The acronym BFF is familiar to most people. BFL, not as much. However, for non-English-speaking families at Des Moines Public Schools, our Bilingual Family Liaisons may also become Best Friends Forever.
The BFL team at DMPS, led by Laura Secory, serves as a link between families and the school district as well as with other community services. A major undertaking this summer has been a series of Back to School Fairs held earlier at Hoover, McCombs and North schools.
The final such event was held on Saturday at East High School. From the ceiling of the commons area at East hang that flags of more than 50 different nations, providing an appropriate canopy as help was being provided below to families is Spanish, Arabic, Burmese, Karen and a host of other languages spoken at the home of DMPS families.
Job number one was making sure families were registered for the start of the new school year. After everyone was signed up to begin classes, a range of other services and information were available from community organizations. A mobile health clinic from Primary Health Care was even on site so families could make sure students had their immunizations and back-to-school physicals marked of the to-do list.
According to Allyson Vukovich, the Director of Community in Schools at DMPS, nearly 2,000 students were registered, and more than 600 families assisted over the course of the four events.
Many thanks to our BFLs for their support of so many students and families, and to our community partners for helping to make these Back to School Fairs are big success:
- Adriana’s Insurance
- Al Exito
- Iowa Latino Affairs
- Iowa Works
- ISU 4U Promise
- Job Corp
- Orchard Place
- Primary Health Care