Teachers Set Students Up for Success

By Justina Coronel (KSDK)

ST. LOUIS — The organization HOME WORKS tries to make students as successful as possible with the help of teachers.

A parent-teacher workshop is one way to do so.

“We’re working with parents to teach them what we are teaching their child in class so they can help them at home. So, we are working together as a team,” explained Amanda Barton, who’s a fifth-grade teacher at Beasley Elementary.

Beyond school interactions, the program trains and pays teachers to make home visits.

CEO Colleen Polak said this is done through a partnership with underserved schools throughout the St. Louis area.

“In the 17 years that it has been in existence, we’ve partnered with 120 schools, we’ve trained over 2,500 teachers and completed 30,000 home visits,” Polak shared.

The purpose is to create a bond.

“We get to know each other better and then we share how they are doing in school and set goals together for the child. It really does help improve a relationship with students a lot and in turn motivates them to do better in the classroom,” Barton said. 

She’s noticed more engagement and even better attendance in her classroom.

It’s also a way to empower parents with parent engagement strategies.

They say, research shows family engagement in education is a powerful predictor of children’s success in school and life. 


“When we really create this community support for the parents and give them the tools, resources and back up they need to support their kids at home when it comes to learning, that will make them successful,” Polak noted.

Their work is being done during a difficult time in education. However, the pandemic didn’t slow down their efforts, and they’re ready to partner up with more schools for even greater success.

“It just helps everyone understand each other that much better and we can work together and improve the child’s academics as a whole,” Barton shared.

What can keep them going is monetary donations.

“This is a voluntary program for the teachers. We pay the teachers for all that work and all that effort they are putting in. It goes back to the school and goes back to the teacher and back to the families in our community,” Polak added. 

If you’d like to donate, click here

If you’d like a set of resources, they’ve also provided it on their website for families who may not be apart of a HOME WORKS partnership.