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Kyrene School District making home visits to keep students connected

(Facebook photo/Kyrene School District)

PHOENIX — The Kyrene School District wants to make sure no student falls through the cracks, so the district is sending staff members to check on students at their homes if they haven’t logged in virtually for classes in a while.

“When we get reports that a student has been excessively absent, we want to know why,” Damian Nichols, the district’s emergency management officer, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

School counselors and security staff are among those from the district conducting the home visits. They’ve been doing this since the start of the school year.

But Nichols said the last few weeks have been “very busy.” It’s mainly because students went back to online learning in November and haven’t returned to in-person classes.

District staff have conducted 90 home visits in the last two weeks.

“If we can set up an appointment ahead of time, that’s always preferable,” Nichols said. “We’ll go out to the home and simply chat with the family and try to figure out exactly what the roadblock is. Why the students haven’t been online.”

The issues that arise from the visits range from students not having the right technology to not having the proper supervision. Some visits are also related to students facing mental health issues or needing access to meals.

Nichols recalls for one of the recent home visits a few weeks ago, a student simply could not get up on time for class. The student was provided an alarm clock and has been up on time for class since then.

He added it’s hard to know how students are doing right now since the district is fully virtual and school staff don’t have a direct connection with the students and their families.

“That’s why these home visits are important,” Nichols said. “It’s just a quick check-in to see what we can do for the family in order to ensure that their students can continue learning until we can get them back here in school.”

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