South Whittier School District has implemented Community Liaisons at each school site to build trusting relationships with district families and to connect them with school and community resources.
The community liaison position is a part of South Whittier’s Parent Engagement Program. This program has put together a 17 month parent engagement plan that aims to help parents and guardians feel more connected to their student’s school.
“We want our parents to feel connected to school and we want them to have someone that they can connect with,” Stacey Ayers-Escarcega, Director of Assessment, Accountability, and Parent Engagement stated.
The role of community liaison is a large part of the plan that will fulfill many district family needs. They will help increase volunteers on campus, support off campus projects, connect families with community resources, provide translation support, support families with interventions related to attendance, provide parent workshops, help families access the school system based on need, support parent organizations, like PTA and the foundation, and lastly reach out to homeless and foster youth families as a resource.
Community liaisons will be proactively seeking families in a preventative approach by focusing on not waiting for families to come to them, but reaching out to families who may need the district’s support.
“Community Liaisons will help to build stronger relationships with our families at each school site and help connect parents to school systems and community resources,” Ayers-Escarcega stated.
The district has implemented five active community liaisons. Brenda Venegas serves as the district community liaison and McKibben Elementary, Maria Baltazar will be at Carmela Elementary, Theresa Melgoza at Loma Vista Elementary, George Mailat will be at Lake Marie Elementary and Graves Middle School, and Claudia Hernandez-Cipres will serve Los Altos and Monte Vista Elementary.
The liaisons will be holding their first Parent Engagement Committee meeting on March 13 at 11:00 am in the PDR at the district office. This meeting is to create a vision for family engagement for the 2018-2019 school year. At the meeting they will evaluate how families feel “welcome” at their schools, review activities that have already been implemented and recommend new ones, create an action plan to build trusting relationships with families, create a plan to strengthen the connection to student learning, and develop a plan to improve communication with families.
This event will be open to the entire district community and all district families are encouraged to attend.