Sandra Soto, Bilingual Community Liaison, Aloha High School
Sandra Soto was born and raised in Oregon. The daughter of migrant worker parents, she grew up in Forest Grove and loves the area. When she was younger, she and her family didn't feel there were many resources for Spanish-speaking families. Sandra often found herself being the liaison between the school, doctors and the community, and her parents. She sometimes missed school to attend doctor's appointments with her parents to interpret for them, and often even interpreted her own doctors' appointments. These experiences led her to the Beaverton School District.
Sandra works as one of two Bilingual Community Liaisons at Aloha High School. She works with teachers, counselors and administrators to ensure all students and families feel welcome in the school. She communicates with parents, answers their questions and connects them to resources within the school and in the community. "I am learning that I am responsible for knowing what everyone in the building does. I relay information to Spanish-speaking families, and if there is information they don't know, I need to figure it out," says Sandra.
This is Sandra's second year with the Beaverton School District. She started as a Paraeducator at Mountain View Middle School in February of 2017 and quickly moved to the position of Graduation Mentor at Aloha High School. "I was responsible for 35-40 freshmen last year, keeping track of them academically, their attendance, and making sure that their parents were in the loop," says Sandra. "Working together as a team with the counselors and teachers was really helpful to me in this new position."
Sandra hasn't always dreamt of working with high school students. "When I started my job at Mountain View Middle School, my whole first month I was sure I was going to quit…but I ended up loving it and unintentionally followed the 8th grade class to Aloha High School, so it has been really great." Her new-found passion for her work has sparked a new goal for Sandra. She is returning to school at Portland State University to study social work with a goal of becoming either a school social worker or to work for Washington County to support kids and families in our area.
"We've all been there…we walk into a new position, a new organization, and through those days of learning, being overwhelmed with new systems and issues, questioning our own qualifications and preparations, you hear stories of great people who have helped to build something special," explains Matt Casteel Principal at Aloha High School. "Sandra is one of those people. Her personal story is powerful, her work ethic is amazing, and her impact is priceless."
Sandra also has a passion for music and make up. She freelances for both Too Faced and Tarte Cosmetics and can be found working at Ulta in Tanasbourne and Sephora in Washington Square. "That to me is my fun job," says Sandra. "And I also love music and can kind of sing – I kill at karaoke!"