We all know that one of the best weapons we have in our educational tool-belt when it comes to the warfare against poverty, language barriers and the ever-increasing demands of rigor and standards, is having our students’ families on our team! Families and parents can’t be on our team if they don’t feel welcome at school and don’t know how to play the game. We have to ensure that our schools are culturally responsive and welcoming and that our parents want to participate and be involved in the education of their children. Sometimes, this might be outside of their cultural comfort zone, especially if language is a barrier. Many families, (Hispanic families come to mind) see the schools and educators as the professional experts and leave the educating up to us, not because they don’t want to be involved but because that’s the way they expect it to be. One way we can make sure our families are aware of expectations and find out if they have questions or concerns is to get to know them through home visits. Colorin Colorado has an article called Making Your First ELL Home Visit which shares practical tips for any teacher who is interested in getting started with home visits. As a teacher who has conducted home visits (as a classroom teacher and as an ELL teacher), I promise they are much less scary than they sound and they are usually very insightful!