What is a Family and Community Liaison?
"When a student’s basic needs are met, when parents feel empowered and well-informed, you have a recipe for successful learning without barriers" says Liaison Coordinator, Meghan Bouchard. School-based Family and Community Liaisons are one of the district’s key strategies for supporting students by supporting their families. The Liaison program revolves around three basic tenets.
On any given day, you might see a Liaison welcome a new family or give a school tour. A Portuguese-speaking Liaison may interpret an important phone call between a teacher and a family about a student’s academics. In each case, the liaison is connecting family members with the school in order to support student learning.
There are times when counselors or staff members identify families with dire needs. The Liaisons will refer families to the SFLC Clothing Pantry or organizations to locate housing. Liaisons also help families get their students into after school programming or Recreation Department activities. In each case, the Liaison strategizes with the family to reach all the services and opportunities to support and enrich a student’s school experience.
At Somerville Public Schools, we encourage parents to take an advocacy role with regards to their children’s education. The goal is to empower parents to become a true partner with the schools, to make the schools seem like a welcoming space where any concerns can be discussed. A parent might take a workshop about how the school system functions. If language is a barrier to communicating daily with school staff, a Liaison can arrange for interpretation and translation or connect a caretaker to a free English Language class program.
Have you met your Liaison?
Visit http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/liaisons or stop by your school’s front office to meet your liaison. Learn ways to engage with your school community, find volunteer opportunities and connect with resources and services.
The Liaison team is part of the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC). The SFLC is a department of the Somerville Public Schools that seeks to support family and community engagement in the school system. Begun in 2012, the multi-lingual Liaison team works with families and schools to support home-school partnerships.