Teacher Home Visit Program
Every child needs a hero …. Or better yet, a SHE-ro. Cue the Teacher Home Visit Program and their founder – Karen Kalish.
During Volunteer recognition week, we also are highlighting the extraordinary efforts of our community partners. The Teacher Home Visit Program (THVP) was created by Karen Kalish to support teachers, their students, and even their families. When the pandemic hit, we wondered how we would make sure our students remained connected to their schools – in came The THVP to save the day. Karen sent her team of program leaders and over 60 volunteers to Patrick Henry Downtown Academy. In our initial conversations, Karen just simply stated that she wanted to help and do whatever she could. However, when the school year started, students were having problems logging-on and engaging in their classrooms. Consequently, she committed to those major areas.
Although limited by state and federal regulations, the THVP used a 4-prong approach to provide support to Patrick Henry. Volunteers provided attendance support, academic support, technical support, and transitional support as the district invited more and more families to return to in-person learning each quarter. Perhaps one of the more innovative ways of support was realized through the buddy program which ordinarily pairs volunteers with targeted students in need of reading and literacy support. However, this year the program has blossomed in a virtual environment. Trained volunteers commit to weekly sessions with their “little buddy” and read with them, complete assignments, while providing mentoring and life skills support as well. A Patrick Henry teacher even commented to one of her volunteers that her class would not have been able to function without her support.
Karen has been able to support Saint Louis Public Schools for over a decade with these and other ideas and programs. We are fortunate that she remains committed to SLPS! The THVP is on pace to provide over 1000 hours of service to Patrick Henry this year.