Blaine County is a multicultural community that grows stronger the more our diversity is embraced. While 51% of the Wood River Middle School and 44% of Wood River High School student body is Hispanic or Latino, only 9.7% and 8.9% of staff represent that demographic, respectively. This lack of representation undermines the well-being and college/career readiness of an increasingly large portion of our local student population.
We as a community have the chance to stand up for equity and ensure every child receives the support they need to flourish in school.
A group of parents, community members and local nonprofit leaders urge BCSD to reinstate one full-time Latino Family Liaison at WRHS, and add one full-time position at WRMS for the 2023-2024 school year. These crucial positions could be made possible if BCSD chooses to prioritize them during budget negotiations this spring.
We’re grateful the School District has hired a bilingual paraprofessional at WRMS and is rehiring for a retiring English as a New Language teacher. We can’t stop there. These positions are needed in the classroom, while Family Liaisons help students and parents outside the classroom. Without a Latino Family Liaison, paraprofessionals and ENL teachers are frequently pulled from classrooms to fill the gap. This takes them away from students who need their support in the classroom.
Until March 2021, BCSD had a full-time Latino Family Liaison who was invaluable to students and their families. This person helped families build trust with the educational community, promoted higher academic achievement, and enhanced engagement.
Moreover, the Liaison serves as a cultural bridge who supports the ever-present mental health challenges this vulnerable age group faces. Their role aids in breaking down stigmas and assisting families that find themselves trying to navigate limited mental health services while staying engaged within the school system. Anything we can do to support families and teachers will improve the well-being and success of our students.
Students and families are more likely to trust people who look like them, speak their language, and understand the issues they face. There is infinite power in representation. When all students and families are thriving, our community is stronger, healthier, and more resilient.
We as a community have the power to advocate for this vital role. It’s time to speak up! Before the next School Board meeting on April 11, follow the QR code to submit a published public comment urging BCSD to reinstate one full-time Latino Family Liaison at WRHS and add one full-time position at WRMS for the 2023-2024 school year.
Tenemos el poder de abogar por nuestra comunidad de estudiantes latinos.
Hasta marzo de 2021, el Distrito Escolar del Condado de Blaine tenía un Enlace de Familia Latina de tiempo completo que era invaluable para los estudiantes y sus familias al generar confianza con la comunidad educativa, aumentar la participación de padres/estudiantes y promover un mayor rendimiento académico.
Un grupo de padres y líderes locales de organizaciones sin fines de lucro instan al BCSD a restablecer un Enlace de Familia Latina de tiempo completo en WRHS, y agregar un puesto de tiempo completo en WRMS para el año escolar 2023-2024. Estas posiciones cruciales podrían ser posibles si BCSD decide priorizarlas durante las negociaciones presupuestarias esta primavera.
Cuando todos nuestros estudiantes y familias prosperan, nuestra comunidad es más fuerte, saludable y resistente. Antes de la próxima reunión de la Junta Escolar el 11 de abril, siga el código QR para enviar un comentario público publicado. ¡Es hora de hablar!
Jane Lopez and John Hatzenbuehler, MD, are parents of students in the Blaine County School District.
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