At ACPS, the Family and Community Engagement Center (FACE) is our division’s way of engaging families in the educational experience of students and creating meaningful opportunities and resources for families to work with schools to ensure every child can succeed. In collaboration with leaders in the school division and community, the FACE Center’s mission is to strengthen family-school partnerships and increase two-way communication, cultural understanding and academic achievement.
FACE is putting the focus on the many contributions families make for our students and school community as we recognize Family Engagement in Education month in November. The tireless efforts of our parent liaisons help build communication between schools and homes. They help families get the information needed to support students’ academic and social-emotional development.
Along with many other activities, parent liaisons facilitate parent meetings and leadership development, arrange for an interpreter, and provide help in addressing issues or concerns families may have at their child’s school. ACPS appreciates the work of parent liaisons who serve in many schools, including those who are bilingual and serve the needs of Arabic, Amharic and Spanish-speaking families as we move forward with our mission of Equity for All.
With its eye on the future, FACE will continue to partner “more effectively with families, as it has made part-time Amharic and Arabic-speaking parent liaisons into full-time positions,” according to Manager of Family and Community Engagement Krishna Leyva. Plans also include facilitating more multilingual, two-way communication with services like the Language Line Direct Response, which allows families who speak Spanish, Amharic, Arabic, Farsi and Pashto to contact ACPS by calling 1-833-611-1667 to get a qualified interpreter on the phone line.
By building relationships among staff and parents, we create opportunities for family participation in learning, leadership and advocacy, resulting in high levels of academic achievement for our students. “Family engagement work is equity work, especially when we are discussing it in the context of ACPS partnering with families from such a wide range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” said Ms. Leyva.