In an effort to better connect with their students, teachers and other staff boarded buses and toured the areas where the children call home.
"When you know where someone comes from, you know what they bring to the table," said Superintendent M. Annette Cluff. You also gain some context that can be useful when teachers interact with their students in the classroom, she said.
More than 70 teachers and aides from the Southwest Campus visited Pines of Westbury, South Union and Sunnyside neighborhoods during a 45-minute tour. Mrs. Cluff was among the riders. East Campus staff, totally 27 people, took a 25-minute tour of four apartment buildings, a trailer park and a residential neighborhood.
This was second year the tours were conducted before the start of the school year.
"The purpose of the tour is to give our teachers an idea of the environment where our kids come from," said transportation director Kerry Shelton. "It's important to know how to handle each situation with every student."
East Campus Director Gayle Voltz said the tour was worthwhile and is especially helpful for the new teachers.
"It gives us a better understanding why our children may have various needs that our teachers may have to provide," she said.