said. “She purchases backpacks that are filled with nutritious snacks and food that the children can take home with them on the weekends.
“It started with a few students, but now it’s in the hundreds,” he said.
• Recognize the North Ridge Future Problem Solvers who will participate in an international competition June 10-14 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
• Hear a violin recital given by Cannon Elementary and Northeast Elementary Magnet first-graders.
• Consider Denman’s recommendation to continue piloting the violin program for another year at Cannon and Northeast for students that were in the program this year who will be second graders next year and for those students who will be first graders next year.
• Review a first reading of a teacher evaluation instrument.
• Consider approving a pilot of new reading textbooks and materials at both middle schools and the high school.
• Consider expanding the Advanced Placement language course at DHS to two semesters from one.
• Consider entering into a lease agreement with ITSavvy $465,277 for 287 new desktop and 245 laptop computers.
• Consider purchasing 942 N. Jackson St. for $7,500. The vacant house is located directly across the street from Wayland-Young Field.
“We own the properties on both sides, and we plan to raze the house,” Denman said.
The District 118 school board will hold its next regular meeting at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St.