Utilizing Home Visiting to Overcome Pandemic-Related Challenges
COVID has presented new challenges and exacerbated existing ones, including concerns with kindergarten readiness and workforce shortages. Fairfax County Public Schools implements a home visiting program, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), that works with families using an evidence-based curriculum proven to improve school readiness and has a core program component focused on recruiting home visitors from participating parents. The recruitment and retention of qualified and motivated home visitors is key to the success of home visiting programs—especially home visitors who identify with or come from the communities they serve. By providing supports to these community-based home visitors, who are often entering the workforce for the first time, home visiting programs can serve as the starting point for new entrants looking to pursue further careers in early childhood education.
Dr. Miriam Westheimer has served in leadership capacities in the fields of education, social service and nonprofit management serving as a founding executive director, international director, board president, project manager and organizational/educational consultant.
She has spent the last 20 years adapting and disseminating a home-based, early childhood program (HIPPY) first in the USA as the founding executive director and later built the international network of HIPPY programs among the 14 participating countries. She now serves as the Chief Program Officer of HIPPY International.
She had an independent consulting practice that allows her to work with diverse organizations and individuals as advisor, mentor, manager and facilitator. Her consulting clients include Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Family Support America, Families and Work Institute, The Finance Project, Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Quality Evaluation Design.
Dr. Westheimer co-authored the best-selling international textbook and multi-media series, Focus on Grammar, now in its third edition. Additionally, based on her experience teaching English in Israel, she helped conceive and create a global course to teach teen-agers and adults how to communicate effectively in English
She has taught at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. Her graduate level courses include teacher supervision, staff development, program evaluation, curriculum development, and early childhood development at Teachers College, Bank Street College of Education, Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
She travels widely for work and pleasure and lives with her husband and near her children in New York City.