Here’s an excerpt from a National Center For Families Learning press release. You can read more here.
A Washington, D.C., high school teacher who is an expert at engaging students’ families in their children’s education was named today as the 2015 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year. Kristen Whitaker – who teaches history and government at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), a Washington, D.C.-based school of 100 percent minority and 90 percent low-income students – was surprised with the award this morning during what was billed as a routine assembly at her school. She was joined by more than 400 attendees, including teachers, students, local and national education and civic leaders, representatives of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) who presented Whitaker with a $20,000 grant that she will use to fund a family summer camp program for low-income minority students and their families. She is the first high school teacher to win this annual award.
Whitaker is the catalyst behind more than 200 home visits made by CHEC faculty since the start of the current school year. Home visitation builds a meaningful relationship with a student and their family, and is a particularly successful strategy for connecting with families from cultural minority groups. She has trained teachers at CHEC and other schools to conduct successful home visits and regularly hosts parents at student portfolio presentations. She also leads CHEC’s offering of an after-school program in which students and parents work together on collaborative media projects about items in the news