Teachers Tom Courtney and Rachel Petrivelli Connect with Families


After 22 years as a public school teacher, Tom Courtney finally hits his stride after discovering the virtues of the authentic connections he has created with his 5th grade students' families. Mr. Courtney, also known as "The Minister of Fun," conducts home visits and and holds monthly student and family get-togethers like star night, ice-skating night, opera night, and library night. Mr. Courtney, joined by his student teacher, Rachel Petrivelli, say the benefits of family connections are invaluable. One of the them is that "we don't have classroom management issues," Courtney says. They get strong support from parents because they, like their students, implicitly know that their teachers care about them.  

Sadly, the 2020 pandemic forced Mr. Courtney's district to conduct all classes remotely via Zoom. It has also temporarily eliminated home visits and all of the after-school events Mr. Courtney would have had with his students and their families. But Mr. Courtney and Ms. Petrivelli came up with an creative solution to the problem -- at least for one special night. Tune in to hear their amazing story. 

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