Peoria Public School teachers and administrators are going door-to-door this week to get their students fired up for the first day of class.
Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington reports the home visits are valuable interactions for the teachers, too.
The first half of the walk around the neighborhood surrounding Harrison Primary School was anticlimactic.
But Harrison Principal Fabian Daniels says, even when no one’s home, the teachers are taking in valuable information while standing on the doorstep.
“The stairs are wobbly...you see where your students are really coming from,” Daniels said. “So when they come in [the classroom], and they’re not in the greatest of moods, you have to look at, flashback to, when you visited them at home, what conditions are they coming from?”
But when they finally do get to greet their students for the first time, they’re met with hugs, and bright eyes, full of excitement.
Outside Harrison Homes, two boys entering third grade even do back flips for their new teachers.
A mother of one of the boys, April Davis, says she’s relieved to know her kids are cared for and appreciated.
“And I believe it actually helps with the school year, get the kids pumped up to go to school,” Davis said. “Although, mine are already ready. Like, my four year old comes in every morning and asks,‘mom, is it school yet?’”
School starts next Wed., Aug. 16. This week’s home visits aim to encourage and maintain student attendance for the entire year.
Schools participating in the "Because We Care" campaign identified 25 families with the lowest attendance rates and made a point of sending a teacher out to visit their homes this week. Principal Daniels says the school will track their progress through remainder of the academic year.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the first day of school is next Tuesday.