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WE Embrace Equity: Bilingual Facilitators

Whether translating a school newsletter, a District-wide message, or interpreting an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting or Parent Information Night, the District's Bilingual Facilitators work tirelessly to connect families who speak a language other than English to our schools.

"The primary role of the Bilingual Facilitators is to really make sure parents are connected to our schools, the District and even to community resources," says Sarita Amaya, Assistant Administrator for Multilingual Programs.

There are two designations of Bilingual Facilitators, Community Liaisons and District Bilingual Facilitators. Community Liaisons are bilingual in English and Spanish and are housed in all middle and high schools throughout the District.  They interpret parent-teacher meetings, counseling meetings, PTO meetings and IEP meetings, and translate short or urgent school messages to parents.  They also coordinate youth leadership opportunities for Latino students. They are in the schools, working with teachers, counselors, and administrators to make all families feel welcome and supported.

"Being part of the school team is a reason for the success of my job with students and families," says Maria Odilia Samayoa, Community Liaison at Sunset High School.  "By experience, I know you don't have to speak the language to make someone feel welcome. When students arrive at school, they come full of dreams and energy to learn. With respect, knowledge, acceptance, and support, they develop the skills they'll need to accomplish future goals."

District Bilingual Facilitators represent many languages spoken throughout the District including Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Somali, and Vietnamese. They are housed at the Multilingual Department and their primary roles include interpretation, translation and testing/assessment.

Throughout the school year, Bilingual Facilitators assess bilingual students to identify if they qualify for English as a Second Language services. They translate District-wide documents and communications, and assist in meetings or phone calls with parents and students in languages other than Spanish.

"We help parents access our resources and the resources the schools have available," says Jianqin Zhan, District Bilingual Facilitator. "We also help teachers understand different cultures."

"The District's Bilingual Facilitators foster cross-cultural understanding, awareness, and connection, and we all benefit from that," says Amaya "All across the board, the more aware we are of our differences, the more aware we are of our commonalities and the more likely it is to find common ground."