Family liaisons serve as a link between families and schools
Karen Lathrop, Family Liaison for WSES
Karen is a former WSES parent and member of the West Springfield community for more than 20 years. As Family Liaison, her role is to provide families with the assistance and information they need to feel in their child’s education. She is available to help with any questions or concerns you may have - whether it be navigating FCPS, filling out forms, assisting with communication with a teacher/counselor, or simply being someone you can contact when you don’t know who to contact. Karen is proud spouse of a veteran and her son graduated from WSHS in June. She knows and understands the unique challenges facing many families and looks forward to being a resource to enhance your experience in our community!
Karen is available anytime, but is at school on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
When families are engaged in their child’s education, the children:
- Achieve higher grades
- Attend school regularly
- Display better social skills
- Graduate and pursue post-secondary learning
Children from diverse cultural backgrounds tend to do better when parents and professionals collaborate to bridge the gap between the culture at home and the culture at school. Family liaisons help build that bridge. The family liaison connects families to the resources and services they need to thrive.
Who are Family Liaisons?
Family liaisons are school staff members who work anywhere from 4 hours a week to 40 hours a week. They are knowledgeable about school curricula, child development, family dynamics, district wide programs, services, resources and community resources. All family liaisons speak English and often speak an additional language. They represent many cultures and ethnicities. Family liaisons support all families and school staff by helping:
- Facilitate communication
- Build relationships
- Make families feel welcome, trusted and valued
- Provide FCPS and human service’s resources and information
- Encourage parent engagement in their children’s education
- Connect parents to what their children are learning
- Promote understanding of families’ cultural diversity
What Does a Family Liaison Do?
A family liaison may be found in the front office, an office or walking the halls. She or he:
- Organizes or facilitates parent classes
- Arranges for interpreters
- Helps report student progress
- Explains the school’s methods or practices regarding discipline
- Leads parent coffees on a variety of topics of interest to families
- Works collaboratively with school staff including social workers and counselors
- Builds parents’ capacity for leadership
Families May Contact Family Liaisons For:
- Assistance setting up a meeting
- Attendance at a meeting
- Help completing forms
- Help getting an interpreter
- An opportunity just to talk with someone about concerns