Creating family time during the week can be hard, but is critical for a child's success. The Cities of Service Homework Diner Blueprint helps families engage around meals and homework help.
Research suggests that family engagement promotes a range of benefits for students including improved school readiness, higher school attendance, better social skills, advanced language and math skills, higher grades and test scores, and an increased likelihood that students will graduate from high school and continue on to higher education. By bringing parents and caregivers into their children's elementary school at least one evening a week, and sharing a community meal, Homework Diner fosters easier and more productive communication between home and school.
To ensure successful implementation, the mayor's office should convene an advisory group of school partners, community organizations, and city agency leads involved in K-12 education, food security and nutrition, food service, family services, and volunteer management. A minimum of one teacher per academic grade and members of the school staff must be present to ensure curriculum alignment. Volunteers support the teachers in providing tutoring as well as preparing and serving nutritious meals to families.
Executing The Plan
During Homework Diner, teachers lead students and parents/caregivers through particular skills, such as division or reading comprehension. In addition to the teachers, other volunteers should be recruited to help set up school facilities prior to the start of the session, prepare and serve meals, and provide childcare and enrichment activities for siblings too young to attend school.
Tracking and reporting outcomes to key stakeholders is critical to Homework Diner's success. Required metrics include increase in student homework completion, improvement in student test scores, improvement in classroom attention and participation, and improvement in parental/caregiver relationship with child's school.