A dozen years ago, when Elizabeth MacWilliams was a teacher, she held an open house for her students and their parents – and no one showed up. She was devastated, having put so much into the event, and her students felt badly, like it was their fault. That’s when she decided to start visiting each of them at home, “to make sure their parents realize how much” she loves their kids.
And now, as principal of Carroll Magnet Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina, she’s still making those home visits. So far she’s been to see half of the 1003 of the students at her school and plans to get to all of them by the end of the school year. The busy mom and wife spends her time on weekends and evenings checking out the home environments of her kids and she says, “It gives you perspective.”
Her visits impress both the students and their parents. “It tells me that she cares a lot about every individual student,” explains sixth-grader Holt Swecker. And his mom Mary Jane says, “I’ve never known anyone who is this passionate to make sure every student has a chance at success.”