Over the years, our schools in the Trans Pacific Union have found it challenging to create partnerships with the home, mainly due to busy schedules. The challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the ever-increasing need for schools and homes to create a positive partnership for the holistic wellbeing of our children.
Considering the General Conference theme “I Will Go,” the Trans Pacific Union decided on “I Will Go to My Family” as our goal for 2022. To support this theme, the education department planned an Adventist Day, set aside for all schools to reach out to their school families. Adventist Day focused on ways to strengthen home-school partnerships.
One of the strategies used was home visits. Home visits are one of the most effective ways to engage families. Recent research has found that home visits conducted by teachers and school staff provide the opportunity for educators to establish positive relationships with families.
Several of our schools noted excellent results from conducting home visits. Tuvalu SDA Primary School, for example, reached out to all 191 of their families. Principal Kima Pedro noted in the April 2022 Board of Education Report, “With only 11 teachers we had to make a lot of sacrifices and commitment, taking the whole week after school to reach out to the 191 families. Although it was a tiring task, it was a blessing and a rewarding experience for my staff, creating relationship with parents.”
Similarly, the principal for Navesau Adventist High School in Fiji stated that “the home visit was a blessing and an eye opener for the staff as we come to terms with the reality of where some of our students live and their families’ socio-economic backgrounds while choosing to place their child through Adventist Education. To choose Adventist education over free education despite their daily situations is truly faith in action. The home visits have given us teachers a new and inspired perspective on how we view and handle the students under our care.”
The staff of Samoa Adventist College set a target of reaching the families of all current non-Adventist students. This was a large task since 46% of the total student population of 811 are non-Adventists, coming from around 200 different families. Principal Tepora Fuimaono said in the May 2022 Director’s Council Report that this was the first time doing home visits for many of the teachers, but that it was a real blessing because it provided the teachers the opportunity to meet many of the parents for the first time.
Ellen G. White reminds us that “teachers in the home and the teachers in the school should have a sympathetic understanding of one another’s work. They should labour together harmoniously, imbued with the same missionary spirit, striving together to benefit the children physically, mentally and spiritually.” The benefits of home-school partnerships are beyond dispute, and Adventist schools should take the lead in encouraging school and home partnership because this is in keeping with our mission of leading people to Christ and educating for eternity.
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