WS/FCS Multilingual Team Holds Back-to-School Bash for Newcomers
September 14, 2023 – Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools welcomed families who are new to both the district and the country with a special Back-to-School Bash ahead of the new school year.
The district’s Multilingual Learners team assembled a group of about a dozen departments and community partners offering services like child nutrition, tutoring, transportation, interpretation, school supply assistance, and more. For three hours on the Friday before the start of school, they were available to newcomer families to answer any questions they might need answered before they could be confident that they were ready for the year. It was the first time that Multilingual Learners has had such an event specifically for newcomers, but after seeing an unexpectedly high turnout, it certainly won’t be the last.
“We have so many newcomer families coming from all different countries,” said Multilingual Learner Parent Program Engagement Manager Nareny Martinez. “We were able to help them make the connections they need and get answers to their questions… it sets the tone for their whole year.”
This Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to remember the hundreds of students across the district who come from non-English-speaking backgrounds and the additional barriers that both they and their families can face in an English-speaking educational environment. WS/FCS is determined to give every student and every family equal access to education, and if that means setting aside extra time to coach families through how to use the services available to them, it’s a provision that the district is all too happy to provide.
“We’ve never done this before, but we’ll be looking for a lot more opportunities to do it in the future,” Martinez said. “Seeing our families getting together and getting all the information and resources we have for them was amazing.”